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Picking the right candidate for the job: 13 tips for interviewers.

Forbes Human Resources Council

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As an interviewer, your role is like that of a gatekeeper. Your task is to ensure that any job candidate that makes it into the company deserves to be there. Unfortunately, no matter how many questions you ask potential employees during an interview, the image they present may be quite different from who they truly are.

So how can recruiters make sure that the person they bring into the company can handle their tasks and be a good fit with the rest of the team? Thirteen experts from Forbes Human Resources Council suggest a few guidelines interviewers can use to ensure they choose the most suitable candidate.

Members share their best strategies to help interviewers choose the right candidate.

1. Trust Your Instincts

Follow your instincts and use the interview to get to know the person. Too much structure for interviews doesn't allow for a personal connection and really getting to know someone. The way you do that is to make your interviews conversational and just talk with the candidate. Allow the conversation to unfold. - Diane Strohfus ,

2. Look At Talent And Cultural Fit

Work experience is nice, but talent and cultural fit are critical. How will this candidate relate with their supervisor and their team? How will they manage the expected work schedule and responsibilities? How well do they understand your customer base? Hiring practices should assess employee fit and job competency, and companies need to use their intuition and data analysis to make job decisions. - Courtney Pace, Ph.D. , FedEx Employees Credit Assoc.

3. Give Them A Relevant Task

You will not find a candidate who says, "I suck!" Nor will their references come out and say that. As a result, you have to be creative and dig deeper in your selection process. Our People and Culture team recommends a second interview where the prospective hire can showcase a requirement of the job they will perform. We had our People and Culture Extraordinare facilitate a presentation, and it paid off! - Tish McFadden , Maryland Oncology Hematology

4. Take The Candidate Out Of The Office

Meet them at a restaurant or coffee shop and see how the candidate acts in a less formal setting. Ask yourself if you enjoy spending time with this person and if you feel like they are making you better or smarter by being around them. Ask yourself if you would want to be led by them. This will tell you a lot more about the candidate. - Ben Martinez , Ramp Talent

5. Use Behavioral Assessments

Behavioral assessments are an easy and inexpensive way to give you greater certainty that the candidate will be successful in the role. Resumes and reference checks may provide information on the skill sets a candidate brings, but the softer side of the equation is often the reason people fail in new roles. - Sherrie Suski , Tricon American Homes

6. Look Past The Resume

Hiring teams get wrapped up in fancy resumes. Sometimes the best hire had the worst resume. Interviewers should ask questions and pay close attention to the answers. What has this candidate accomplished versus participated in? How do they approach work and collaboration with others? What role do they play on teams? Make offers to candidates that most closely fit the role and your organization. - Jennifer Marszalek , Working Credit NFP

7. Trust The Process  

Trust that the interview process, including panel interviews, reference checks and talent assessments, worked and provided enough data to triangulate and align on the "most right" candidate. Then, use those insights to create a plan to onboard the candidate and set her up for success from day one. A "good" candidate can become the "right" candidate through effective onboarding. - Jessica Delorenzo , Kimball Electronics Inc

8. Focus On The Future  

I know it sounds strange, but spend less time focusing on past accomplishments. Instead, concentrate the interview on reviewing with the candidate what needs to be achieved in the first year and what in their background they believe gives them the skills and confidence to accomplish the first year goals of the job. - Dustin Finer , Covetrus

9. Look For Signs Of An Open Mind

If no one stands out at the end of the interview process, take another look at the candidates' responses to questions that indicate how they would respond to changes and feedback. You always want to choose someone who is open-minded and willing to accept feedback over someone who is experienced but unwilling to admit they can make mistakes or learn new, better ways to do things. - Laura Spawn , Virtual Vocations, Inc.

10. Use Constraints To Reflect The Real World

Most interviewers are effective at asking behavioral questions. One opportunity is to use progressively difficult questions to evaluate the candidate. Start with a real-world problem, then introduce constraints like scale, dates, resources, budget or risks. It increases the evidence of the candidate's thought process and experience, hints at how your company works, and limits canned responses. - Karen Crone , Paycor, Inc.

11. Leverage Reference Checks

As with shopping for a new service, many people rely on reviews to inform their decision-making process. This method can offer value when shopping for new talent as well. References provide a unique perspective on the candidate's performance from a customer's point of view. This view is important because it focuses on the candidate's past results, which is a good predictor for future performance. - Dr. Timothy J. Giardino , BMC Software

12. Consider Employee Growth Needs

Finding the right someone for the team is just as important as ensuring they are happy once they are hired. So during the interview, make sure you take time to understand what they want out of the role. If they want to be promoted quickly or work cross-functionally and that's not in the cards, set expectations with the candidate and decide if it's a good use of both of your time before they join. - Jessica Adams , Brad's Deals

13. Increase Case Study Interviews

While "culture fit" and references may make you feel better about your new hire's compatibility with your team, unfortunately, they do not guarantee a high-performing employee. Case study interviews will provide you with a more realistic presentation of your new employee's level of expertise and the ability to communicate with various colleagues. - Erald Minga , Kellogg School of Management

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How to Make the Right Hiring Decision

How to Make the Right Hiring Decision

Having an open position to fill can be equal parts exciting and stressful for managers.

Hiring a new employee can be an opportunity to bring new energy to the team, but it can also bring turmoil if the wrong person is hired, said Mary Olson-Menzel, president and founder of MVP Executive Search and Development in New York City. Nearly 3 in 4 employers (74 percent) said they've hired the wrong person for a position, according to a CareerBuilder survey .

The best way to make the right hiring decision is to put in the time upfront thinking through the job description and common traits of successful team members as well as defining the company culture before the position is even advertised. It takes effort to find the right candidate. "You do have to talk with quite a few people to get that diamond," Olson-Menzel said. For an executive position, she typically will screen 200 resumes, have 40 phone conversations, narrow it down to 10 to 15 candidates and interview no more than eight applicants.

Here are some steps that can lead to the right candidate.

Review the Job Description

Before you even advertise an open position, make sure the job description is accurate. One of the biggest mistakes managers make is recycling an old job description and not taking into account how the department has changed and grown since it was written, Olson-Menzel said. Managers also need to consider the chemistry of the current team and think about the team's strengths and weaknesses. "Bring on someone who will help the team grow," she said.

Define what qualities made the last person to hold that job successful, said Lynne Curry, president of Communication Works Inc. in Anchorage, Alaska. Often it's not just technical skills that set an employee apart, but also soft skills like their temperament, their ability to work collaboratively and the way they handle conflict.

Carefully Consider Resumes

While many companies use an applicant tracking system, it's important to ensure that system is using the proper keywords to flag resumes. Work with HR to make sure you are getting the best results.

Create a list of criteria for the job and rate each resume based on those specific attributes. For instance, if one of the qualities that sets the incumbent employee apart is her ability to work across departments, make sure that skill is reflected in an applicant's resume before requesting an interview, Curry suggested.

Don't passively wait for people to apply for the position, Olson-Menzel said. Consider developing a list of target companies you would like to hire someone from. Look for companies with similar workplace cultures, or, if your company has already hired someone from another company who transitioned smoothly into the job and is excelling, consider reaching out to other employees at that company who might be a good fit.

Employee referrals are another good source of potential job candidates. "If you have another professional on the team who is knocking it out of the park, ask them if there is anyone else from their former company who might be interested in a new opportunity," Olson-Menzel said.

Winnow the List

Experts agree that it's best to limit the number of face-to-face interviews to no more than eight candidates. "You will wear yourself out scheduling 20 or more interviews and have all the candidates blur in your mind," Curry said.

Before scheduling a face-to-face interview, Curry will ask candidates to fill out a 10-question survey that asks why the applicant is looking for a new opportunity, what criteria he or she would use to decide between two positions, and other open-ended questions that can be answered in a sentence or two. "Asking them to fill out the questionnaire saves a lot of time," she said. "We can read their responses in five minutes and decide if this is the right candidate to interview."

Another way to prune the candidate list is to conduct a 10- to 20-minute phone interview with the best applicants, asking them to walk the interviewer through their resume. "Have the candidate start at the beginning of their career," Olson-Menzel said. "People like to start at the present and work backward, but that doesn't give you as much color around why they made a specific move or why they picked a specific company to work for."

Interview with Intention

Put together a list of strategic questions that cover characteristics important to the job—for example, leadership, initiative and collaboration—and then divide the questions up among the people who will be interviewing the candidate, Olson-Menzel said.

