A Resume Screening Checklist For Identifying The Best Candidates

Screening resumes is usually the most time-consuming part of recruiting so a good resume screening checklist is crucial to stay on track.

Not only is resume screening the most time-consuming, 52% of talent acquisition leaders say it’s also the hardest part of recruitment.
52 percent of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruiting is resume screening
To help you identify the best candidates more easily and in less time, I’ve created this 4-step resume screening checklist.

Step 1: Compile a list of the job qualifications

The first step in your resume screening checklist is understanding which skills, traits, and behaviors are necessary to be successful in the role.

The best way to do this is to assess what the qualifications of successful employees look.

Figuring out the job’s qualifications can involve talking to current employees and their supervisors as well as examining their resumes to find common patterns in:

  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills, Knowledge, and Competencies
  • Personality Traits

Step 2: Categorize each job qualification as minimum or preferred

The second step in your resume screening checklist is deciding if each job qualification is a minimum or preferred one.

Minimum qualifications are ones that a candidate must have in order to do the job. An example of a minimum qualification for a retail associate is good written and verbal communication skills.

Preferred qualifications are ones that would make someone a stronger candidate. An example of a preferred qualification is whether the candidate has prior related work experience.

A good rule of thumb is that a candidate would be unable to do the job without each minimum qualification whereas he or she would be able to do the job without any of the preferred qualifications.

For example, an extroverted candidate with good communication skills (minimum qualification) who lacks prior retail experience (preferred qualification) can be successful as a retail associate with some on-the-job training.

Depending on a job’s workflow, candidates can be screened based on minimum qualifications, preferred qualifications, or both.

Step 3: Create a resume screening scorecard for the job qualifications

The third step in your resume screening checklist is taking the minimum and preferred qualifications and creating a resume screening scorecard.

The purpose of this scorecard is to be able to easily rank each candidate based on the job qualifications and shortlisting the strongest candidates.

For a retail associate role, your scorecard might look like this:

Step 3 in a resume screening checklist is creating a scorecard

Step 4: Find a good resume screening technology tool

If you’re conducting high-volume recruitment, step four in your resume screening checklist may be the most important: finding and investing in a good resume screening technology tool.

When you’re recruiting for roles that receive hundreds or even thousands of resumes per job opening, you don’t always have the time to manually screen every resume.

That’s why a new category of resume screening tools called AI for recruiting is getting so much attention.

Intelligent resume screening is software that integrates with your ATS that automates steps 1 to 3 of your resume screening checklist for you.

It does this by learning the job qualifications based on the resumes of existing successful employees to automatically screen, shortlist, and grade new candidates (e.g., A to C or Red, Yellow, and Green).

For high-volume recruitment, intelligent resume screening is a huge technological step forward. Not only does it save you the time it takes to manually screen resumes, it helps you better predict quality of hire by learning which candidates moved on to become successful and unsuccessful employees.

The takeaways for creating a resume screening checklist

The majority of recruiters believe screening candidates is the most time-consuming and hardest part of their job. As hiring volume is predicted to increase in 2017, screening resumes will only become more of a challenge.

To help you stay on track and identify the best candidates, follow this 4-step resume screening checklist:

  • Step 1: Compile a list of the job qualifications based on current successful employees.
  • Step 2: Categorize each job qualification as a minimum or preferred qualification.
  • Step 3: Create a resume screening scorecard for the job qualifications to shortlist candidates.
  • Step 4: Find a good resume screening technology tool, especially if you conduct high-volume recruitment.

Depending on your hiring volume, you may want to automate some or all of your resume screening checklist. In that case, investing in a resume screening technology may be the way to go.

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices in data-based recruitment. She writes about research and trends in talent acquisition, recruitment tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min

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