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Guide to Resume Screening

In a consistently complex labor market, employers need to maximize their recruitment strategies to find the best talent. Resume screening is a crucial step in the recruitment process that typically involves going through resumes to identify the most qualified candidates. While it is possible to screen resumes manually, the use of technology is highly recommended for high-volume recruitment.

In this article, we will look at the definition of resume screening, the main challenges to be aware of, innovations, and steps for efficient resume screening. 

What is Resume Screening

Resume screening is the process of reviewing resumes to determine qualified candidates based on their experience, education, and other information captured on their resumes. It's a form of pattern matching between job requirements and applicants' qualifications based on their resumes. Resume screening can save talent acquisition specialists time during the hiring process and leads to faster onboarding of new hires. 

There are typically two ways to screen resumes - manually reviewing them or using a resume screening software for automatic applicant screening. Manual screening involves recruiters reviewing each resume on their own, while resume screening tools use AI programming to scan applicant documents for predetermined criteria.

The Challenges with Screening Resumes

While resume screening offers plenty of benefits, it’s not easy to match job requirements with suitable candidates. Given the number of candidates applying for a job, it’s not surprising that talent acquisition specialists often find it challenging to make the right choice. As a result, poor screening often leads to bad hires and makes the whole hiring process counterproductive. 

Here are the three major challenges recruiters face when screening resumes:

Volume of resumes 

If a company has a significant number of people applying for an open position, it can be hard for recruiters to screen resumes, especially if they do so manually instead of using a screening tool. 

Hiring bias 

There have been major studies that show that the hiring process is often biased and unfair. Unconscious racism, sexism, and ageism play a big role in who gets hired. 

Quality of hires 

While there may be software in place, it cannot measure the quality of hire. Thus, even if applicants are honest with the details provided in their resumes, recruiters can only rely on this information alone to determine their eligibility and qualifications. As a result, recruiters often end up hiring a candidate who does not have the skills ideal for fulfilling the job successfully. 

How to Screen Resumes

Develop Screening Criteria

The first step to screening resumes is to look at qualifications, experience, and skills required from the job description and develop screening criteria. Make a list of the required qualifications and the preferred qualifications. 

Review Resumes

The next step is to start reviewing the resumes. One suggested technique is to use an evaluation grid. Read through each application and give one point for each required and preferred skill. In the end, the higher the candidate's score, the more closely they match the job requirements. This method allows for an easy and organized way to screen each application.

Check for Red Flags

When screening resumes, look for potential red flags, such as spelling and grammar issues, unexplained employment gaps, job hopping, poor formatting, and unprofessional social media presence. While red flags should not always disqualify a candidate from the process, they alert you to concerns to question during the interview. 


Go over the pile and take a closer look at candidates' qualifications. Divide the pile into three new piles - the "Yes," "Maybe," and "No piles." Depending on your time availability, you will mostly interview applicants in the "Yes" pile and perhaps some candidates in the "Maybe" pile. The goal is to narrow down the number of candidates even more by looking at additional experience and skills that can benefit the company. 

Tech Innovations

While it is possible to screen candidates manually, automated resume screening can bring a process to a new level. A resume screening software can parse resumes at least 40% faster. Therefore, investing in an effective screening tool may be the first step toward efficient resume screening. 

Recruiters can take advantage of an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline resume screening. An ATS usually acts as a database that stores information about candidates and offers plenty of additional features to optimize the overall hiring process, including:

  • Career page hosting
  • Posting job openings
  • Interview scheduling
  • Integrated text recruiting
  • Analytics and dashboards
  • Hiring manager collaboration tools
  • Onboarding tools

In addition to ATS, there are many integrations that can make the resume screening process even more efficient. For instance, Employa is an AI-driven resume parsing solution that helps find qualified talent quickly and efficiently. It’s integrated with ATS and makes the candidate screening process more effective.

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