Make sure the applicant's responses square with the answers given during the phone interview. For instance, if an applicant claims he isn't affected by stress, but during a phone interview he said he was seeking a new job because of pressure from a manager, ask a follow-up question about the difference between stress and pressure, Curry said. "One answer alone doesn't rule someone out, but a series of bad answers might rule them out," she said.

Parse Out Two Equal Candidates

If two candidates seem equally qualified for the job, Olson-Menzel recommends checking their references. "Nine out of 10 times, a reference check will give you the nuances," Olson-Menzel said. If the applicants still seem equal, consider giving them a small project to work on with the team to evaluate how they would fit in, she said. Check with HR to make sure you do this appropriately.

Common Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

The most common mistake managers make is either trying to hire a candidate too quickly or taking too much time to make a decision, Olson-Menzel said. "At a certain point, the data and your intuition must come together to make an educated decision," she said. "Even if you need the position filled immediately, don't rush a hiring decision but also don't let it drag on."

If it's going to take time to get approval to make a hiring decision, be upfront about it with the applicant, said Heidi Parsont, CEO and founder of TorchLight Hire in Alexandria, Va. Candidates lose interest in positions when hiring managers don't share feedback or a timeline, she said.

Another pitfall is not being honest with the candidate about the position. If the candidate's salary requirement is $75,000 but the position only pays $50,000, or if the position doesn't offer a path for advancement, it's important to address that in the interview, Parsont said. "There's no need to address it in the first interview, but it needs to be discussed at some point," she said. "If you sugarcoat too much, you won't find a candidate who's going to stay."

Lisa Rabasca Roepe is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

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How Do Recruiters Find the Right Job Candidates?

Finding the right job candidates is becoming more and more difficult. Recruiter and other HR professionals that don't use innovative recruiting strategies are often unable to find job candidates that are suitable for their open positions. With all the changes and advances in HR technologies, there are many new solutions for some of the biggest recruiting challenges, and many are now implementing these new solutions to improve their hiring strategies and find job candidates easier and faster. 

How to find the right job candidates for your open positions?

how does resume help hr find right candidate

The Ultimate Guide for Finding Qualified Candidates in 2020

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Best Ways to Find the Right Candidates: Top 10 Job Search Tips

How many people responded to your last “help wanted” ad? According to Forbes, the average number of applicants applying for a job is around 118, give or take. That’s a lot of resumes to sort through during every job search, even if you use an automated system that helps you screen the least qualified applicants … Continued

how does resume help hr find right candidate

How many people responded to your last “help wanted” ad? According to Forbes , the average number of applicants applying for a job is around 118, give or take. That’s a lot of resumes to sort through during every job search, even if you use an automated system that helps you screen the least qualified applicants from the batch.

To make your search easier, we’ve put together this list of 10 tips to help you sort the diamonds from the quartz as you conduct your next job search. These tips apply to businesses searching for full time, part-time, or contract labor. If this is your first time hiring, you might want to check out this guide on what to do before hiring your first employee .

The costs of leaving positions unfilled is high, but turnover can be costly as well. If the cost of turnover is an average of 20 percent of an employee’s salary, and the average salary is $50,000, you’re looking at hiring mistakes costing you around $10,000. It pays to use these tips to find the right candidate for the job among the dozens of resumes arriving in your inbox.

10 Tips to Find Great Candidates

The following tips apply to many industries. They can be put into place as best practices for your company to help you find the best candidate from your job search.

1. Start with a Well-Written Position Description

It’s difficult to find the right candidate when you’re not entirely sure what talent, skills and experience you’re looking for to fill an open position. If your company doesn’t have job descriptions on file for all current positions, it’s time to write them. You can write your own position descriptions or work with a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) if you outsource your human resources work. Each job description should include the job title, education and experience requirements, job goals, reporting structure, expected tasks, measurement of job performance, and salary range. Once you have a robust job description, you can use it as a springboard to write the help wanted ad, listing the essential qualities and experience you need to fill the position. This can narrow down the resumes coming into your company to only those candidates with the right qualifications as well as help you sort through the resumes to find ones that meet the characteristics required.

2. Write a Specific Title and Description

You’re looking for someone to fill a specific role at your company. Be as specific as possible in your help wanted ad. If you need someone with 5 years of experience, say so. If you need someone with a specific degree, certification, or experience in the industry, make it clear. The clearer you are in your job post the easier it is for candidates to self-screen and apply only if qualified. The job description can be especially important when attracting employees, so make sure that’s as descriptive and specific as possible.

3. Fish in the Right Pond

Many companies post a quick ad to a major job search bullet board or website and expect great results. Think about where your potential candidates are likely to look for jobs. Higher-level candidates for executive positions aren’t scanning the big job boards that house thousands of resumes and posts for lower-level positions. Make sure you “fish in the right pond” or search for candidates among the pool most likely to have people that match your requirements. For many hires, though, the larger job boards can be a great way to reach a large base of active job-seekers.

4. Post on Industry-Specific Sites

Even when fishing in the right pond, you may still encounter big applicant pools. Consider posting ads on job or industry-specific niche sites. Professional organizations often run help wanted ads for very low cost or free of charge, and industry-specific sites tend to be frequented by people devoted to furthering their careers. These job sites can provide you with a small applicant pool of highly qualified people for your job search.

5. Social Networking Works

Especially among the younger generation, social networking is favored as a method of finding new jobs. Consider reaching out to your LinkedIn or other professional networks. Professional groups and similar social networking groups can also help you tap into a rich source of great job candidates. Facebook and Twitter can also be a good way to reach out to friends and people in your field who might not even be actively looking for a job yet.

6. Ask Screening Questions

Companies like Fit Small Business, ask candidates to answer three short questions during the application process to see if people are truly reading the help wanted ads or just spraying resumes out and seeing what hits. You’d be surprised at how many people fail to answer these questions. That’s an immediate red flag that people can’t follow directions or aren’t willing to take a small extra step to do the job right. Try asking a few questions, such as, “Why do you want to work at XYZ company?” or “What business blogs, websites or periodicals do you read regularly?” to see how on the ball candidates are. You’ll not only test their abilities to follow directions, you’ll get a glimpse into their professional skills, too.

7. Assess Their Interest

Sure they want the job. But just how much do they want it, and why? Assess candidate’s interest level in the job by asking pertinent questions. An open-ended question such as, “Do you have any questions for me?” can help you weed out the thoughtful job seekers from the “I’ll take any position at any cost” types who are apt to be unhappy in their work and are not a good match for your job search.

8. Request a Short, Paid Trial Assignment

Even with resumes, background checks and the like, it can be difficult to assess someone’s skills. Try a paid trial assignment. We say “paid” because when hiring freelancers, contractors or employees, asking for an unpaid test is unprofessional and many good candidates who value their time and talents will turn away from requests for free work. A short, paid assignment demonstrates your professionalism and interest in the candidate. It also enables the candidate to demonstrate their skills without a filter that can make their skills look better than they really are. Short tests at the end of the hiring process or job search are an easy way to find a winner among your shortlist of candidates.

9. Always End with an Interview

You may conduct your interview by videoconference or telephone or in-person for local candidates, but always end your job search with an interview. Narrow down your list to the top 5 to 10 candidates and schedule half-hour interviews with each. During the interview, non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expression and so on can provide you with a rich source of information to help you assess how well each candidate might fit in with your company, and how much they’re really interested in working with you. Make up a list of questions for the interview first, reviewing each question against this list of legal and illegal questions to ask during interviews. Focusing on job skills, education and experience is generally safe.

10. Watch How They Interact with Others

Before making your final hiring decision, ask the shortlist of candidates into your business to meet everyone. Watch how they interact with the team. Do you think they can get along together? Work well together? Ask team members later how they felt about each candidate. If you’re hiring someone at a distance and relying on phone interviews, ask your candidates if they’d mind spending 15 minutes on the phone with a few of your staff members. You can accomplish the same screening process over the phone as you can in person.

No matter what industry you’re in, finding the best candidate from dozens of resumes can be difficult. Take your time and use these tips to screen candidates to find your next superstar employee. The best person to work for you is out there. No go and find them!

Jeanne Grunert is an award-winning writer and marketing expert with over 20 years of experience. In 2007, Jeanne quit her marketing executive position at a large New York City area publisher, moved to Virginia, opened her own freelance writing and content marketing firm, and began growing a life instead of just making a living. She writes about business, marketing, home and garden topics for a variety of publications and websites.

