How to Sort Through Resumes


Need to Hire?  Post Jobs for Free

Once you’ve put up your employment posting on a free job board, you’re going to be faced with the question of how to sort through resumes. Dealing with all of them can be overwhelming, especially if you’re managing other aspects of your business at the same time. However, there are ways to make the task more manageable. Throwing yourself into it because you have to and you want it to be over can increase your stress rather than make it easier to get through. Instead, try these strategies:

Schedule Time to Review Applications

Reviewing applications as they come in can backfire on you pretty easily. You might end up interrupting yourself to get to them, which is bad for your productivity. Additionally, it’s too easy to lose track of the resume that impressed you so much when you first saw it, according to Inc. magazine.

Instead, try setting up a time to go through resumes regularly. Depending on your schedule and how many applications you’re receiving, this could be once a day or twice a week for an hour or two. During that time, focus on reading resumes – clear your schedule and let others know you’re not available. This will make the entire job more quick and organized.

Learn to Skim

If you’re generally someone who reads documents closely, let go of this proclivity for the moment. Skimming resumes is both faster and perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s standard for recruiters and hiring managers to spend seven seconds looking at a resume before they reach a decision about it.

Skimming is much more effective when you have a few criteria you’re looking for. If your job posting included mandatory qualifications, look for those and nothing else to begin with. An applicant who doesn’t have a college degree for a position that requires one isn’t going to get an interview, so you don’t need to spend any more time than it takes you to note the lack of this qualification on his or her resume. If the candidate passes the first stage, set the resume aside or look for other qualifiers: a well-written resume might be the next thing you look for.

Skip Cover Letters for Now

Because you’re looking for the very basics when you comb through a pile of resumes, it’s fine to skip cover letters. These will be helpful in narrowing down a pool of qualified applicants, but at the first stage you might just waste time reading letters from people who don’t even fit your company’s needs.

Sort Through Your Piles Regularly

Whether digital or paper, your piles of resumes that meet your requirements need to be kept in one place. Look through resumes that have everything you need and see which candidates you’ll want to interview. If your pile of acceptable applicants is very small, you might want to wade into the rest of the resumes to see whether any candidates have most of what you need and seem like they may be a good fit.

Doing this every time you work on resumes is best. If you leave it until a separate time, it will be a lengthy process indeed. It can also be harder to do, as the information from resumes is likely to be less fresh in your mind.

Don’t Stop Until You Hire

Plenty of applicants whom you extend job offers are likely to decline. This is a great reason to keep looking through resumes that come in until you’ve finalized a hire. You never know whether the best candidate will submit a resume when you’ve already started interviewing, or when that star applicant will get snapped up by the competition. If you keep your resume reviews regular throughout the process, you won’t have to scramble to find new applicants when someone unexpectedly turns you down.

Written by

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

More Articles by The ZipRecruiter Editors