Got Resume Overload? How To Get Targeted Responses

~by David Mandar

too many resumes

Recently I got an interesting response from an article I posted on how we use technology for Recruiting. The commenter stated that although technology was making certain aspects of the job easier, it had created a problem a lot of us are more than aware of – resume overload.

You post one new job online, and in the morning you are faced with 100s of candidate resumes clogging your inbox. The Internet has given us the ability to broadcast or post our job requirements out to multiple site, boards, groups, etc. Its reach is wonderful.

On the flip side, the Internet also allows potential candidates the ability to easily reply to those postings whether they are qualified or not. So now you are faced with the time consuming task of reading through every resume to weed out the candidates who do not fit your needs and identify the candidates who you will contact to continue the qualification process.

Even with just one job posting, reviewing resumes can be overwhelming. With limited time, you sometimes only screen half of the resumes when you have a short list to call. Even if you screen most of them, you still miss many candidates. Good candidates can slip through the cracks and out of your reach.

The trick is to limit who applies
How can you reduce the number of unqualified candidates who apply for your open jobs and also screen them faster? Having worked in both the corporate and agency sides, I have learned by necessity to fine tune a method that gives me more time and better candidates. It really is simple, it’s been around for years, and I know many people who use this regularly.

1)Be precise with your job description/requirements
First, start with a job description that is very clear on the requirements of the position. Identify the “must haves” with the Hiring Manager and use them to specify location, years of experience, tools, skills, education, or certification. The more specific you are, the less likely the unqualified candidate is to consider applying. Being vague does not help you even if you are trying to grow your database. Remember you want quality all the time.

2)Use screening questions
Even with a definitive job description, you will still have some unqualified candidates applying. So the second step is to create screening questions that will go along with the job description. This is nothing new, and a lot of ATS systems and job boards give you the capability to create screening questions and even keep them in a library for future use.

These automated tools allow you to pose yes or no questions that eliminate candidates for incorrect answers. Questions should be part of the “must haves” list, so you use them to qualify if candidates meet one or more requirements. You can also give multiple-choice questions with weighted answers to score your candidate.

So for example, if you want someone with 5 years experience with a particular certification, and a specific range of targeted salary, you could ask:

  • Do you have 5 years experience in this X role? Yes or No?
  • Are you X certified? Yes or No?
  • What’s your salary expectation range? 74 or less? 75 – 100? 101 or more?

If you don’t have access to an ATS with these features or access to job boards, just pose the questions within the job posting with specific instructions on how to reply. This is a great way to see who can follow instructions.

You will be amazed at how much faster you can short list ALL of your candidates. Having more time will free you up to better qualify over the phone and in person. This ultimately will lead to better quality candidates for the Hiring Manager. It’s simple, but it works.

Looking for some more recruiter tips on working smarter and getting more results – better candidates and more clients? Our next Rookie Recruiter training starts Monday May 5th, 2014 (2 seats left). For more details, click here.


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