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HR Blog & Resources

HR Blog & Resources

Kristina Martic

Nov 6, 2017

How Do Recruiters Find the Right Job Candidates?

Finding the right job candidates is becoming more and more difficult. Recruiter and other HR professionals that don’t use innovative recruiting strategies are often unable to find the right candidates for open positions. Here are some of the recruiting best practices.

How to find the right candidate for a job?

Having a well planned and developed recruiting and hiring strategies is the biggest prerequisite for finding the right job candidate. When putting together a strategy like this, it is important to understand that Talent Acquisition is a never-ending process.

This process has changed significantly since few years ago when it was enough to post a job on job boards and wait for candidates to apply. Today, it is more about building a strong Employer Branding strategy to attract high quality applicant for hard-to-fill roles.

Steps to find the right job candidates

1. Know your ideal candidate

If you don’t know who your ideal candidate or candidate persona is, you will not be able to find and attract them.

Defining a candidate persona is a multiple step process and involves planning, but it will make finding talent easier, faster and more efficient. Here’s our free guide for defining your candidate persona .

2. Engage your current employees

Use your current employees to understand why do they love working with you.

Involving your current employees can not only help you build a strong Employer Branding strategy, but it can also help your employees feel more engaged and important.

3. Write clear job descriptions

Writing a clear and detailed job description is important for finding and attracting candidates with a good fit. Don’t only list duties, responsibilities and requirements, but talk about your company’s culture and Employee Value Proposition .

To save time, here are our free job description templates .

4. Use a Recruitment Marketing tool

Finding the right job candidate is hard without the right tools. Solutions offered by recruitment marketing softwar e are various, and with them you can build innovative recruiting strategies such as Inbound Recruiting and Candidate Relationship Management to improve Candidate Experience and encourage Candidate Engagement.

5. Optimize your career site

Career site optimization is one of the first things you should do to make finding the right job candidates easier. Candidates that come to your career site are already showing interest in you, so don’t let them leave before applying.

Here’s our free guide for career site optimization .

6. Use a recruiting software with a powerful sourcing tool

Today, there are powerful sourcing tools that find and extract candidates profiles and add them directly to your talent pool.

Manual search takes a lot of time and effort, and is often very inefficient. With a powerful sourcing tool , you can make this process much faster and more productive.

7. Use an Applicant Tracking System

Solutions offered by applicant tracking systems are numerous, but their main purpose is to fasten, ease and streamline the selections and hiring processes.

If you can fasten your selection process, you can significantly improve Candidate Experience and increase your application and hire rate for hard-to-fill roles.

Did you know that top talent stay available on the market for only 10 days?

8. Implement and use employee referral programs

Referrals are proven to be best employees! Referrals can improve your time, cost and quality of hire , and make your hiring and recruiting strategy much more productive and efficient.

To start, use these referral email templates for recruiters , and start engaging your employees today!

If you don’t have ideas about how to reward good referrals, here’s our favorite list of ideas for employee referral rewards .

For more details about finding the right candidates, here is our 2018 guide for finding high-quality talent .

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5 Ways Recruiters Find Candidates

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Recruiters succeed where applicant tracking systems (ATS) fail. While ATS have the ability to store and sift through resumes based on desired skills, they alone cannot make final judgment calls about candidates. Because applicant tracking systems have flaws, thankfully, recruiters do not rely solely upon them for finding candidates.

Recruiters use a variety of sourcing techniques to find strong candidates for jobs. As a job seeker, you should always compare your resume against job descriptions when you apply to jobs online. But, understanding the other ways in which recruiters search for candidates can help you conduct a thorough job search beyond applying to advertised positions.

Types of recruiters

There are two primary types of recruiters: agency or internal. Both types of recruiters fulfill staffing needs but who they staff for is different. Agency recruiters work at staffing firms that specialize in finding candidates within a specific industry. While they usually specialize in an industry like marketing or technology, they recruit for multiple, if not dozens of companies within that given field. Internal recruiters work for only one company, providing hiring support for a variety of open roles within their company.

Agency recruiters often focus on depth, i.e. finding Java developers if they work for a technical staffing firm, while internal recruiters focus on breadth, i.e. finding both a sales manager and a public relations specialist for their company. Most companies utilize a combination of internal and agency recruiters for any given role.

Whether they work for an agency or a company, most recruiters use a combination of these techniques to find candidates:

1. Job boards and career sites

Recruiters often rely upon sites such as Career Builder, Monster, Dice, and Indeed to find candidates who aren’t in their internal applicant tracking system. Unlike a company ATS, which only contains the resumes of candidates who have applied to jobs at their company, job board and career site databases contain millions of resumes that span different industries, experience levels, and geographical locations. They are a gold mine for recruiters trying to find the perfect candidate for a role.

Large career sites such as Career Builder facilitate a passive approach to landing jobs by asking you, the user, to upload your resume into their database. Resumes stored into their database are then available to recruiters and companies who pay for access to search their bank of resumes.

Uploading your resume to career boards is particularly good if you’re a candidate who prefers a passive job search. If you’re in no rush to leave your current role but would move companies for the right opportunity, this is way to keep that possibility open. Having your resume in these databases means recruiters can find you if there’s an opportunity that might be a good match for your qualifications. Take the time to craft an outstanding resume that recruiters won’t pass up once they’ve got it in their hands.

On these job boards, your resume will likely be searched with a Boolean or string search, meaning a combination of keywords and phrases in a search will result in your resume coming to the top of the pile. It’s important to tailor your resume to your desired job title before hosting it on a job board so your matches are accurate and you’re being seen in the system.

2. LinkedIn

One of the most popular recruiting tools these days is LinkedIn because of its ease of use. LinkedIn makes it easy for recruiters, who usually have a Recruiter account, to search for candidates based on their work history, job title, or college. One of the primary advantages for recruiters is finding qualified candidates on LinkedIn who would be otherwise impossible to locate because they aren’t actively looking for jobs. Same goes here as job boards: make sure your LinkedIn profile accurately represents what you’re looking for, so that you’re showing up in recruiter searches .

Update your LinkedIn profile regularly, providing a detailed account of your work history and professional accomplishments . Even if you are happily employed, LinkedIn is a priceless tool for future job hunts and a great way to stay in touch with your professional network—and there’s always a chance that a recruiter will contact you about an opportunity you wouldn’t have otherwise heard about.

If you’re an active job seeker, join—and participate in—relevant LinkedIn groups. To start, look for groups related to your industry, alma mater, or geographic area. Bulk up your profile by taking steps such as adding your volunteer work or attaching work samples. Network with professionals in your field and search for recruiters that staff for positions in your industry. Be proactive and let them know you’re open to hearing from potential recruiters.

3. Applicant tracking systems

At some point in their search, most recruiters will run keyword searches to find candidates in their applicant tracking system (ATS). ATS parse resumes submitted online and store the information in their database. When a recruiter has an open role, they can easily run keyword searches in the ATS and it will populate and rank a list of candidates whose resumes contain those keywords.

The best way to rank highly in applicant tracking systems is to make sure the content of your resume closely matches the job description. To see how well your resume is aligned with a job, try the resume analysis tool from Jobscan . By optimizing your resume keywords the first time you submit your resume to a company, you should come up as a candidate for future opportunities that also closely match your skill set.

4. Networking events

While technology has made it easier to both find jobs and find candidates, it hasn’t replaced the value of face-to-face networking. Job fairs , conferences, meet-ups, and other industry networking events are still the best way to make connections, for both recruiters and candidates. Specific industry or event-related networking opportunities are always best, recruiters are everywhere and impressing them with industry know-how before you mention you’re on the hunt makes a lasting impression.

Recruiters attend these types of events to:

Active job seekers should attend these events to make as many connections as possible with recruiters and professionals in their industry. Bring plenty of business cards and copies of your networking resume , but remember to play it cool and don’t act like you’re looking to take advantage. Networking is all about the relationship.

After networking events, follow up with the contacts you made while they still have you fresh in their memory. For non-active job seekers, attend one or two industry events a year just to stay abreast of new developments in your field and expand your professional network. Those contacts may come in handy at a future time when you are looking for new opportunities.

5. Employee referrals

Recruiters love working with candidates referred to them by internal employees at their company, or candidates they’ve previously placed. Referrals tend to be strong candidates because they’re reliable enough to that someone is willing to vouch for them. In order to attract more referral candidates, many companies offer a monetary incentive for their employees to recommend people from their network for open roles. Recruiters can save a lot of time hunting down candidates when they get referrals passed along to them.

