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Why resume screening is important:

Resumes give a concise but informative snapshot into a person’s qualifications for a role. They are a well established way to understand a candidate’s background. One could say resumes are a communication device between candidates and the clients you are recruiting for.

But in a world of mass digitization, you might be flooded with dozens if not hundreds of resumes. What’s going to get you results? How do you manage all this? Here are some quick tips on what to look for when scanning through resumes.

Must Haves vs Nice to Haves

The hiring manager has provided you with their list of needs in a candidate. The notes taken in the kick off call and the job description provided are the main tools in evaluating the resumes.

The client has described their perfect candidate, now it’s up to you to take those qualifications and use them as a guide to find the most suitable person for the job.

It’s very important to analyze job descriptions. Here are a few steps to follow:

Step 1: Identify Competencies

  • Highlight all the qualifications, duties, and responsibilities.

  • Make a special note of the specifics mentioned more than once.

  • The most important things in each section are going to be listed first, pay attention to the first few bullet points.

Step 2: Identify Themes

  • Pay particular attention to those featured prominently or several times.

Step 3: Identify Candidates’ Selling Points on Their Resumes

  • Make note of the candidate’s fit related to each theme in the job description.

Step 4: Identify Gaps and Issues

  • Identify gaps and issues in candidate’s resumes related to job description.

Definitely, there’s lots to say about the ideal candidate that your client wants, but make sure you get a hold of the bare minimum requirements and separate that from the preferred qualities.

This is one way to break down your tasks into smaller, manageable ones.

CTRL-F and Skills

Quickly scan the resume to filter out the list of eligible candidates. As the recruiter you’re going to have an endless batch of resumes you’re reviewing for your client, and you can’t spend minutes on each candidate.

Start with obvious factors that eliminate candidates and save yourself some time. Utilize the ctrl-f key to look for the keywords a candidate needs to land an interview. The skills that the client listed in the job description are the skills to quickly look for in the resume. There will be both hard and soft skills, and you’ll be able to determine which are the base one’s to have after meeting with the client.

Do the key skills the candidate has highlighted match up with what the employer is looking for?

This is what you will be determining as you grow your skill to quickly scan batches of resumes. If you’re not able to find the base skills the client needs in a resume then you’ve just eliminated a candidate and you’re now able to move on to the next.

The Qualifications

Now that you’ve gotten past the skills section of filtering out candidates it’s time to move onto the next set of significant items that help understand a candidates past professional history and provide insight on how that connects to the job at hand. The next set of items are the details that need to be reviewed to see if the candidate is an all around fit. Everything the candidate has provided you within the resume including work history, education, and Linkedin will be items that help you match the candidate to the job.

Work History

The work history provided will allow you to see if the candidate has the industry experience needed for the job, and you’ll see if they’re even in the right industry at all. There are clients who are lenient on experience if the position is entry level, but if the position requires multiple years of experience you need to make sure the candidate's experience aligns. An item of note to look for as well would be any gaps in between roles or career regression. If the candidate seems a worthy match then see if it’s possible to schedule a call with them to go over any items the employer may question. If you’re still unclear about the candidate's history after the call then it’s time to move on to the next candidate.


The educational background of a candidate is important to employers for different reasons. For certain employers, they’d like to know that the candidate was educated in a way that aligns with the employer’s methods of working. There are schools that are research based versus those that are dedicated to hands-on learning and each employer has their preference.

Socials (LinkedIn)

While many job seekers use socials in place of their resumes, for our purposes, the main focus should be on what the resumes show. Oftentimes, a candidate’s LinkedIn will show more information about what industry they are in and what kind of job they are looking for – the personalities or interests of the candidate


In the world of recruiting, there’s all kinds of creative ways to look for candidates. Here, we have given just a snippet of that: What happens when you’re met with a mountain of seemingly unmanageable resumes? Hopefully, by breaking each task down to smaller parts, you’ll find that shiny needle in the haystack.

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