By Susan Heathfield
The work of resume review starts well before applicant resumes fill your inbox. Reviewing a resume starts with a job description or role profile so you know broadly what the job entails. Part of the job description, in an effective job description, details the qualifications and experience of the candidate you seek to fill the job.
Determine a Salary Range
Then, determine the salary range by using a market pay study and the additional salary research materials you have on hand. Better candidates will inquire about the pay range before they invest a lot of time in your company. Be prepared with an appropriate response.
Develop a Key Qualifications List or Candidate Profile
This process gets you started. The next key is for Human Resources staff and the hiring manager to narrow down all of this information. Create a list that spells out your most important candidate selection criteria. This is often called a candidate profile. You’ll want to list:
You now have distilled the job information into a list you can use to write ads, post jobs online, or highlight on your recruiting website. This list is the essence of the candidate you seek to fill your open job.
This candidate profile is a list of key experiences, skills, traits, and education and is essential for reviewing resumes. It forces discipline into the resume review process and gives you valuable criteria to use in resume review, and later, in candidate comparison. The list also serves as the basis for the job interview questions you will use in screening and in-person interviews with candidates for your job.
Job Posting Example
Here is an example of an actual job posting that was created from a list of key qualifications. Notice that the candidate’s qualifications are carefully defined.
This posting enables you to screen resumes and evaluate potential candidates. The job posting ensures that you don’t settle for a less than qualified person. Or, you may occasionally decide that you under priced the market in terms of the qualifications you seek at the salary you want to pay.
All of this information helps you scan resumes more quickly. The information and preparation helps you narrow down the many resumes to the chosen few resumes with greater accuracy. The preparation makes resume review relatively painless.
Set aside a block of time whenever possible. Part of resume screening is comparing one candidate’s qualifications and credentials to those listed in the other resumes you have received. Additionally, in this day of electronic applications, resume screening has taken on several new dimensions.
Some of the traditional devices used to screen resumes no longer bear the weight they once did. These include the quality of the stationery, the design of the actual document, and the envelope in which the documents arrived. Still viable for mailed-in resumes, these are useless for electronic applications, especially applications from job boards that tend to lose their formatting.
Other resume screening techniques never go out of style, including the search for proper spelling and grammar. Your quick, first skim of the resume should yield an overall impression of your candidate's carefulness and attention to detail.
Potential employees, who make careless mistakes in application materials such as resumes, do not warrant the attention that a more careful candidate deserves. Assuming the candidate's resume passes an initial inspection, this is my recommended process for reviewing resumes.Steps in Resume Review
The more you review resumes, the better your resume review will become. With practice, your resume review may be called gone in twenty seconds, or even, gone in ten seconds, while your resume review continues to yield great candidates.