Hiring the right candidate can be difficult, especially when you receive a large number of resumes from a pool of talented individuals. Often, businesses simply don’t have the resources to spend a long period of time sifting through resumes to find the perfect one.
Hiring teams need to develop certain systems or criteria for weeding out any candidates that wouldn’t be the right fit and finding a select few ideal candidates for the position. To help you do this, 15 Forbes Business Council members offered some creative tips for finding the best resumes quickly from a large pool of applicants.
1. Bury Instructions In The Job Description
One of the simpler ways to separate candidates when reviewing resumes is to bury an instruction further into your description. Most “spray and pray” candidates don’t bother reading through online descriptions, they just hit “apply.” Try adding a simple thing, such as, “In your cover letter, start with the term, ‘It’s all about culture.'” This one tip can cut out most of the unsuitable applicants. – Glenn Gaudet, GaggleAMP Inc.
2. Focus On One Necessary Skill
Examine the top one skill required for the role (this can be a technical skill) and the candidate’s ability to communicate. This helps to understand and place candidates at different levels. If the soft skills are on point, then can those skills help them to further polish their other top skills and grow quickly? This helps to shortlist the profiles and look further into them. – Sanket Shah, InVideo Innovation Pte Ltd.
3. Have Candidates Create A Loom Video
When you are under a tight time and budget crunch, it can be hard to separate the candidates with potential from those without. I recommend asking candidates to make a quick “loom video” that shows off their skills and personality, which might make all the difference between hiring a solid employee and passing on someone who might be a great fit but just doesn’t show it on paper. – Chris Kille, Payment Pilot
4. Hire A Resilient Candidate
When hiring, look for resilience. It is a unique quality that makes a lasting hire. You and your company want a person with resilience. When you spot it in a candidate, engage with them quickly and hire them within two weeks. Anyone with resilience will walk away from all of the delays of the current hiring process. – Beth Jannery, Titan
5. Hide An Easter Egg In The Description
I’ve found it’s quite helpful in screening out actual qualified and interested parties to place an “easter egg” in the job posting, whether it’s having a keyword or phrase or requiring some small compliance action to complete their submission. This shows me that the candidate seriously read and thoroughly understood the posting, not just mashed every apply button they could find. – Ben Heffron, PRIZM SOLAR
6. Create A List Of Must-Have Skills
When we look at candidates’ resumes, even before we have met them or talked to them, we create and prioritize a list of must-have skills to better filter the resumes. We also look for and pay more attention to achievements vs. areas of responsibility to learn about the success rate of the candidate. – Ron Jaworski, Trinity Audio
7. Do A Social Media Deep-Dive
Look at each candidate’s social media presence. Each person, no matter the demographic, has their own brand. You can tell so much about a person when doing a deep dive into their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and other public profiles. Take a look at their content and its caliber. Also, do a dive deep into their shared and tagged posts. These could all help you make a better decision. – Kice Akkawi, Treblemonsters
8. Choose Only Candidates That Meet Your Specifications
If you have a lot of candidates, then you often have the opportunity to, at least for the first round, look specifically at all the candidates who meet all your specifications. Usually, most candidates do not meet every single specification, so you can get it down to a smaller pool. If the pool with candidates who meet all specifications is not to your liking, then you can expand the pool a bit. – Josh Thompson, Thompson Construction
9. Skim Resumes To Find Key Traits
We identify the key two or three traits we’re looking for the candidates to have in the position, and then we quickly scan through the resumes for anything that may match those traits (i.e., applicable experience, educational background, hobbies, volunteerism, etc.). Once we’ve separated those from the pack, we then take a deeper dive. – Matthew Davis, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.
10. Create A Weighted Skills Matrix
I combine measurable skills or requirements to quickly identify candidates that meet the requirements. After that, it becomes more difficult to differentiate as all individuals have their own strengths and weaknesses. An exercise that I do is to create a weighted skills matrix for the ideal candidate. I then assign scores for candidates, showing which one is the closest fit to my ideal. – Waqaas Al-siddiq, Biotricity, Inc.
11. Add Some Creative Questions
Adding three simple questions to answer on top of the usual CV and cover letter can help separate candidates with potential from the pile. For example, add a creative question, such as, “Which dental product would you be and why?” If you’re in the dental space, this question allows you to see your candidate’s personality, who really cares and who will not even bother answering. – Lucie Marchelot Shukla, Straight Teeth Direct
12. Look Beyond Resumes
We look beyond resumes and ask candidates to provide other materials: public profiles (LinkedIn, GitHub), code samples that demonstrate relevant APIs, open source contributions and project portfolios. We favor candidates who provide adequate evidence of their skills and experiences, as those with just a resume and cover letter may not convince us that a screening interview will provide enough ROI. – Chris McGrath, Esteemed Inc
13. Use A Ranking System
Today’s job description focuses on needed skills, behaviors and attitudes. Hirers rate them and then use the total scores to rank them and schedule starting with top candidates. If many are qualified, then zoom out and add additional ratings for the characteristics needed for the position to which the person can be promoted in the future. This allows you to hire people who you will retain! – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly
14. Test The Candidate’s Critical Reading Skills
When posting a job, the recruiter can add instructions that the applicant must include in their resume. This is to check if the applicant is reading the job post from start to finish and if they are attentive to detail. An example would be adding the word elephant on the lowest rightmost part of the resume. Those who didn’t follow the instructions will be disregarded. – Lane Kawaoka, SimplePassiveCashflow.com
15. Determine If They’re Able To Diplomatically Disagree
Ask the candidates for their input on a topic and include details that aren’t accurate in your query. If they don’t address your flawed logic or premise or if they’re overly aggressive in their responses, move on. If they can clearly and concisely explain why you’re incorrect and are able to offer a viable solution, hire them. You need people who have the emotional intelligence to diplomatically disagree with you when they know that something is wrong. – David Lenihan, Tiber Health