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Hiring Squad: Top Tips to Sort Stacks of Resumes

Thought Leader

Ever stare at a stack of resumes and wish they would screen themselves?  Join the club.

Tools and technologies like ZipRecruiter, JazzHR and the PTC Career Connector have made it exceptionally easy to post jobs and spread them to various job boards across the web. According to in 2015, there are more than 30,000 job boards in North America alone. The average job posting is reported to receive 250 applications (, with only two percent of those applicants moving forward to the interview stage (

Now, this number of applications obviously fluctuates depending on the job and supply/demand. Sales, marketing and graphic design jobs skew this number upward, while software engineering and quality assurance jobs tend to experience a much smaller number of applications. Either way, it’s painful to review hundreds of applications with the knowledge that more than 95 percent of your time is essentially wasted during the process.

Here are three simple and easy tips to follow to make your life a bit easier:

Require that your applicants self-qualify to the job.  

Savvy applicants are already providing a “summary of qualifications” at the top of their resume to help them stand out from the crowd. I encourage you to apply this as a part of your application process. If someone is truly a fit for and interested in your job, they should be able to take 10 minutes to help show you how and why you should consider them. By quickly scanning these qualifications, you can get a snapshot of the applicant and their experience, helping to accelerate your decision.

For those hard-to-fill jobs, I understand the hesitation to do this, as you don’t want to give people a reason not to apply. This is understandable; you can use this tactic on a case-by-case basis.

Include supplemental questions for applicants to answer.

I get it. It’s tradition to collect a resume from a job seeker. The issue is that many rely on this imperfect document as their lone decision point for an applicant. People that are always looking for a job tend to know how to make their resumes stand apart with buzzwords and gaming the system – but this doesn’t mean they are the best or most qualified for your company. The passive job seekers that don’t apply to a ton of jobs might be overlooked simply because they didn’t play the game.

Try adding two to three self-qualifying questions to the end of your job description.  Examples of this include:

Problem-solving questions: If it’s a technical position requiring troubleshooting, ask a very technical question or two that will put these skills to the test.

Situational/behavioral questions: For many positions, you can learn a ton about an applicant by asking questions that start with “Tell us about a time when…”

Metric-driven questions: These are especially helpful for sales/marketing roles where numbers and quotes are exceptionally important.

Try out the Imagine Careers new Talent Fit Tool - for free.

We’ve heard over and over again from companies that this application problem exists and is incredibly painful and time-consuming. That’s why we created our Talent Fit Tool, where we’ll match your applicants to your job and your company based on skill and workplace congruence.  Our goal is to save you countless hours and help you screen down to the right applicants fast and effectively.

Here’s all you need to do to take advantage of this offer:

Watch this short video and claim your company page:

Follow this URL to set up your company page:

Email and let us know the first two steps are complete.  We’ll unlock 50 free matches for you for one of your highest-priority jobs and help you get started.

Join our pilot customers, Matrix Solutions and Summa, and try out the future of applicant screening.

We know from experience that these three steps will help you eliminate a large number of unqualified applicants, letting you spend more time focusing on the ones that deserve your time and attention.

By Eric Harvey, ImagineCareers