The moral of the story for job seekers is that it’s not only what you know, but who you know. Tell your family and friends when you are looking for new opportunities in case they hear of anything. Personal connections make a huge difference when you are looking for a job. 80 percent of open positions are never even advertised , according to Forbes . Instead of just tapping into the 20 percent of jobs that anyone can apply for online, tap into your network and ask if everyone you know if they can refer you to a hiring manager or recruiter at their company. Truly, ask everyone – just do it politely. Research has shown that acquaintances—whose social and professional circles don’t have as much overlap with yours as those of your close friends and family—are more likely to connect people to new jobs.

Recruiting is really like sales, recruiters are selling you the position and selling candidates to the Hiring Managers. Most recruiters, regardless of whether they work internally for a company or at an agency, will engage in multiple sourcing techniques so they can find the best possible candidates to sell upwards. Understanding how recruiters find candidates can help you, as a job seeker, speed up the process and probability of finding an opportunity you love.

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Resume Screening:

A how-to guide for recruiters.

Resume screening is still the most time-consuming part of recruiting: screening resumes is estimated to take up to 23 hours for just one hire.

When a job opening receives 250 resumes on average and 75% to 88% of them are unqualified, it’s no wonder the majority of talent acquisition leaders still find the hardest part of recruitment is screening the right candidates from a large applicant pool.

52% of recruiters say the hardest part of recruiting is resume screening

Compounding the problem, a recent survey of talent acquisition leaders found that 56% will increase their hiring volume next year, but 66% of recruiting teams will either stay the same size or shrink.

In 2019, “doing more with less” will depend on a recruiter’s ability to figure out how and where to effectively automate their workflow.

Advances in recruitment technology have added automation to candidate sourcing with recruitment marketing and to candidate interviewing with video interviews. However, technological innovations to address the biggest pain point in recruiting—screening resumes—has been frustratingly absent until recently.

The time spent on screening resumes often takes up the largest portion of time-to-fill. With today’s competitive candidate-driven talent market, top talent only stays on the market for 10 days on average.

To help you solve the biggest bottleneck in recruiting, we created this how-to guide on resume screening and how technology is changing how recruiters screen candidates.

how does resume help hr find right candidate

A How-To Guide For Recruiters – Table of Contents

What is resume screening?

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Resume screening is  the process of determining whether a candidate is qualified for a role based his or her education, experience, and other information captured on their resume .

In a nutshell, it’s a form of pattern matching between a job’s requirements and the qualifications of a candidate based on their resume.

The goal of screening resumes is to decide whether to move a candidate forward – usually onto an interview – or to reject them.

How to screen resumes

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Screening resumes usually involves a three-step process based on the role’s minimum and preferred qualifications. Both types of qualifications should be related to on-the-job performance and are ideally captured in the job description.

These qualifications can include:

Step 1: Screening resumes based on minimum qualifications

Minimum qualifications are the mandatory qualifications that a candidate must meet to be able to do the job. A simple example of a minimum qualification is whether the candidate is legally able to work in the country.

These types of qualifications are often considered knockouts because either the candidate has it and can move forward or they don’t and gets screened out of the process.

Candidates that meet the minimum qualifications move onto the second step of screening resumes.

Step 2: Screening resumes based on preferred qualifications

Preferred qualifications are non-mandatory characteristics that would make someone a stronger candidate for the job. A common example of a preferred qualification is whether the candidate has prior related work experience.

These types of qualifications are often called  nice-to-haves and are generally more qualitative than minimum qualifications (e.g. strong communication skills).

Candidates that meet both the minimum and preferred qualifications move onto the shortlisting step of resume screening.

Step 3: Shortlisting candidates based on minimum and preferred qualifications

Deciding which candidates gets shortlisted for the interview phase depends on your recruiting needs.

For high volume recruitment, generally all candidates that meet the minimum qualifications move forward to the interview process. For low volume recruitment, generally only the top few candidates that meet both the minimum and preferred qualifications receive an interview.

You can determine how many candidates you should shortlist using your recruitment conversion rates.

Based on recruiting data, the average recruitment conversion rates are:

That means for every 100 candidates you screen, you need to shortlist 12 of them to interview, two of them will receive an offer, and one candidate will accept to result in one successful hire.

The important thing to remember is that your screening process is applied consistently and objectively across all resumes.

how does resume help hr find right candidate

The challenges recruiters face while screening resumes

how does resume help hr find right candidate

According to a recent survey of talent acquisition leaders, the most important recruiting KPI is quality of hire followed by time to fill.

Both quality of hire and time to fill are influenced by your resume screening process.

The biggest challenge of screening resumes by far is volume.

The number of resumes received is one of the biggest factors that increases time to fill. An average job opening receives 250 resumes and up to 88% of them are considered unqualified. This means a recruiter can spend up to 23 hours screening resumes for a single hire.

The usual solution for the volume problem is using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a must-have software for recruitment and talent acquisition departments, because it organizes all the resumes received for each role.

An ATS usually allows for some measure of automating resume screening through keyword matches or knockout questions.

However, an ATS has some well known weaknesses.

For example, an ATS can screen  in  a candidate as a false positive based on keyword stuffing or screen  out  a candidate as a false negative because he or she doesn’t meet the keyword filters but has strong qualifications otherwise.

Quality of hire

60% of talent acquisition leaders’ top recruiting KPI is quality of hire:

While an ATS may be effective for reducing resume volume, traditional ATS software isn’t designed to measure quality of hire. Because an ATS doesn’t have a way to learn which candidates who went on to become successful and unsuccessful employees, it can’t improve its screening function.

An ATS’s limited functionality means recruiters need different software tools help them achieve their most important KPIs including quality of hire.

Tech innovations in resume screening

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Designed to meet the needs of recruiters that current technology can’t solve, a new class of recruiting technology called  AI for recruitment  has arrived.

AI for recruiting is an emerging category of HR technology designed to reduce — or even remove — time-consuming, administrative activities like manually screening resumes.

The best AI software is designed to integrate seamlessly with your current recruiting stack so it doesn’t disrupt your workflow nor the candidate workflow.

Industry experts predict this type of automation technology will transform the recruiting function.

Any area of recruiting where distinct inputs and outputs occur – like screening, sourcing and assessments – will largely become automated.

-Katrina Kibben, Randstad

Ai software that screens resumes.

This type of software is designed to integrate with an ATS to automate the resume screening process. This is a prime example of how AI is changing the recruiter role by automating a time-consuming, repetitive task that most recruiters feel is a waste of their time and talent.

Screening software that uses AI learns the job qualifications based on its description and learns what good candidates look like based on your historical hiring decisions.

The AI analyzes your existing resume database to learn which candidates moved on to become successful and unsuccessful employees based on their performance and tenure.

The software then applies the knowledge it learned about employees’ experience, skills, and other qualifications to automatically screen, rank, and grade new candidates from  A  to  D  or  Red, Yellow,  and  Green .

AI screening software  can also enrich candidates’ resumes by using public data sources about their prior employers as well as their public social media profiles.

Automation helps solve the two major challenges recruiters experience with resume screening: volume and quality of hire.

AI for resume screening can handle massive volumes of data. In fact, AI requires a lot of data in order to make accurate recommendations about which candidates to move forward to the next stage.

This means AI screening software is most valuable for high volume recruitment such as retail sales or customer service roles.

The time you save screening resumes can be used in more valuable ways, whether it’s sourcing, engaging, or interviewing candidates to help determine how well they’ll fit in the job and company culture.

Automated resume screening increases quality of hire by reducing false positives because candidates can’t trick the ATS through keyword stuffing. It also reduces false negatives because candidates with good qualifications no longer slip through the keyword filters.

AI screening software learns how to predict quality of hire because it’s able to analyze your historical hiring decisions as well as learn from your current hiring decisions.

Companies that have adopted AI software in their recruiting have seen their performance increase by 20% and their turnover decrease by 35%.

benefits of using ai for resume screening

A summary of resume screening

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Be sure to bookmark this post to answer all of your screening questions!

Looking for an effective recruiting solution? Try our resume screening software!

Want to Learn More?

Here are our top tools and resources for screening resumes:, what to look for in a resume when screening candidates.

When a job posting for a role receives more than 250 applicants, it’s essential to know what to look for in a resume to find qualified candidates.

