Effectively Screening Large Piles of Resumes

Posted by on Aug 31, 2010 in Hiring & retention, News & commentary | 0 comments

Unfortunately, unemployment is up in the technology industry for the first time in many years.  The Information Technology Association of America has estimated that IT employment contracted 5% over the last year, leaving lots of people on the street.  In Information Technology firms, employment dropped by 15%.  Employment of IT professionals in the corporate market dropped by 4%

That means that if you’re fortunate enough to be hiring IT professionals, it’s a good time for you.  But that also means that when you post a job, you?ll be overrun with resumes.  I’ve heard stories about companies receiving hundreds of resumes per position.

How can you deal effectively with the flood resumes?

During my many years as a hiring manager, I learned to screen resumes very quickly without missing good ones.  The system was very simple.

1. Set aside some quiet time, about an hour per 100 resumes, but I don’t recommend doing this for more than a couple of hours at a stretch.  It can be quite mind numbing.

2. Look over each resume for 10 to 20 seconds.

3. By the end of that time, place it in one of three piles: Yes, No, or Maybe.   The vast majority go into the No pile which is for the resumes of people who clearly don’t match the position either technically or culturally.  The Yes pile is for people who look like a promising match.  Most resumes can clearly be placed in the Yes or No pile within that 20 second window.  If it would take longer to figure it out, then put it in the Maybe pile.

4. At the end of the session, review the Maybe pile more closely giving each resume at most a minute.  At the end of that minute, place it in one of the three piles: Yes, No, or Maybe.  At the end of the session, give the final Maybe pile to someone else and let them go through same process.  That way you get multiple points of view on the hard ones.

5. Send rejection letters to the people in the No pile (the vast majority).

6. Call people from the Yes pile for a phone screen, a quick 10-15 minute check for basic technical and cultural fit.

7. Then invite the people who pass the phone screen for an interview.

If you follow this simple process you can effectively deal with the large numbers of resumes without killing yourself.

For more information about how you can leverage geeks to get the technology you want, contact info@leadinggeeks.com or call 310-694-0450.

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