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Recruiter’s Ultimate Guide for Resume Screening

Resume screening is a procedure in the hiring process that determines whether an applicant is qualified for a job role based on their experience, education, and other information stated in their resume.

In a nutshell, it is a method of pattern matching between a candidate’s qualifications according to their resume and a job’s requirements to see if they are fit for the job. This method is super powerful, especially in tech recruitment.

Resume screening aims to determine whether to reject an applicant or to move them forward – usually to the interviewing stage. Here is all you need to know about resume screening:

Resume Screening Process

There are usually three-step processes involved in resume screening. As a recruiter, you should screen resumes using the job roles’ preferred and minimum qualifications. Some of these qualifications include the following:

  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Competencies
  • Personality traits
  • Skills and knowledge

Step 1: Resume Screening Using Minimum Qualifications

Usually, minimum qualifications are the compulsory qualifications an applicant must meet to fit into the job role. An example is to check whether an applicant is legally allowed to work in the employment country.

These qualifications are considered knockouts, because, if they meet the requirements, the qualified candidates are moved forward and if they don’t, they are screened out of the entire recruitment process.

Applicants that meet these minimum qualifications are moved onto the next step of resume screening

Step 2: Resume Screening Using Preferred Qualifications

Preferred qualifications are not mandatory characteristics that make a person a stronger applicant for the job. An example of a preferred qualification is whether an applicant has related work experience.

These kinds of qualifications are usually referred to as nice-to-haves and are more qualitative than the minimum qualifications required for the job

Applicants who meet both these preferred and minimum qualifications are moved to the shortlisting stage of resume screening.

Step 3: Shortlisting Applicants Using Minimum and Preferred Qualifications

Determining the applicants that get shortlisted for the interview process solely depends on the organization recruiting needs.

For recruitment on high volume, the hiring managers move all applicants that meet the minimum qualifications to the interview stage. For recruitment on low volume, only the first few qualified applicants that meet both the preferred and minimum qualifications are interviewed for the job position.

You are at liberty to determine the number of applicants you want to shortlist to the next stage based on your conversion rates for recruitment. The average recruiting conversion rates based on recruitment data are:

  • 12% for application to interviewing
  • 17% for interviewing to offer
  • 89% for the offer to acceptance

The above rates mean for every hundred applicants, you should shortlist twelve of them for interviews, two of the applicants will receive an offer, then one applicant will accept– which ends up in a successful hire to fill the open position.

You should ensure the screening process is objectively and consistently applied across every resume.

Challenges Recruiters Face When Screening Resumes

According to LinkedIn, the most critical recruiting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are the candidate quality ratio and time to fill. Your organization’s resume screening process influences the candidate quality ratio and time to fill. Thus, below are the challenges recruiters face when screening resumes:


This is one of the biggest challenges of resume screening while reviewing resumes. The number of resumes an organization receives during the application process is one of the most significant factors which increases the time to fill. An average vacant position receives 250 resumes, and about 88% are usually unqualified. This is to say a recruiter can spend about 23 hours screening resumes only for a single job posting.

The general solution for this volume problem is to use a tracking tool, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software is necessary for talent acquisition and recruitment departments. This is because the screening software organizes the resumes received for every job role and allows some measure of an automated resume screening through knockout questions or resume keyword matches.

Tech Innovations in Screening Resumes

A new class of recruitment technology called Artificial intelligence in recruitment has been introduced to meet the needs of today’s recruiters and ease them off manual screening. This resume screening tool reduces administrative duties and time-consuming activities like manual screening. Industry experts agreed that the inception of the resume screening software to help get resumes screened would transform the entire recruiting function.

Quality of Hire

This can be difficult to access without using some subjective bias. Seeking a systematic way to go about it based on your organization’s new employees’ desired profile can reveal a lot about your recruiting process. You get to learn the number of applicants that turned out to be the successful and unsuccessful workforce. As a hiring manager, measuring your organization’s quality of hire can help you determine where to find the most suitable candidates.

Another excellent strategy adopted by many top companies in recruiting top talents and minimizing the challenges of screening resumes is the “employees referral program.” With this strategy, you’ll ease your recruiting team the stress of reviewing high-volume of resumes. It works by involving your current workers in the hiring process.

Ask them to recommend suitable people for open positions in your organization. Those could be their friends or their connections on professional platforms like LinkedIn who are good fit for the vacant position. This strategy helps your company expand its talent pool and allows the recruiting team to only focus on the resume of a few qualified candidates. Therefore, this approach will make the resume screening process easier and faster.

Final Thoughts

As a recruiter, with these deep insights regarding everything involved in resume screening, plus the resume screening tools and employee referral programs, you should be able to sail through a recruiting process hitch-free to hire the best candidates with the desired skills.

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