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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: How do you efficiently wade through the sea of resumes you receive for any given job posting?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.


jessica1. Decide Whether You Can Learn Something From Each Candidate

I first have the person who is going to be working closely with the new hire go through the pile of resumes and weed out anyone who doesn’t meet the basic criteria. Then, I have them go through it again and pull out people they think they can learn something from. That usually makes the pile a lot shorter.

Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

Lisa2. Ask the Top 10 Candidates to Work on a Short Assignment

At Kuli Kuli, we find that we can weed out a lot of people by asking them to complete a short work assignment related to the task they’d be performing at our company. For example, if they will be in communications, we ask them to write a short blog post. Not everyone responds to this request, which makes it easy to see who is serious about the job and who has the potential to be great at it.

Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

zac3. Sync Resumes With LinkedIn

Whether you are collecting resumes through paper submissions or online PDF applications, a great method of wading through the mess is to make sure each resume includes a link to the candidate’s LinkedIn profile page. LinkedIn offers a great way to see how other individuals rate and recommend each candidate. This information can go a long way when trying to choose new hires from a large selection of unknowns.

Zac Johnson, Blogging.org

steven4. Say Goodbye to Buzzwords

The first thing I do is skim for buzzwords. Nonsense like ‘best of breed,’ ‘results-driven,’ and ‘seasoned’ will get an application tossed in the trash without a second thought. I then do a second skim, looking for experience relevant to the position. Finally, I look at what’s left, and pick a few of the highest-quality applicants to contact.

Steven Buchwald, Buchwald & Associates

John5. Iterate Effectively

Start by removing the folks who are not a good fit off the bat. Some candidates will obviously not have the right credentials or experience. After quickly going through all of the candidates, you will have a good sense of what the talent pool looks like, and you can determine which criteria you can be pickier with. Do another pass using the criteria you chose, and continue this process until only a few resumes remain.

John Arroyo, Arroyo Labs, Inc.

ben6. Figure Out Who You Can Immediately Remove From Consideration

It’s a no-brainer, but toss the resumes that don’t meet your basic criteria — the ones that don’t have required skills or those that demand too much money, for example. Then, you can remove those with additional skills that are incorrect, like Ruby for a PHP position or logistics for a marketer. Fewer skills means more focus and less cost. There is only so much time. The right person needs to be there ASAP.

Ben Gamble, Quincus


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