Screen time. How to turbocharge your resume screening skills

09 August 2019 Debbie Morrison

resume screening

It can be one of the most laborious parts of the recruitment process. But while screening resumes is often necessary, fact is much of the information they contain is of limited value at best – especially when you consider some studies suggest 75-88% of job applicants aren’t even qualified in the first place!


The good news is, there are usually a few simple things you can do to greatly improve the quality of the resumes you DO receive. There are also little gems of information to be quickly found in most resumes, if you know where to look. As specialists who spend a lot of time reviewing applicant resumes, here are some of the key considerations we have at ELR Executive.


1. Quality beats quantity.

Tired of being swamped with resumes of dubious quality? You may be casting your net too wide, advertising on too many platforms, or simply setting the bar too low. Be specific. Be focussed. And seriously consider if there’s one niche site that’s better suited to your role, remembering it may not always be the same for other roles.


2. Presentation shows passion.

A mastery of grammar and spelling may not be essential for every role. But a poorly written or presented resume can be a big warning sign. Does the candidate really care about their application, or the role? Are their organisational skills up to scratch? Can they be trusted in front of clients? Of course, the flip side are resumes that are so focused on design and style that they lack substance. Watch out for both!


3. Quirky vs weird.

Individual personality quirks can be a breath of fresh air. But over-the-top resumes can also be a sign of trouble to come. One of our pet hates at ELR are peculiar email addresses. Why? They tend to reveal a lack of professionalism, empathy and respect.


4. Be careful what you ask for.

One of the most common flaws we see when screening resumes is missing information. Clearly a candidate who can’t follow instructions about what details to provide is someone to be wary of. But could you be clearer in your advertising about the mandatory skillsets and qualifications required?


5. Look for a clear path.

Career progression is one of great barometers when assessing a resume, especially for more senior roles. Can you see a clear and logical career path from previous roles? Or is there a bit too much zig-zagging?

6. Achievements, not responsibilities.

Every job comes with ‘responsibilities’. But this alone doesn’t mean a candidate actually met them. So, rather than focusing on responsibilities, it’s usually more enlightening to look at a candidate’s actual achievements – both in specific roles and also their career as a whole. What have they delivered on? Where have they excelled? What can they offer you as a prospective employer?

This is far from an exhaustive list. But considering each of these areas is a good starting point when screening applicants. Of course, there are some things a resume simply can’t tell you. So, no matter how strong it may seem, it should only ever be a stepping stone to a face-to-face interview.



Need specialist assistance in reviewing applicant resumes?

Contact ELR Executive today.