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human resources job screening process

All About the Human Resources Job Screening Process

Reading time: about 8 min

Posted by: Lucid Content Team

Of the many responsibilities you have as a human resources professional, your most important job might be to find people who will be the right fit for your organization.

In the old days (the ’90s), you used to advertise an open position and sit back and wait for the printed resumes to come in. Then you had to look through each one to identify which candidates had the qualifications that met your requirements. Technological advances have made resume screening much easier today. You no longer have to slog through a mountain of printed applications and resumes—now you have computers to do that for you.

Still, you need to have a solid screening process in place in order to find the best people. In this article, we will discuss the steps in the screening process, offer some example HR screening interview questions, and tell you how Lucidchart can help you streamline the entire process.

What is the screening process?

Alternate definitions of the term “screening,” such as “material separated from another material by means of a screen” or “metal or plastic mesh (as for window screens),” are applicable to the process you use to find the right candidate for the right job. You are going to draw from a pool of candidates and apply screens to compile a short list of suitable, qualified candidates.

Following are some steps you may want to use to develop your own hiring screening process. As you develop your process, consider creating a flowchart to document it from beginning to end with Lucidchart.

recruitment process flowchart

Step 1: Create a job description

If it is not your job to write the job description, it is still a good idea that you work with the hiring manager to compile a list of keywords that will qualify a candidate for a job. For example, include the type of college degree required or specific skills needed to do the job.

Also, be sure to clearly define the job responsibilities of the open position so you can find matches with applicants’ previous experience.

Step 2: Post the job opening announcement   

After the job description is written and approved by the hiring manager or anybody else who need to approve them, post it to your favorite job board.

Step 3: Complete initial resume screening

You should add the list of keywords you created in step one to your resume scanning software. As soon as the applications start coming in, you can have the software scan for those specific keywords as a quick way to find candidates who meet the minimum requirements.

After you have a group of applicants who meet the minimum requirements, use keywords from the job description to sort the candidates in terms of suitability for the role.

For example, suppose you are looking for a technical writer. The keyword “technical writer” would meet the minimum requirement. But if the job description indicates that experience with MadCap Flare is preferred but not a requirement, then candidates who have that experience may be more suitable for the role.

Step 4: Check for keyword context

Many of your applicants know that by adding a lot of the keywords from the job description to their resumes, they are more likely to rise to the top of the initial resume screening. Now that you have a smaller set of candidates, you need to read their resumes to make sure that the keywords they use match up with previous experience.

If the resumes pass to this kind of scrutiny, they may be ready for the next step in the process.

Step 5: Social media search

Many companies search for candidate profiles on social media as part of the screening process. Social media can give you an idea of a person’s character and professionalism.

If your candidates rise to the top through these steps in the screening process, they can move on to the phone screen.

What is a phone screen?

The phone screen or phone interview is typically the first interaction you have with a job candidate. You may want to conduct a phone screen to talk to candidates who live very far away or to get a better idea of the candidate’s interest in the job. The goal is to create a short list of suitable candidates who will be invited to take the next step in the interview process—the face-to-face interview.

Phone screening is not meant to be a long, in-depth interview. Instead, you want to quickly assess the candidate’s qualifications, work history, and applicable skills. You can usually accomplish this in 30 minutes or less.

How to conduct a phone screen

In a phone interview, you are flying blind. There is no face-to-face meeting and no opportunity to read body language. You have to rely on the questions you ask and the candidate’s answers to make your decisions.

Before you begin the interview, you want to be sure you know which questions to ask. You also want to make sure you understand what the hiring manager is looking for. Be sure to consult with the people who are going to be involved in the interviewing and hiring process. You want to know what their expectations are so you don’t end up wasting your time and the candidate’s time.

Here are some common HR screening interview questions that may want to ask during a phone screening.

“Tell me about yourself.”

While this is not exactly a question, it does come up very often in phone interviews. Candidates can sometimes misunderstand what you want to hear and may start sharing information about hobbies and activities that you don’t care about. Consider rephrasing the question to ask more specifically about the information you want candidates to share. For example, if you want them to highlight previous work experience, say “Tell me about your previous employment.”

“Why are you interested in this position?”

With this question, you want to know how well the candidate’s skills, experience, and goals match the job description and your company. If candidates answer “Because I need a job” or “Your job listing matched my keyword search,” you can probably move on to the next candidate.

“How did you find out about this job?”

This question is not designed to screen out potential candidates, so why would you ask it? Generally, you want to know if the money you are spending on job boards to advertise job openings is being well spent or if they know anybody in the organization. If a colleague told them about the opening, you can go to that person to get useful information about the candidate.

“What do you know about our company?”

You don’t want to hire somebody who is simply applying for every open job in the hopes that something will land. Some interviewers make the mistake of starting the interview by giving the candidate a complete history of the company before ever asking the first question. This question gives the candidate an opportunity to explain how their experience and skills will fit in with your company. A candidate usually wants to answer this question so they can show you that they understand your product, industry, or technology. They want this opportunity to tell you that they would be a good fit.

“What were your responsibilities in your most recent job?”

This is a good way to find out if the candidate’s job experience would be relevant to the opening in your company. Do their past responsibilities and accomplishments align with the job description?

“What are your salary expectations?”

This can be a very awkward question to ask and to answer. If the candidate asks for too much, it can put them out of consideration. If the candidate asks too little, it could hurt their negotiating power later, and they may end up unhappy because they don’t feel like they are being paid what they are worth. Still, you want to get an idea of what they are expecting. This is another way to ensure that you are not wasting each other’s time.

“What questions do you have for me?”

You do not want to hire somebody who is simply looking to work for the first company that is willing to hire them. You want the candidate to ask questions about the job duties, the team they would be working with, corporate culture, employee satisfaction, and so on. These types of questions let you know that the candidate is being careful and is truly trying to find a good fit.

“When can you start?”

Be careful when asking this question because it’s possible that the candidate will believe that they are closer to getting the job than they really are. What you really want to know is, if they are currently employed, how soon they will be available. If they are not employed, that is also good information that can help you as you schedule follow-up and in-person interviews.

screening candidates flowchart

How can Lucidchart help you standardize your recruiting process?

Lucidchart has templates that you can use to help you create flowcharts, conversation trees, or any other kind of document that can help you clearly define your hiring process. Because Lucidchart documents are web-based and can be accessed from anywhere, you can easily collaborate in real time with everybody who has a stake in the hiring process.

A business is only as good as its employees. Make sure you choose the right ones by following these guidelines and building out your hiring process in Lucidchart.

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Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.

The most popular online Visio alternative , Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.

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How to source candidates: An FAQ guide

Christina Pavlou

Christina Pavlou


how does resume help hr find right candidate

Good candidate sourcing helps companies proactively find and hire qualified people. Here, we answer frequently asked questions about candidate sourcing to help you build strategies to attract active and passive candidates.

What is sourcing?

What is the difference between sourcing and recruiting, how does sourcing affect recruiting, what is a sourcing specialist, what is social sourcing, what are some of the most effective social sourcing tools, what are the most effective platforms for social sourcing, what is boolean search, what are the best methods for sourcing candidates, what is a passive candidate, what are the best approaches for sourcing passive candidates, how much time should i spend on sourcing, should i ask a passive candidate for a resume before a phone screen, how can i make sourcing/recruiting a priority for hiring managers, how do i source entry-level candidates, how do i source executive-level candidates, how do i budget my sourcing.

Candidate sourcing is the proactive search for potential hires to fill current and future job openings. To source candidates, recruiters:

Sourcing refers to the process of searching for, identifying and contacting potential candidates. Recruiting kicks in after sourcing, and includes the HR processes of screening, interviewing and evaluating applicants.

In some HR departments, recruiters handle sourcing as the first step of the recruiting process. In others, professionals known as sourcers are responsible for finding qualified candidates and are not involved in other phases of the recruitment cycle .

Both recruiting and sourcing fall under the umbrella of HR. For more on the differences between HR disciplines, read our FAQ here .

Sourcing is an integral part of a company’s recruiting strategy. Recruiters who source candidates:

Source and attract more candidates

Workable helps you build and promote your brand where your next candidates are. You’re always top of mind, whether they’re actively looking or not.

Start sourcing

Sourcing Specialists , also known as Sourcers, are HR professionals who identify and engage potential candidates for current and future hiring needs.

