The old saying in a job search goes that applicants usually only have a few seconds to impress the person screening their resume. The reason why is simple: Most job postings these days get so many replies that hiring managers simply can't devote the time they'd like to reviewing every candidate.
However, if hiring managers want to get a little more out of the resume screening process, it would be wise to take a few of the following tips to heart:
1) Set time aside every day
One of the most daunting things about resume screening is the sheer number of them you're likely to receive, according to Inc. magazine. At some point, it starts to feel like too much to handle, but if you take an hour every day to read through at least some of them, you're more likely to keep that pile of documents on your desk or in your email inbox relatively small.
2) Look for a small number of criteria
If you only have a minute or two to look at every resume, it's important to hone in key details in each so you know if this is a person you should consider more seriously, Inc. added. These could include professional accomplishments or qualifications, past roles and so on. It's often a good idea to make salary range one of the issues you monitor. Unserious candidates may over- or underestimate what the job should pay.
3) Start with the cover letter
While it's smart to look at every candidate's resume, you might find a little more traction if you start by examining their cover letters, according to The Balance Careers. That will often give you an idea of the person's qualifications and the reason they're looking for the job, and perhaps even a bit of their personality, all of which can be invaluable in finding the right candidate.
4) Create candidate tiers
It's actually rare that you should dismiss a candidate sight unseen, but you're also going to end up in situations where some applicants are clearly more qualified than others, The Balance Careers advised. It might be better to sort candidates into groups of, for example, "great," "good," and "average." That will help you prioritize your more in-depth screening.
5) Think about 'deal breakers'
Just as you have items on your list of preferred criteria, you probably also have some things that would be considered definite deal breakers, according to Dice. Codifying those no-nos to some extent will help you identify people who are definitively unqualified for the position, and save a little time as you examine the many applications you receive.
6) Consider their motivation
Not all candidates are applying because they want the job; some apply because they want a job, Dice cautioned. With that in mind, it's important to look over cover letters for signs of a real passion for what the candidate does or how with what they're looking for lines up with the company's stated values.