When the job you’re hiring for gets hundreds of applicants, it’s important to know what to look for in a resume to find qualified candidates to interview.
Having a thoughtful, organized way of sorting through resumes and mapping out your needs is an essential step in the hiring process that will save you tons of time in the long run. If you don’t know what you’re looking for in a qualified candidate you could spend countless hours interviewing people that are not a good fit for you and your company. So, what can you do to avoid that?
Focus on the following proven criteria when looking for qualified candidates amid your pile of resumes. It will make the interview process far less of a headache!
Decide on Salary Range in Advance
There are many factors besides salary that will help you to determine whether or not a potential candidate is a good fit, but having a reasonable expectation for it will make it easier to set up interviews.
It can seem taboo to discuss previous salaries with candidates and asking about their salary “expectations” can sour relationships with potentially great and qualified candidates. Instead, try to have an idea of the market and the general range that a person in a particular position might earn and make that clear on the job posting. This way, if you stick within that range, you won’t run the risk of offending candidates. Also, you won’t waste your time interviewing someone you cannot afford.
Know Your Must-Haves and Deal-Breakers
Before you do anything, make a list of deal-breaking criteria and start there. This might include needing candidates to be flexible with work hours, open to travel, and/or have a certain certification.
Decide what you are and aren’t willing to invest in and remove resumes that do not meet your criteria.
Check Out Your Candidates on Social Media
Nearly everyone is on social media now. You can learn a lot about someone through it that you can’t learn from a resume. You likely won’t be able to figure out if they’re a qualified candidate skills-wise through their social media, but you’ll be able to look at other areas that matter such as if they’d fit in with your work culture. When reviewing a candidate’s public social media account, make sure to have things you are looking for in mind. These should be both negative and positive things.
Seek out indications of positive traits like the creativity of posts, good feedback, and evidence of past achievements. These will help you get a better picture of the person you might be working with.
On the other hand, make sure to also take note of red flags like discriminatory posts, inappropriate comments, or poor communication skills.
Look Into Personality and Core Values
Finding a qualified candidate isn’t just about finding out if they have the right skills for the job. You also want to find out if their personality and values will match your company.
“If you want to hire the right employee, you need to make sure they will fit in with the company culture as well as with the job. Assess your organizational culture to know exactly what kind of person will be a good fit.” – Atman
If you can somehow get a glimpse of a candidate’s core values, you will have an idea of how well they will fit into your company culture and the job position itself. Social media and cover letters are a great place to look for indications of a candidate’s core values. Finding out what is most important to potential employees and the values that they are committed to is vital. When it comes to company values, some things are non-negotiable.
Try Digital Resumes
You’re probably wondering what’s different between digital resumes and printed ones when it comes to seeing if someone is a qualified candidate. They both will say the same things, so what’s the difference?
Printed versions of resumes are great, but digital copies can really help you speed through the candidate vetting process by making it easier to sort and scan text. With digital resumes, you can search for qualification keywords that you’ve deemed essential to the position you are trying to fill using resumes screening tools online.
Certain key terms you’re looking for may be phrased differently, so make sure you try out a few different variations of the same keywords so that you don’t miss potentially great hires.
Don’t Stop Searching Until You Hire
Many of the candidates you extend offers to may decline, negotiate, and/or turn out to not be a good fit during due diligence. To avoid having to start all over again or losing a great candidate and getting stuck with a not-so-great one, make sure you keep reviewing resumes even as the interview process begins.
Be Open to Change
After asking questions and going through the interview process a few times, you might begin to get an even clearer picture of your needs. As you get these revelations throughout the interview process, don’t be afraid to use this new information to refine your search and perhaps even go back over discarded resumes if it is fitting.
Finally, Let it Go!
Believe it or not, intuition takes practice. Because of this, it’s inevitable that you will bypass potentially amazing, qualified candidates simply because their resume writing skills are not up to par.
Let it go – this is all part of getting better at hiring. Embrace the process and learn from your mistakes.
“The hiring process is long and it’s difficult, but if you give it the time and attention it needs, you’ll be sure to get truly amazing employees that fit your culture and will work hard to help your business succeed. If you rush it or don’t do all the work that is required, you’ll quickly regret it.” – COO Alliance
Finding qualified candidates can be difficult and take time, but the more you do it and the more prepared you are, the easier it gets.
Do you have any tricks of your own that you use when trying to find qualified candidates? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and someone from my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.