How to screen CVs: a comprehensive guide

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Your new job advert has only been live on job listings sites for a few days and it already received a hundred applications, and growing. With numbers like that, how can you sift through CVs to find the gems?

In this guide, we’ll talk through how to screen CVs effectively, breaking down large volumes of applications into manageable shortlists of the most promising candidates.

Once you’ve mastered the CV screening process, check out our Complete Interview and Selection Guide.

The Importance of Effective CV Screening in the Hiring Process

Learning how to screen CVs of applicants promises huge benefits for yourself as the hiring manager, and for your business. Cutting a longlist of candidates down to only the best fits will save time in the interview process, not to mention save money that might otherwise be wasted on a poorly-chosen employee.

Understanding the Basics of CV Screening: What to Look for and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Screening a CV can be broken down into five key steps:

By following this plan, you will be able to filter out inappropriate, unqualified candidates, and keep hold of those with the perfect skillset and values. You will also be able to identify those who may not be perfect on paper, but show promise in unexpected ways.

Familiarise Yourself With The Job Description

The first step in analysing an applicant’s suitability for a job is to improve your own knowledge of the job. The job description will lay out all the tasks, alongside expected skills and experience of a successful applicant, so this should be your first port of call. Becoming completely familiar with every aspect of the role will help you quickly spot CVs that tick every box, those that are lacking, and those that have enough transferable skills to catch your attention.

Categorise Candidates

Once your job advert is live, you may well have a flood of applications in a short time. This can be overwhelming, so it’s helpful to have a plan to keep on top of everything. You can cut out much time and effort by categorising applications after a first quick review:

Evaluate CV For Key Skills

With your applications categorised, you can begin taking a closer look at the CVs to find those with the strongest and most relevant skill set. Pay attention to any desirable qualifications, training, on-the-job experience, and transferable skills that could benefit the role in question. The latter skills are always worth evaluating, as they bring a new approach to the work that could identify areas for improvement.

Identify Red Flags

A red flag on a job applicant’s CV could be an unexplained gap in their employment, a series of short stints with different companies, or unusual career changes. Everyone’s career path is different, and some are very varied and interesting, but these signs could point to someone who isn’t as engaged as they will need to be for the role you are hoping to fill.

If these candidates secure an interview, it’s important to question them on these aspects of their career and determine whether they are enthusiastic about this potential role and committed to the long term.

Score CVs

When you have categorised and evaluated the CVs, give each a score. It could be a grade, a mark out of 10, 100 – score it however you like, but try to do so in the most neutral way, based on the evidence they’ve given for their suitability.

It’s important to strive for neutrality in the hiring process as a way of tackling unconscious bias. Despite our best intentions, there is always a risk of unconscious bias based on gender, sexuality, race, or religion playing a part in our choices. A scoring system can help cut down this risk, and improve a company’s diversity, equity and inclusion hiring, which has many benefits.

For example, you could create a checklist of the most desirable skills or qualifications you are looking for, each gaining one point for the candidate. This way you can build an unbiased list of the top candidates to take to the next stage of the hiring .

How Tiger Recruitment Can Help

Our consultants see hundreds of CVs week after week and are experts at sorting the wheat from the chaff. They will work with you to cut down applications into manageable shortlists, to which you can then apply your own critical eye.

If you’re ready to find top talent in a more efficient and effective way, reach out today with your requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you screen CVs effectively?

When faced with a large number of job applications, a hiring manager can screen CVs more effectively by following these key steps:

  • Understand the job description in-depth
  • Categorise applications as qualified, possibly qualified, and unqualified
  • Evaluate the skills, qualifications and experience detailed on each CV
  • Identify any red flags such as unexplained gaps in employment
  • Score all CVs to determine which will progress to the next stage

How do you filter out CVs?

You can filter out CVs of job applicants based on whether they match the criteria you deem necessary to perform the role. The criteria are up to you, but the cut-off point should be strictly followed in order to speed the process up.

Author Rebecca Siciliano Tiger Recruitment Team

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