The recruitment world has evolved over the years.

From printed resumes being the only gateway to a new candidate, today there are many avenues a recruiter can pursue to find the best talent and one of the biggest is social media.

While recruiters today can employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to weed out unsuitable candidates, they can’t solely rely on this technology and still need to review applications individually once the ATS has implemented the first level of filtering.

This is because many applicants work around the ATS and stuff their resumes with keywords so they will be parsed even when they are under-qualified or not suitable for the job.

In this article we will show you how as an HR executive you can organize your resume screening approach to help you screen resumes and set up a dream team:

Familiarize yourself with the profile you are hiring for

As an HR executive, you will be screening resumes for every profile that your organization will be hiring people for.

It is unrealistic to assume that HR people will know each of these profiles so they only shortlist the most desirable candidates but being in-charge of the hiring process you have to make sure that only the best applicants are filtered in for the interview round.

Taking some time to familiarize yourself with the profile and understanding the job description will make you that much more equipped to shortlist qualified candidates only.

It will also equip you to accurately and more efficiently compare the experiences listed on a resume with the requirements given in the job description.

These are some of the factors that you will want to consider while screening resumes:

  • The job descriptions posted online are up to date. Consulting with hiring managers is a good idea to ensure that all the responsibilities you want the new hire to shoulder and the desired skills are listed online.
  • If the posting is old and is being used again, make sure it’s edited to include or remove the necessary information as per the current hiring requirements. Get someone familiar with the job profile to analyze the requirements for the profile and update it accordingly.
  • Understand the job description and the requirements you are asking from your potential applicants and try to go beyond buzzwords.

Design a rating system

As you will be evaluating the resumes, it is better to have an organized approach and a rating system to evaluate every resume.

Start by creating a spreadsheet where you will be rating every resume that you evaluate. Alter the chart according to the profile or the position you are evaluating the resume for

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Decide if you want the resumes to be listed numerically, i.e. the order that you receive them in or alphabetically. List these down in a column on your spreadsheet.
  • Make separate sections for the qualifications that you will be considering and order them according to priority. Include everything from competencies, credentials to certifications, educational requirements, years of experience, spelling/grammar errors, gaps in employment, etc. Recognize the categories that are imperative for the selection of a candidate for this particular position before proceeding to rank them.

Categorize the ranked resumes

Create 3 categories for the resumes to be listed under after they have been evaluated according to your rating system. These categories are:

  • Resumes that meet all the criteria.
  • Rejected resumes that do not meet the important or minimum criteria.
  • Resumes that meet the important criteria but did not meet the additional criteria.

Review each category

Look closely to see if the rejected resumes could be transferred to the ‘maybe’ pile or if the ‘maybe’ pile has some strong candidates that you would want to reconsider.

When each resume has been correctly categorized, move onto screening the shortlisted resumes more closely. This means checking the resumes for:

  • The information listed on the resume that supports the claims and accomplishments of the individual.
  • Information regarding the actual differences they made when working for their previous organization. Look for numbers and figures on the resume, for example, “increased productivity by 10%” or “saved USD 1000 in a quarter” etc.
  • Signs of excessive job-hopping or unexplained employment gaps.
  • Incromphenisble and hard to follow resume formats.
  • Easily avoidable grammatical or spelling errors.

Shortlist the resumes that will move to the interview round

After you have analyzed the resumes according to the above-stated criteria. Organize the resumes according to their desirability. Put the most desirable candidate first and make up the order accordingly.

Call your top choices first for an interview and then move down the list if you have to.

You can always do this after the interview process, but you can also run a background check on candidates beforehand to save time. This is to weed out the ones with sketchy pasts or those who might be hiding a criminal record from you. Of course, you should make sure not to discriminate against all applicants with past records. But taking security measures to ensure your company’s safety is never wrong.


The best way to screen resumes to set up a dream team is by streamlining your approach and taking a more organized look at how you are screening resumes. Let’s look back at how you can optimize your screening approach to only select the best talent for your organization.

  1. Know the important aspects of the job you are hiring for.
  2. Build a rating system and follow it while evaluating the resumes
  3. Categorize the resumes under ‘Accepted’, ‘Rejected’, and ‘Maybe’
  4. Review each category to make sure you did not miscategorize
  5. Rank the resumes according to their desirability and start calling the shortlisted candidates for the interview round.

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