A Guide to Resume Screening for Recruiters & HR Personnel

January 5, 2023
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Although a recruiter’s actual workload strongly depends on their industry–like tech or hospitality–many recruiters often feel overworked, regardless of whether they work in an agency or under an HR team.

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In fact, recruiters sometimes have to deal with 30-40 open job requisitions at once. And part of the overwhelming workload from all these job openings comes from the hundreds of applications that flow in at the same time.

Most applications require resumes or CVs; This is why it is not uncommon for bottlenecks to start from the resume screening process itself. Recruiters and HR professionals thus often miss out on great potential candidates during this stage, merely because they do not have the time to look through every single resume.

So in this article, we will show you a complete guide to improving your resume screening process by modernizing it. Read through the points below to find out how you can use the right resume screening tools to clear your bottlenecks and improve the way you source candidates.

What resume screening is & why most recruiters need it

Resume screening refers to the process of going through an applicant’s resume to assess their skills, experience, and characteristics in relation to the position you are recruiting for.

Most organizations require all applicants to send their resumes or CVs in for qualification purposes. Recruiters, hiring managers, or HR personnel, then organize the resumes and proceed to start vetting for candidates.

But the truth is that any recruiter or team still going through resume screening processes the traditional way will risk lagging behind the competition.

According to Forbes, there has been an 11x growth in demand for recruiter positions overall as of 2022, compared to 2020. This is a clear indication that competition for the world’s top talent will become fiercer in the years to come, as employers are looking to hire more specialized recruiters to find better candidates.

And if you are still stuck manually sifting through each resume and recording information in spreadsheets, for instance, it will be very difficult for you to reach out to great candidates before those who are using a more modern approach. 

Given these circumstances, here are some of the biggest downsides to resume screening the traditional way: 

  1. It takes a lot of your time.

Although Indeed reports that employers only take 6-7 seconds to look at resumes on average, it is likely because they simply do not have the time for it. The time-consuming aspects of recruitment become even more apparent when you examine how long it actually takes to hire someone.

It takes an average of 33-49 days to hire for a certain position, according to LinkedIn statistics. Keep in mind that this is only for one position.

Ideally, recruiters and hiring managers should strive to decrease this figure, so that they can handle more open requisitions efficiently. And without taking the step to automate things that can be automated, you will risk continuously taking the same time, or even longer, to get things done.

  1. You might get duplicate resumes.

Getting a few duplicate resumes here and there might not seem like a big deal in small quantities. But if you are hiring for several positions at once, especially in industries where candidates are known to submit multiple applications to one company, it could get extremely problematic.

Imagine seeing the same person with the same resume, and creating a separate profile for the person each time they apply for a different position; all of that while you have to hire for 30 open requisitions at the same time.

Without tools that help you create candidate profiles automatically, you will risk getting stuck on redundant tasks, which should be unacceptable if you want to compete for top talent.

  1. You will run the risk of human error.

Forgetting to email a candidate, making wrong choices in the recruitment process, and misplacing files: It happens to the best of us.

Mistakes are a normal part of life. And although we strive to make as few mistakes as possible every day, they are bound to happen sooner or later.

Making mistakes is good for growth; however, they can become incredibly costly and time-consuming, especially during the resume screening and recruitment process.

Some of the biggest consequences of forgetting things can be incurred while you are trying to pursue a candidate. These are directly linked to how long it takes from your first point of contact with them to the day you or your client sends them a formal offer.

If you have been in recruitment for at least a few years, you would have likely experienced an instance where a candidate declined your job offer because they chose another one while you were preparing yours.

Sometimes recruiters and HR professionals who need to oversee recruitment become so overwhelmed by their other tasks that their recruitment process ends up becoming a little slow.

In fact, 55% of candidates believe it should take under two weeks from the first interview for you to send over a job offer. And this means that a few missing resumes could result in missed opportunities down the road, which could end up decreasing your value as a recruiter.