Sourcing Specialists:

Social sourcing is the practice of using social networks (e.g. LinkedIn , Facebook and Twitter ) to identify, attract and contact potential candidates.

Sourcers use social media to:

Social sourcing tools help sourcing specialists and recruiters narrow their search and identify qualified candidates quicker. Here are some social media tools and platforms that will streamline your sourcing:

( To source  EU ca ndidates, please refer to this guidance on using social media for recruiting under the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. )

While not specifically sourcing tools, these websites can help you find specific kinds of candidates:

The most effective platforms for social sourcing are LinkedIn , Facebook , Twitter and Instagram . If you want to expand your sourcing efforts to non-traditional channels, consider the following social platforms:

( To source  EU candidates, please refer to this guidance on using social media for recruiting under the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. )

Boolean search is a type of search that combines desired keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to produce relevant results. It’s based on George Boole’s mathematical theory in which all variables are either true or false. You can run Boolean searches on many search engines, including Google.

Recruiters customize Boolean searches to scour the web for relevant profiles of niche candidates. Here’s a basic breakdown of how to use Boolean operators:

Here’s an example Boolean search string to look for UI Designers with experience in Illustrator or Sketch:

(intitle:resume OR intitle:cv) “UI designer” (Illustrator OR Sketch) -job -jobs -sample -examples

Skip Boolean searches and jump straight to the results. People Search from Workable is the fastest, most effective way to find email addresses, resumes, social and professional profiles.

Use a combination of online and offline methods to source candidates effectively. Here are the best ways to source qualified candidates for your open roles:

( To source  EU candidates on social media, please refer to this guidance  to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. )

A passive candidate is a common recruitment term to describe people who are:

Most of the employed workforce is interested in learning about a new job opportunity, so it’s worthwhile to source passive candidates .

Passive candidates refer to people who aren’t actively looking for a new job opportunity. Since they don’t apply through your regular recruiting process, you will have to grab their attention. Here’s how:

Personalize your communication

Each sourcing email you send should contain information specific to your recipient. For example, include a professional achievement of theirs that caught your eye:

Or, briefly explain how their skillset aligns with your business goals:

Network before you need to

People are more likely to respond to your emails or calls if you have met them in-person. Invest some time to build relationships with potential candidates before you need them. For example:

Tap mutual connections

People who aren’t actively looking for a new job are more likely to consider one if they hear about it from a friend. Consider asking your employees to refer their friends . Here are some steps to get you started:

As a rule of thumb, spend at least 30 minutes per week sourcing passive candidates and building your talent pipelines. During that time, browse social networks, engage with people online and craft sourcing emails to potential candidates .

Adjust your sourcing time based on the positions you’re recruiting for and your familiarity with each position. For example, it will take longer to identify and hire qualified candidates for hard-to-fill roles . Likewise, if you’re hiring for a new position, give yourself some time to research the skills required for the role and the best places to look for qualified people.

No. First, contact passive candidates to introduce yourself and inform them about the job opening. Once they’ve expressed interest in the position, ask for a resume to share with your client or hiring manager.

Asking for a resume right away sets off red flags because it:

Also, for some roles, resumes aren’t the most important qualification criterion. For example, if you want to hire a designer , a portfolio of their previous work will tell you more about their skills than a resume will.

A rule of thumb: Always gather as much information about potential candidates as possible before contacting them. You can find resumes and other social profile information with targeted Boolean searches on LinkedIn and on resume databases.

Recruiters and hiring managers are partners in the hiring process. Often, when there’s an open role, managers give recruiters their requirements and expect a shortlist of qualified candidates in return.

Here’s how to make sourcing and recruiting a priority for hiring managers :

Here’s how to hone your search to source entry-level employees :

Sourcing executive-level candidates means looking for potential hires who are both experts in their field and have solid leadership skills .

Here’s how to refine your sourcing techniques to find candidates for senior and executive-level roles:

Well-budgeted sourcing drives an effective recruitment process. Here’s a guide on how to budget your sourcing:

Step 1: Calculate your hiring needs and turnover rates

First, determine how many positions you need to hire for each year (due to either new openings or separations). This will give you an overview of your sourcing needs and costs. For example, if you don’t plan to hire new employees next year and you have high retention rates , you might want to reduce your sourcing budget for that year.

To calculate your hiring needs and turnover rates:

Step 2: Calculate your basic sourcing costs

Basic sourcing costs include:

Step 3: Estimate your fixed costs

Your fixed costs category can include:

Step 4: Estimate your recruiting technology costs

This includes software fees for recruiting tools (monthly or annually). For example:

Step 5: Include miscellaneous costs

Other costs or one-time expenses in your sourcing budget include:

For an even deeper dive into how to source candidates, download our detailed candidate sourcing ebook . 

Frequently asked questions

What does it mean to source candidates.

Sourcing is the proactive searching for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates.

What is sourcing vs. recruiting?

Sourcing is searching for and talking to potential candidates about an open or future role. Recruiting is reviewing candidates and hiring the best talent to fill a specific position.

What is the source of the application?

Application sources are tracked to reflect how an applicant applies for a requisition via referral, job board, Career Center, career site, the Candidate Bank, or manually added. An application source is automatically applied based on how the applicant enters the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Having trouble finding the right candidates?

Use AI Recruiter technology to find top talent, and easily post to more than 200 job sites with one click.

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❓ Where can I go to get help with my resume?

Where can I go to get help with my resume?

If you need help with resume writing, look no further than CraftResumes. Our website and business have years of experience crafting exceptional documents for those seeking employment. This is certainly the best place when looking at where to get resume help. We employ a myriad of talented individuals who have in-depth knowledge of employment literature. Furthermore, we offer a streamlined service that anyone can use – from submitting details to making payments and receiving your resume; the whole process is straightforward and easy to follow. In addition to this, our website looks fantastic but is functional too. You can easily navigate through the different sections and order your paper in no time at all.

❓ How will a resume help you during the job interview?

How will a resume help you during the job interview?

Resume building help is important so that you can excel during an interview. Interviewers often use a resume during the interview process. Firstly, it can be used as a talking point. The interviewer could ask questions relating to the document. Furthermore, they could ask the applicant to expand upon different points in their paper. Secondly, applicants could also use a document such as this to draw inspiration from and to use as a cue card if they become nervous during the interview. It is often common practice to take a copy of this document into the interview. Whilst it is not advisable to continually look at the document, you could use it as a safety net. Furthermore, taking a resume into the interview also shows that you are prepared and have put thought into the process. This is why gaining help writing resume documents is so important. To get help making a resume can ensure that you are prepared for the interview. Moreover, it can help during the interview and give both you and the interviewer material to discuss. Often people think that a document like this is only useful for the initial application stages – as we have seen, this is not the case.

❓ Help on how to type a resume?

Help on how to type a resume?

Gaining help on resume building is simple when you use a service such as You can either pay for a professional to write your document or obtain help on the processes involved with writing a resume. CraftResumes have a talented team of writers and designers who can quickly and effectively help produce your document. Designers concentrate on the formatting and appearance of your document – they will edit it in such a way so that it looks professional, but also has an impact. This can improve the initial reaction when an HR employee is searching through resumes. Hiring managers and writers can then ensure that your paper has the correct information. We look at your personal details and the jobs you wish to apply for. From this, we craft a personalized, detailed, and high-quality paper that you can use in any number of situations. If you are looking for help on how to type a resume, CraftResumes is certainly the number one website to use. We know exactly what should be included in this type of document and have years of experience crafting exceptional resumes for successful candidates.

❓ How does resume help hr find right candidate?

How does resume help hr find right candidate?

HR departments deal with recruitment and other personnel-related issues within a business. When recruiting for a new role within a business, the HR team must work efficiently. They must ensure that they select the right candidate. Furthermore, they must work effectively and ensure the role is filled quickly and with minimal cost to the business. Therefore, resumes are highly important. Consider this – HR may have hundreds of applications to sort through, how can they quickly remove unsuitable candidates? By looking at resumes! (Or lack of). HR staff can quickly glance at a resume and instantly understand if the candidate is suitable for the role. Resumes can make a huge difference and are a useful tool to quickly reduce application numbers. For example, let’s say you had 5 applicants. 3 had created a high-quality text that showed their suitability for the role. The other two had created generic papers with minimal effort. The HR staff could rule out those two candidates immediately and concentrate on the three who had excellent papers. Essentially, a text like this could mean the difference between getting an interview or being disregarded immediately. HR staff may also use resumes during an interview as a reference document, or to draw questions from.

