How to review resumes: Tips for Hiring Managers

How to review resumes: Tips for Hiring Managers

September 30th, 2020 in General, Suggestions

Hiring managers have a tough job. You have too many resumes and too little time; you can’t pay close attention to all resumes but the details often are critical. How can you most efficiently compare candidates in the short time you have? Colloquially speaking, how do you “hire right?”

Like predators in the animal kingdom, you need to develop a good “search image.” When a predator is hungry, the world reduces to two categories: “potentially food” and “not potentially food.” You, too, are on the hunt: you need a “search image” to reduce your giant stack of resumes to “potential candidates” and “not worth a closer look.”

Instinct drives a predator’s search image, but intelligence creates yours. Luckily for contemporary hiring managers, artificial intelligence aids the natural, human version. But AI is just a tool: use it improperly and it won’t help.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is like a filter. The size and shape of the holes, and how the filter optimizes itself over time, is determined by human intelligence. AI doesn’t program itself, after all. (This is why some argue that the AI should stand for “augmented intelligence.”) 

You can get a near-perfect filter with something like the now-famous N95 mask, which keeps out at least 95% of particles over a certain size. There’s only one parameter: size. The filter for massively complex, multi-parameter entities like “human beings” is far from that perfect, and even given improvement, it may never approach the efficiency of an N95 mask. So, at least for the time being, you’d better know what your filter can and can’t do.

Most HR departments have now opted for an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which filters out candidates. These systems are not refined enough to fully trust, but they can help tremendously if they’re “set” to eliminate the most obvious ill-fits. Make sure you understand how your “filter” works so you know what kind of help you’re getting

Human Intelligence

You’re a filter, too! AI filters via its programming and self-optimization; you filter primarily via your job description. These are worth a heavy investment of time and effort. Ensure that you have an utterly clear sense of your ideal candidate, and write your job description accordingly. 

Remember, we’re dealing with a massively complex, multi-parameter entity, so be as precise as possible about at least the following set of key parameters each of which encompasses many sub parameters:

  • Education
  • Experience (breadth and depth)
  • Technical skills
  • Professional goals
  • Personality “type”

Filtering Vs Judgment

Here’s the most important point: whether human or computer-based, filters can only filter. Filters cannot judge. This is why managers interview candidates if they have any time to do so. Even if you consider that conversation — including the often partially conscious reading of facial expressions, body language, and all the rest we social mammals do — yet another filter, it’s on a qualitatively different and not (yet?) atomizable, automatable plane.

You may be a filter, too, but you’re more than that. So, set up your filters, by all means. They help. Massively. But keep an open mind and avoid rigidity. 

Truth be told, you won’t find the ideal candidate, strictly speaking. But do this right and you will find — efficiently, quickly, and reliably — a set of near-ideal candidates among whom you will make a judgment call, weighing the dozens of trade-offs that will arise.

Cleversow can help because we’ve designed the right kind of AI engine, one that takes into account more than just your average resume review service’s e-reading scrapers. We provide a “Fitness Hierarchy” that ranks all potential candidates’ Smart Profiles by likelihood of fit. Click on the top Smart Profiles–or on a set of two or three–in order to compare and to drill down on likely good-fit candidates, including introductory videos which remove the need for an introductory interview, saving you precious time.

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