There are multiple ways to conduct resume screening that helps prevent these mistakes from happening. So given these risks, let us move on to tips to ensure your resume screening will help improve the way you recruit.

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Top 4 tips to ensure your resume screening will help you get qualified candidates

Resume screening arguably starts from when you post each job opening itself, as the right job description is more likely to attract the right people than a typical or generic one. And that is exactly what the first tip in this list is:

1. Start with a thorough job description.

As mentioned above, a good job description draws in like-minded people to apply for your job opening. And although no “screening” is actually happening at this stage, writing a strong job description is crucial to saving time and effort in the long term, as you would not have to waste your time considering people who cannot accept certain conditions in the first place.

A thorough job description that helps improve resume screening should include the following:

  1. Non-negotiables - These include conditions that are not flexible, such as hard skills, minimum work experience, and required certifications. This can also stretch to the working model of the organization, namely whether it uses an office-based, hybrid, or remote working style.

For example, if you are recruiting for a fully office-based option, and include it very clearly in the job description that the organization will not consider those looking to work remotely, this could discourage remote workers from applying.

  1. The employer brand - This refers to how an organization is perceived externally, as well as how it presents itself, along with what it stands for.

 Around 72% of recruiting leaders agree that employer branding has a significant impact on hiring. This is why it is a recruiter’s job to communicate the brand’s vision and mission very clearly in each job description, as well as how the brand presents itself as an attractive workplace.

For example, if the company you are hiring for is really big on saving the environment, then it would be useful to communicate that in the job description. This form of “screening” helps filter for people who have core values that are similar to the employer.

  1. Working culture - Another aspect worth mentioning that will greatly help later on in the resume screening process is the general working culture at the organization.

Take into consideration what the working hours are like, whether they prefer a team setup or a strong team of independent workers, and whether they work vertically or horizontally.

Let us say a talented candidate makes it all the way to receiving a final offer, and they end up signing for the company. If they prefer to work alone, but the company is striving for a team-first culture, it is likely that the person would not be a good cultural fit in the long term.

This is why all conditions should be made clear from the job description stage.

  1. Benefits - Another factor to include in all job descriptions is the type of benefits that the company offers. Does the organization have an attractive medical or dental insurance package? Do they have yearly trips or end-of-year bonuses?

Depending on the needs of each individual, one might prefer certain benefits over others. It would be a wise decision to include the most noteworthy benefits in job descriptions.

FREE TO USE: Browse & Download 1,000+ Job Description Templates to Get You Started

2. Use an ATS to screen resumes automatically.

Once your job descriptions are sorted, it is time to use recruitment tools that can help improve your resume screening process.

An ATS, or applicant tracking system, can receive resumes and automatically create candidate profiles for you, which helps prevent any potential candidates from slipping away.

A reliable ATS should be able to parse information from a resume–and check for duplicate entries–and store it in the system’s main database. This will allow you to record a candidate in your talent pool, even if they are not the right fit for this particular job. You will be able to reach them once a fitting job for them comes by.

Here is an example of a candidate profile on Manatal’s ATS:

As you can see, information was taken from the candidate’s resume, and transferred to the main system. It also draws information from multiple sources, such as professional networks, to display social media profiles, active jobs, and more.

Using tools like an ATS will ensure you stay up-to-date with any desirable candidate for a job opening.

3. Use AI to give you candidate recommendations.

Resume screening in the modern age does not have to be done manually. While recruiters must manually decide whether a candidate is a suitable fit, they are not required to look at every single candidate’s profile page individually.

A modernized ATS will include AI-driven candidate recommendations for each job opening, based on your specified criteria. Although this does not replace resume screening, it speeds up the decision-making process for you, and hence, your candidate shortlists can be formed more quickly.

AI-based recommendations are generated from the talent pool of candidate profiles that were created in the previous step. All you need to do in this stage is enter what skills are required for the job, necessary work experience, certifications, and more.

Here is an example of candidate recommendations from Manatal’s ATS:

You can see that the software expresses AI-driven recommendations in a percentage, ranked by degree of likeness to your specified criteria.

