Reduce Your Resume Piles: 3 Ways to More Effectively Screen Candidates

When a recruiting web site goes online, the number of resumes received for any given job usually rise considerably. The blessing and the curse of the Internet is volume. And, volume is good if it is focused and useful. However it has become so easy to submit a resume that it is done indiscriminately and often for positions for which the person has little qualification. The issues all recruiters face is how to deal with this sudden, and often overwhelming, pile of resumes. How can a recruiter scale up to meet the challenge and give each person the kind of scrutiny they deserve. After all, there may be a real gem in that pile. Just as the Internet created the volume, it offers you ways to deal with the volume. Here are 3 ways to use the Internet to help.

  1. Anticipate the volume and write job descriptions that are narrow and focused. You are not trying to gather in fish with a net. You are after the single trout with your fly rod and lure. Use your web site to deliver a realistic job preview, offer a video clip of someone who has a similar position in your company talking about what they do, make the position seem real by adding examples of a typical day and about career progression. The volume of resumes from dreamers and idealists will drop off and the quality, in general, will rise.
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  3. Think about incorporating a web-based tool to screen candidates. These tools are offered by companies such as and As an example, uses the process of asking simple questions as a screening technique. This type of software allows the recruiter to set up a series of questions about each job that a candidate can answer. By answering the questions, a profile is built of that candidate. A report is generated that ranks each candidate according to predetermined criteria. By using this technique, a recruiter can start seriously screening candidates that scored highest and work down the list. While this doesn’t eliminate any candidates, it does provide a way to prioritize them.
  4. Provide a test to screen candidates. This technique may someday flow naturally from the one described above, but today it is only available as a separate service. Many companies are offering some form if testing online, sometimes only as a way to help a candidate make their own decision. Texas Instruments offers a cultural fit test to help candidates assess if they would be comfortable in the TI corporate culture. Companies such as BrainBench offer simple tests of technical and programming skills that can also be very useful in helping candidates know where they stand and in giving you quantitative data to assess their skills. Inacom offers candidates a chance to check their IT skills by taking a test, which is called the TechnoChallenge. They have a chance to win a gift certificate and Inacom gets access to pre-tested candidates.

I predict that pre-screening and testing of candidates will be a growing part of the online recruiting scene over the next twelve months. I also predict that companies will have to offer candidates who consent to all this screening and testing something more than a thank you. I think that there has to be the offer of an instant online interview or, at least, the offer of an interview in the very near future. There may have to be monetary incentives or an immediate phone call. But the bottom line is clear: there will have be a quid pro quo for asking candidates to take these tests. The best way to reduce your resume piles is to plan for the volume up front and put in pace plans to reduce it or deal with it. I hope these few suggestions help.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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