The Quickest Way To Scan A Resume


Written by: Stephen Clarke

The ways recruiters absorb resumes will vary from recruiter to recruiter and also depend on the role and industry you are recruiting for so there’s no definitive right answer for this. But we going to take you through the best practices that broadly apply to all industries and roles. Time to get your act together and efficiently review these resumes so you can start moving on to the interview stage – here’s the quickest way to scan a resume with estimated times for each step!

Current/Last Job Position (Time: 10 seconds)

Jump to the candidate’s current or last job position and analyse their experience, responsibilities and achievements. This will immediately inform you if their most recent experience is relevant to the position you are hiring for. It will also help you answer questions like, “Why are they looking for a new position?”,  “Are they viewing this vacancy as a step up on the career ladder?” and “Is there a significant cross-over between the candidate’s role and your requirements?”

Time Spent in Each Role (Time: 5 seconds)

This can be quite an insightful piece of information to review when evaluating candidates. Analysing the time spent in each role by a candidate gives a good indication as to whether he/she is making an effort to be on a focused career path, especially if they have had similar roles in their work history. Employment dates in specific roles can communicate ambition and loyalty.

It can be difficult to decipher whether the time spent in a previous role is ‘too long’ or ‘too short’. A candidate who spends many years in the same role could be viewed as inflexible or rusty, while a candidate who has spent little time in each job role indicates frequent job hopping which indicates that the candidate might get bored easily or little loyalty. Typically, 18-24 months in the same role demonstrates enough movement to not appear rigid while at the same time showing progression in career paths.

Company Name (Time: 5 seconds)

It may sound judgemental but you really should look out for company names you are familiar with on a resume if you want to save time. While a certain degree of emphasis must be placed on the overall experience and skills of the candidate, finding familiar company names can immediately allow you make associations with a candidate, especially if you have have been in the recruitment space for some time and those associations can be backed up! Are the companies in the same industry? Are these companies great breeding grounds for executives?

Experienced recruiters will be able to identify patterns among candidates coming from certain companies  e.g. if a candidate’s previous role was with a well-known start up in the technology space, an experienced recruiter may assume that this person wore multiple hats and has abilities in ambiguity. Looking out for familiar company names will also allow you to envisage the scope of the role the candidate had in relation to the size of the business.

Candidate Accomplishments/Highlights (Time: 10 seconds)

You have their recent experience, you have their tenure in each role and you have their company name. Now let’s check out their accomplishments. This is particularly important because you need solid reasons for recommending candidates to your hiring manager or team and clearly stated accomplishments by your candidate is your avenue to do this.

Focus needs to be on tangible accomplishments, not the activities that led to these accomplishments so now you’re into numbers. Try and uncover sentences on the resume like “Accomplished XXX in YYY time” that had a great impact on the company they were working for. These accomplishments highlight the core competencies on the candidate which helps you to make a decision on whether they are qualified for the next stage in the recruitment process and whether they would be a good fit for your company.

Total Time = 30 seconds

As a recruiter, it is essential that you are able to quickly search for and pull out pertinent information related to the job position when reading resumes. 30 seconds – that’s all it takes. That’s 50 resumes you scan in just over 25 minutes if you follow the steps above, after which you split them out into your ‘Yes’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘No’ piles and move onto the next step in the process.

Article link: The Quickest Way To Scan A Resume


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