Here’s How to Write Your Own Resume as an HR Professional (Plus an Example!)

Hot jobs on the muse.

person sitting at desk in home office, typing on laptop

Human resources (HR) is a broad field, encompassing HR generalists as well as many sub-areas including recruiting (also known as talent acquisition), benefits administration, talent management, learning and development, and more. If you’re an HR professional, especially if you work in recruiting, you’ve probably reviewed hundreds or even thousands of resumes. But when it comes to creating a solid resume of your own, it can be just as hard as it would be for a hairdresser to cut their own hair. (And if you’re still looking for open positions to apply to, you can search for HR jobs right here on The Muse .)

Here are some tips to help you write an outstanding resume as an HR professional.

Tailor Your Resume to the Job: Keywords

Make your resume shine: achievements, look the part: resume layout and design, check and double-check your resume, put it all together: resume example.

As you may know if you already work in HR, tailoring your resume to the particular job you’re applying for can make it easier for the reader to see why you’re the right hire. So scrutinize each job description to find out what achievements, skills, and qualifications are most important—and tweak your resume accordingly.

You can highlight your most relevant achievements for each job by moving the bullet points that describe those achievements further up within each experience entry, highlighting key skills in a summary section, and repeating key terms in different sections of your resume (for instance, mentioning names of important software in a bullet point describing your work achievements and repeating them in your “Skills” section).

If you’re an experienced HR pro, you’re likely aware that many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to keep track of resumes from job applicants. These systems allow a recruiter to quickly search resumes for keywords, which typically include acronyms, proper nouns, or phrases from the job description. Therefore, it’s always important to look for these key terms in every job posting and work them naturally into your resume.

You should always default to the keywords you find in a given job posting (and use the same phrasing and language that the company does). But here are some keywords for different types of jobs within HR to get you started; some of the most common terms are listed first, followed by acronyms referring to laws or regulations, key software, and certifications toward the end of each list.

HR Generalist Keywords

Recruiter Keywords

Benefits and Compensation Keywords

Employee and Labor Relations Keywords

Training and Development/Organizational Development Keywords

The bullet points describing your past experiences have the most potential to show prospective employers who you are as a professional. Framing your bullet points as achievements is essential for a strong resume. Include metrics or examples that illustrate how you contributed to your organization, prevented risk, improved efficiency, or took initiative to solve a problem. Whenever possible, you should quantify your accomplishments, or measure them using numbers, percentages, or dollar amounts. 

In HR it can be hard to quantify your success, but as you think about your achievements look for opportunities to attach metrics to what you’ve done. One way to think about your achievements could be: What did you do that prevented a problem? Another is: What would go wrong if you did a bad job? How can you measure that what you did was better than what was done before or what was done on average?

Once you’ve answered those questions, put it all together. A common formula for a strong bullet point is to start with a strong action verb , then add a description of your work or process, and then end with the outcome or achievement, adding numbers whenever possible so readers can see the scale of your accomplishments.

Here are some ways to frame HR-related achievements as bullet points in the experience section of your resume:

HR Generalist Achievements

Recruiter Achievements

Benefits and Compensation Achievements

Employee and Labor Relations Achievements

Training and Development/Organizational Development A chievements

Many resume layout and design tips apply just as much for HR resumes as for candidate resumes in any field. So you’re likely familiar with some or all of the below, but if you’d like a refresher or you’re just entering the workforce, these tips can ensure your resume looks the part.

HR Resume Format and Sections

In addition to writing powerful achievement-focused bullet points and using the right keywords, you might wonder about where to place content within your resume and what sections to include.

Most job applicants should use a reverse chronological resume, which lists your work experiences, academic degrees, and other qualifications in order from most recent to furthest back in time. This type of resume is the most common version used in most industries (including HR) and is helpful for documenting your career growth and progression. If you’re changing careers or returning to paid employment after a career break, you may want to consider a combination , or hybrid, resume format (which helps emphasize your skills in addition to your work experience and dates of employment).

Whether you choose a chronological or hybrid resume, the sections typically included in an HR resume are:

There are also optional sections that may show you’re the right candidate for a given job such as:

Resume Design and Formatting

A resume should be easy to read, which means the document itself needs to be well formatted and limited to one or two pages . Many jobs in HR require attention to detail, so it’s especially important for an HR resume to use consistent formatting and design. For instance, be sure that:

It’s also important that your resume is easily scannable by an ATS, which can have trouble with columns, overly fancy designs, text boxes, or graphics. So keep it simple and clean and only use formatting elements like bold, underline, italics, and color to emphasize different parts of the text.

Once you’ve designed an easy-to-read, keyword-rich, achievement-focused resume, it’s time to edit and proofread the document. Don’t rely on a spellchecker alone. Read the document from the top to the bottom, then read it backward from bottom to top. Ask a friend to read it; bring it to a career coach; show it to people in your network and ask for their unvarnished feedback.

Make sure to quadruple check items which are the most crucial—your phone number and email address—and be sure you check your voicemail and email (and spam folder) constantly when you are actively job seeking.

Below is an example of an HR generalist resume. This resume is designed for a mid-career HR generalist or HR business partner and highlights key skills relevant to those kinds of roles.

how does resume help hr find right candidate

Download example human resources resume

With the right achievement-focused bullet points, keywords, design, and structure, your HR resume can be a powerful tool in landing you more job interviews. As you progress in your HR career, feel free to come back to this list of tips as a benchmark to help keep your resume fresh and tailored to your target positions. And best of luck advancing in your HR career!

how does resume help hr find right candidate

11 Ways To Ensure You Hire The Best Candidate

Hiring the candidate is the most important thing that a hiring manager can do. It takes creativity and diligence to find the right person for the job. While it may seem easy to look over a resume and check their qualifications and call it a day, it’s not as simple as it looks.

There is always the possibility that you will end hiring the wrong person, which can trigger a whole series of negative consequences. The wrong person can turn out to be lazy and unmotivated, unqualified, or they can influence the atmosphere in the workplace.

An impressive list of qualifications and extensive work experience are certainly necessary, but these are not the only things you should factor in when recruiting potential employees. Making sure that they are also in tune with the culture of your organization and its goals is also crucial.

Key Takeaways:

Creating a compelling job description which includes daily responsibilities and qualifications needed can help narrow down the best candidates.

Make sure you consider the company culture and find someone who fits it.

Keep improving and updating your hiring process until it works best for your company.

Testing your candidates can help you determine who is the most skilled and qualified and who might have exaggerated on their resume.

Ways To Ensure You Hire The Best Candidate

11 Ways To Ensure You Hire The Right Candidate

Treat candidates like customers. A candidates first impression of a company is crucial. Just like you, they are trying to find the best company that fits their needs. Making them feel as if you are just as excited about getting to know them as they are, can be the difference between getting an enthusiastic candidate over someone not really interested.

When treating candidate like customers, you should be respectful of their time. Make sure to show up on time for meetings, and let them know if you are going to be late for any reason. When they show up for the interview make sure they feel welcomed and comfortable.

Create a compelling job description. Make sure you make the tile of the job description as specific as possible. This will help narrow down the best candidates for the position and eliminate any confusion. Include the job responsibilities, skills, and qualifications needed for the position. Doing this helps candidates determine if they are right for the position before they apply, leaving the best candidates for you to go over later on.

Look for a career-oriented person. You want an employee who is going to be loyal to the company, and who will view your job as an opportunity to advance their career and be an asset to the company at the same time. If their job history is checkered, you should proceed to look at other candidates.

If you have a candidate who is trying to juggle multiple careers, or who has been quick to jump ship and work for several companies in the past without decent tenure, then maybe you shouldn’t hire them.

Focus on practical experience. Ideally, you should hire a candidate who is both qualified and experienced in your line of work. However, more often than not, you will not come across a perfect candidate. Focusing on the practical experience of your potential employee is key because they will be able to integrate themselves more quickly and become familiar with the job.

You also save time and money when it comes to their training. If a candidate doesn’t have the required practical experience you are looking for, they will need more time to fit in and learn all the nuances of the job. Of course, every new employee needs to go through an adjustment period , but you want to keep that period as short as possible.

Don’t hyper-focus on their past. While it’s important to go over a candidates past, don’t only focus on that. If their resume looks like they are job hopping, ask them about it. There could be a valid reason as to why they have two or three jobs within the last year.