AI-assisted recruitment–and improvements in its accuracy–will be one of the trends to look out for moving forward. Combined with some manual selection within your talent pool, these recommendations will help you apply a more data-driven approach to resume screening and your recruitment process in general.

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4. Use online assessments where applicable.

Assessments–case studies or live tests that gauge a candidate’s ability to perform certain tasks–are sometimes necessary, especially for jobs that require specialized skills. These include jobs in web development, coding, graphic design, or engineering.

The next step in the screening process is thus to ensure that the tools you use feature some form of integrated assessment distribution, to ensure that you can easily qualify candidates for complex jobs.

This will specifically help you save time when recruiting for highly-technical jobs, which you may not be fully qualified to screen yourself. Instead of asking a professional from a client’s company to help qualify a candidate, you will be able to use an integrated assessment and present the assessment score to the client instead.

Here is an example from Manatal’s integration with Codility - a programming assessment - which can be sent within its platform.

In the example, the recruiter is qualifying a candidate for a Machine Learning position, which in this case specifically requires qualification in Python coding. 

Using these assessments ensures you do not waste time on candidates who cannot perform the necessary skills to the level required by the organization.

MORE ON ASSESSMENTS: Improve Your Tech Recruitment Strategies with Remote Assessments

Modernizing your resume screening process with Manatal’s ATS

Many recruitment agencies are using some form of recruitment software to stay ahead of the competition. Manatal, for instance, is currently used by thousands of companies across 135 countries globally.

In terms of resume screening, Manatal helps break down the screening process into five easy steps:

  1. Upload a resume.
  2. The system parses the resume automatically and creates a candidate profile.
  3. Move candidates up the candidate pipeline, such as “contacted,” “interviewed,” or “assessment sent.”
  4. Send candidates any additional assessments as needed.
  5. For unused candidates, they are automatically kept in your talent pool for another job opening.

Curious to see how Manatal can improve your resume screening steps? Sign up for a free 14-day trial today to try it for your organization!

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Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRI Network, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. Whenever I ask something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful recruitment. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Edmund Yeo
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.
Bill Twinning
Talent Resources & Development Director - Charoen Pokphand Group
Manatal is the best ATS we worked with. Simplicity, efficency and the latest technologies combined make it an indispensable tool for any large-scale HR team. Since its adoption, we've seen a huge increase across all our key recruitment metrics. To summarize. it is a must-have.
Ahmed Firdaus
Director - MRINetwork, Executive Search Firm
I've been using Manatal for the past couple of months and the platform is excellent, user-friendly and it has helped me a lot in my recruitment process, operation and database management. I'm very happy with their great support. whenever I asked something they come back to me within minutes.
Dina Demajo
Senior Talent Acquisition - Manpower Group
Manpower has been using Manatal and we couldn't be happier as a team with the services this platform has provided. The application is extremely user-friendly and very well equipped with all the useful functions one would required for successful requirement. The support team is also excellent with very fast response time.
Kevin Martin
Human Resources Manager - Oakwood
Manatal is a sophisticated, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based applicant tracking system that helps companies achieve digitalization and seamless integration to Linkedin and other job boards. The team at Manatal is very supportive, helpful, prompt in their replies and we were pleased to see that the support they offer exceeded our expectations.
Maxime Ferreira
International Director - JB Hired
Manatal has been at the core of our agency's expansion. Using it has greatly improved and simplified our recruitment processes. Incredibly easy and intuitive to use, customizable to a tee, and offers top-tier live support. Our recruiters love it. A must-have for all recruitment agencies. Definitely recommend!
Ngoc-Thinh Tran
HR Manager, Talent Sourcing & Acquisition - Suntory PepsiCo Beverage
I am using Manatal for talent sourcing and it is the best platform ever. I am so impressed, the Manatal team did an excellent work. This is so much awesome, I am recommending the solution to all recruiters I know.

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