7 Tips for a Quick, Effective, and Successful CV Screening Process

7 tips for a quick and successful CV screening process

Resume or CV screening is one of the early but essential steps of the recruitment process.

Though it sounds simple, the success–or failure–of later steps in the hiring process depends on how effective your CV screening was.

You’ve shared your vacancy across multiple platforms, or collaborated with recruiters, and now you have 100–or even 1,000–CVs sitting in your inbox. The next step is to screen, review, and assess those CVs to see who will move on to the next level.

If your CV screening process isn’t effective, you’ll waste time across the hiring process. Both HR and hiring managers will lose precious time and effort.

In this article, we’ll be diving into what CV screening is and highlighting the best practices and tips to follow. We’ll also cover CV screening software.


What is a CV screening?

The CV or resume screening process is when you have to review and assess the resumes you’ve received. It helps you see which candidates meet your job requirements and which don’t.

It also helps you see which candidates have potential, though they may not fulfill all your criteria.

This process determines which candidates are fit to move on to the next stages of your recruitment process. Particularly, the interviewing stages.

Effective resume screening ensures quicker time-to-hire and time-to-fill, both of which are important recruitment KPIs and metrics.

Manual CV screening, where the recruiter goes through each resume to review qualifications, is a time-consuming process. That’s why many recruiters today turn to CV screening software to speed up the process.


What is CV screening software?

CV Screening software, is a form of recruiting software and applicant tracking software (ATS), uses keywords to screen CVs.

There are pros and cons to using CV screening software. Chief among the downsides is the software may overlook resumes that don’t include the ‘keywords’ the recruiter adds.

However, it’s possible to add variations of keywords.


The CV screening process

The resume screening process usually begins like this:

  • Get the resumes: You get 100+ resumes handed to you by HR or recruitment. Often, HR will have gone through these resumes and weeded out the obviously irrelevant ones. However, in small companies, you may get all the resumes received from the sourcing phase.


  • Filtration: As a hiring manager, you begin your own filtration process. It could either be manual or using CV screening software. 

As a former hiring manager, an important step in my CV screening process was dividing resumes, filtered or not, into 3 groups. These groups were based on relevance and priority in getting those candidates in for an interview.


  • First priority resumes: Those are the candidates who I wanted to contact ASAP and interview. (I had the highest hopes for this group)


  • Secondary priority resumes: Those were the candidates with potential but who did not meet all my requirements. For example, some candidates had less experience than I was searching for, or vice versa.


  • Unqualified or irrelevant: Whether the resumes I got were filtered by HR or not, there were CVs that were simply irrelevant.

I recall hiring for a junior translator years ago and received a resume for a digital marketing manager!


Tips and best practices for CV screening

The following tips and best practices will help you speed up the process and make it more efficient.

1)    Write clear job description

The first step in any successful recruitment process, and subsequently resume screening process, is to have a clear job description.

Many companies overlook the importance of starting with a clear job description. But it’s the basis of the entire recruitment cycle.

Having a job description that says your company is looking for the next ‘dragon’ or ‘ninja’ doesn’t help anyone. It just says you want a slave rather than an employee who can help you fill a vacancy and grow your business.

A clear job description should include

  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Number of years of experience (include a range)
  • Preferred educational degree
  • Previous experience in a similar field or organization (if required)
  •  Whether the job is full-time or part-time or contract-based
  • Whether the job is in-house, hybrid, or remote


2)    Standardize screening criteria

To ensure a successful CV screening process, you need to standardize the screening criteria. This means that anyone who screens a resume should have a set of guidelines or criteria to follow.

This step is highly important if you’re screening resumes manually. Standardizing the screening criteria ensures you provide equal attention and criteria to all candidates, regardless of who is screening a particular CV.


3)    Categorize candidates

As mentioned, categorizing candidates into groups helps you speed up the screening and later interviewing stages of the hiring process.

You can categorize candidates based on how well their resume matches your job description, years of experience, or something else.

The categorization step can be carried out by HR or the hiring manager or both. However, it’s important the hiring manager defines the criteria for this step.

As a former hiring manager, my CV screening process was a manual one. My categorization process involved giving priority to candidates whose CVs were the closest fit to the job description in the vacancy I was filling.

The first group of resumes were the first batch of people I called in for interviews and relevant tests.

If candidates in that group failed to turn up for their interview, didn’t continue the hiring process, or something else, I moved on to the second group or batch.

Often candidates in the second batch included candidates who had too much or too little experience than what I was looking for.

That said, some resumes also came from candidates who wanted to switch careers, which meant I’d need to spend more time training them.


4)    Use CV screening software

Using resume screening software helps you speed up the entire process.

Especially if you’re trying to fill multiple vacancies or if you’re mass recruiting for a company.

However, it’s important to understand how the software works and how to get the most out of it without overlooking potentially good hires.


5)    Identify red flags 

Different recruiters and different companies will have different red flags when screening resumes. It’s important you identify what a red flag means for you when conducting a screening.

For example, some recruiters may view an employment gap as a red flag, while others may not.

Similarly, many managers view candidates who don’t spend at least a year in a job, or who change jobs quickly, as quick turnover employees. While there may be strenuous circumstances for these short stints, a resume will not highlight those circumstances.

You may note the red flags in your resume sorting process, invite the candidate for an interview, and get clarification on the matter.


6)    Consider CV scoring 

One way to improve CV screening is to use a scoring method. This involves highlighting the top criteria you’re looking for in each resume and giving it a score

It could also be a checklist of things you’re looking for in each CV. The more boxes you check, the more likely this resume will pass screening and move on to the next phase.

The scoring process should work in the favor of reducing recruitment bias and ensuring a transparent hiring process.

Companies that use blind CV screening, which involves removing personal candidate information from a resume, can also use the scoring method to screen resumes.


7)    Be objective

Last but certainly not least, it’s imperative your CV screening is as objective as possible.

Aside from jobs that require a certain gender like specific construction jobs, nursing or professional medical services, being unbiased is essential in recruitment.


Wrapping it up

Screening resumes is part of every hiring manager’s recruitment process. You cannot rely 100% on the HR team to conduct this step for you. You will, eventually, want to review several resumes manually to check certain information.

While this isn’t meant to reduce the workload of an HR recruiter or team, certain fields, where managers have tests and certain expectations, require the hiring manager’s involvement.

As a former hiring manager, I used to hire translators and copywriters. I had a test for each vacancy I needed to fill. As the hiring manager, I need to decide who will take the test and then assess the test myself to see if the candidate will move on to the next stage.


Need help managing your company’s recruitment process? Not sure where to begin with hiring talents in industries like construction, healthcare, banking, and others?

Get in touch with Tawzef. Our team will support all your HR and recruitment needs.


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