Ask the candidates open ended questions that are relevant to the position and see how they answer. This will help you hire for their potential future instead of focusing solely on their past.

Test your candidates. One of the ways you can improve your recruitment process would be to implement various methodologies that can provide you with a much clearer picture as far as learning abilities and analytical skills of the candidate are concerned. It goes deeper than looking at a person’s resume and making a decision based on that alone.

Even if their resume is impressive, and they come off as confident during the interview , it is up to you as an employer to test potential employees , because they might not have been completely truthful on their resume. Also, you will gain a better insight into how resourceful they are when presented with a new challenge.

Determine strengths needed for the position. Let’s face it, most jobs nowadays are stressful to a certain extent. If you run an IT company, for instance, you should also look for candidates who, in addition to their qualifications, have the necessary mental and psychological strength to cope with pressure, tight deadlines, and complex client demands.

If you are hiring someone to do a job which is repetitive in its nature, you will need to determine whether the candidate will need to be able to stay motivated, even if they are required to perform the same actions over and over again. If an employee is going to burn out quickly under stress, despite having a brilliant CV, then they are probably not a good fit for the job.

Consider company culture fit. Another important thing to consider when hiring a candidate is their ability to fit in and adapt to your company’s culture . This means their social skills need to be developed enough, so they don’t disrupt the positive atmosphere in the office. Ideally, they should only add to it. Since nearly every job involves working with other people, as well as communicating with clients, you’re going to want to hire a person with strong social skills.

Check their work history and through your interview questions  make sure they aren’t prone to conflicts in the workplace. Then if possible, find out how they got along with their former colleagues and bosses when you conduct reference checks . That should help you paint a complete picture of every candidate you interview.

Check social media. While it pays to get to know your potential employee as a person, asking personal question is not the best solution, because they may feel uncomfortable (not to mention the fact that it may be deemed as anti-discriminatory). However, what you can do is check out their social media presence across all major platforms.

Visiting someone’s Facebook or Instagram page will help you learn more about the candidate, and their LinkedIn profile may offer a better insight into their skills and experience than their resume. In addition to that, LinkedIn can also be a great place to find new employees, and invite them for a job interview.

Consider bringing on an intern. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to engage an intern as an interim solution. This is one of the best ways to find the best candidate for the job. After monitoring their progress, you will know everything about them: their intelligence, skills, ability to cope with stress, social skills, and weaknesses. In fact, you will get to know them much better than any candidates you just interview.

And if you do decide to hire interns, don’t just have them run errands for you. Give them some actual work, so that you can gauge their abilities and prepare them for actual work, in case you decide to hire them. Plus, you will save plenty of time by hiring someone you already have in your company, instead of going through an extensive hiring process.

Pay attention to the questions they ask. Their answers to your questions are important, but the questions they ask are sometimes more important. The type of questions that they ask show how prepared they are and their engagement with the role. If you notice they are asking a lot of questions about how the role works, they may not be the best person for the job.

Look for candidates that are asking about specific things that showed they did their research. The best candidates are the ones who want to move the company forward and wanting to know more about who they will be working with.

Benefits of Hiring the Right Candidate

New hires can be a big influence on the productivity and efficiency of your company. Here are some reasons why hiring the right candidate is essential to your company:

Saves time and resources. Hiring the right candidate can save you the time and resources of needing to go through the recruitment process multiple times. Making sure you have the most qualified candidate means saving time and money needing to train the person. The most they should need is getting an understanding of the how the company operates and policies.

Decreases the workload of current employees. Hiring the right candidate means decreasing the workload of other employees. Hiring candidates with the skills and qualifications that are missing with the current employees can help in areas that are needed. When everyone on the teams has different areas where they succeed means that everyone can focus on their specialties meaning less stress for everyone.

Brings in new ideas. New employees are great for bringing in new ideas to help improve the company. Hiring the right person means getting fresh ideas that current employees might not have. This could be from how a different company operated, or they could be a recent college graduate with new ideas from there. Innovation prevents the workplace from becoming stagnant and helps boost productivity and morale.

Tips for Hiring the Right Candidate

Keep improving your hiring process. Potential candidates are not the only thing you should focus on if you want to hire the best person for the job. You need to work on your recruitment process and make constant changes and tweaks to it until you get it right. For instance, some companies have their recruiters asking magic bullet questions, whose purpose is to catch the candidates off guard and test their analytical skills.

A more efficient method would be to focus on obtaining relevant information about your potential employees, such as their qualifications, knowledge, experience, social skills, as well as their ability to learn and develop. Also, it is up to you to attract the right candidates by making all of the job requirements as clear as possible. Another good idea would be to get other people involved in the hiring process .

Conduct multiple interviews. Once you think you have a few candidate, set up multiple interviews for each. This can help you make an educated decision on which candidate is the right one. It can be hard to determine the right person after meeting with them for an hour.

On the first round of interviews, have the candidate meet with the hiring manager and someone from human resources. At the second interview, have them meet with their direct supervisor. If you decide to do a third interview, have the candidate meet with the owner or president of the company. Having all these people with the candidate can help narrow down the best person for the job.

Trust your instincts. It’s important to trust your instincts. Making the logical decision is important but sometimes going with a gut feeling and give you the best candidate. You can ask all the right questions and they can give all the right answers, but your gut feeling can tell you if they are right or not.

Take your time. You may be eager to fill a role, but sometimes it can take time to find the right person. Hiring someone quickly increases the likelihood that you will end up with someone who isn’t a great fit.

Taking your time with the hiring process also shows your current employees that you value them and care about them. They are the ones who will most likely working directly with this new person, so making sure they are the right fit is important.

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Taylor is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Taylor got into writing because she enjoys writing articles that help people and loves creating stories that inspire. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with an interest in communications media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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Celarity - Creating Happy Careers

Celarity Blog • Updated Dec 18, 2022

9 Tips for Choosing the Right Candidate

You’ve scoured hundreds of resumes and pre-screened several candidates over the phone. Your in-person interviews are scheduled, and you’re confident that one of these candidates is the right fit for your team. Now it’s all about choosing the right candidate…

Save yourself from the headache of making the wrong decision. Use these 9 tips to help you evaluate candidates during the interview process:

1. Read Their Body Language

Look for clues about the candidate in arm movements, gestures, handshakes, and eye contact. The candidate’s body language can give insight into how they’re feeling, what kind of person they are, and how interested they are in your opportunity.

2. Focus on Specific Experiences & Accomplishments

As an interviewer, you can look for candidate answers that follow the S-T-A-R method (situation, target, action, result). It’s a great way to gather insights about past experiences and important accomplishments.

3. Evaluate Their Work Ethic & Attitude

Be on the lookout for language that indicates the candidate has had difficulties working with colleagues or management in the past. And ask questions about how the candidate handles heavy workloads, shifting priorities, and organization.

4. Find out If They’re a Life-Long Learner

Employees with great potential tend to be very curious. They want to continuously learn – adding new skills and tools to their arsenal of knowledge. This candidate can grow at your company and become an invaluable resource.

5. Get Feedback From People Who Weren’t in the Interview

You may opt to have a few team members interview candidates. This is a great way to involve the team in the hiring decision. But it’s also important to get feedback from those who interacted with the candidate outside the interview.

How did the candidate treat the front-desk employee who greeted him or her? If they received a tour of the office, what was the first impression from those who briefly met the candidate?

6. Ask Them About Something They’re Passionate About

Want to learn more about the candidate? Be conversational and open. Work topics that candidates feel comfortable and confident talking about in your interview. You are more likely to collect valuable observations about them and find out what makes them “tick.”

7. Give Them a Project or Problem to Solve

Giving candidates a project to do or a problem to solve isn’t so much about seeing their end result. It’s a smart way to determine how they develop processes and how they go about finding solutions.

8. Pay Attention to the Questions They Ask

All great candidates should have questions about the job, your company, and the culture. Are the questions insightful? Do they give an indication of how enthusiastic they are about the role? You can gain meaningful information about their level of interest, the way they diagnose problems, how they process data, and more.

9. Ask Yourself 5 Questions

There are 5 main questions you want to be able to answer before you offer a role to any candidate:

Make sure you look beyond the skills and how candidates look on paper. The best candidate should have the most necessary skills and the potential to grow and be a culture fit for your team.

Think you’ve found the ideal candidate? Ensure they accept your offer with these tips for negotiating employee salaries !

Visit The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Digital Talent page for more information about choosing the best candidates!

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