What to Look For in a Resume When Hiring Remotely?

What to Look For in a Resume When Hiring Remotely?

In a matter of just a few months, life has turned upside down for nearly everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a new-normal definition in everyone’s personal as well as professional lives.

The pandemic has forced everyone to stay indoors and one of the biggest casualties has been the workplace. The labor market is transforming, and unemployment is on the rise across all industries. It is now more important than ever before to adapt your hiring strategy to the changing conditions and unprecedented times.

With ‘real’ interviews out of question due to social distancing norms and other stringent no-contact regulations, hiring remotely is the only option available to meet the growing demand for workforce across various openings. When it comes to hiring remotely, the first and perhaps the most valuable tool that HR managers and recruitment professionals can use is the résumé of the candidate.

Before starting the process of screening the resumes, a checklist will help in an effective initial screening.

Checklist for Resume Screening

Having a checklist for resume screening can help in handling this task better and with greater efficiency.

  • Do the qualification and experience listed match your needs?
  • Does the employment history apply to the current opening?
  • Is the candidate still employed in the most recent position mentioned?
  • Are there any mentions about awards, promotions, recognitions, etc.?
  • Are there any noticeable gaps in the employment timeline?
  • Is there a history of job-hopping or an excessive number of jobs within a limited time?
  • Is there a career and industry pattern apparent in the CV?
  • Is there any mention of skills and/or experience not needed for the current opening?
  • Are the past employers genuine and candidates are ready to provide the references?

Picking Insights from Resume

Resumes can provide a great deal of information about the aspiring candidate if HR managers know how to read it right. A resume can give a subtle idea about the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. It can help recruiters create a truly effective shortlist of the ideal and most eligible candidates even before the first question is asked. Once they have a good number of ‘ideal’ candidates, the next step – the virtual interview can be initiated to prune the list further using some advanced tools available for the purpose.

Defining the Ideal Candidate First

Before you start examining the resumes, you must define your ideal candidate on a few critical parameters.  The skills and expertise of the candidates must match the demands of the job on as many counts as possible. It would be better if you can list the essential and desirable skills and segregate the resumes accordingly. This will help you create a list of candidates with real value. They can be the best-fit on nearly all selection metrics.

Working with a list of essential skills also allows the HR team to split the job of shortlisting with other team members. It will also ensure that there will be little error in the process as they will all be shortlisting on the same terms.

Find an Effective Shortlisting Process

Another important thing to do is decide how many candidates you want to interview. If you have a firm number in mind before you begin the shortlisting process, it will help you choose the best candidates and resist the temptation of keeping in someone who is a ‘maybe’ but not ‘definitely’ eligible.

Want to create a shortlist fast? The quickest way is to do it in stages. 

  • Go through all the resumes.
  • Remove the ones that do not meet the essential criteria list.
  • Go through the resumes that make it to Round 2.
  • Assign points based on how well they meet your essential criteria.

This simple exercise will provide you with a pile of more manageable resumes and more importantly, you now have candidates ranked accordingly their eligibility.

A simple exercise has helped you create a list of the best candidates or the top ten resumes you can work with. It can even be the top 15 or 20 based on the decision you made earlier on how many candidates to interview.

The next step is to go through the resumes with a fine comb and check for any inconsistencies. Take a closer look at factors such as:

  • Format
  • Presentation
  • Accuracy and quality
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Attention to detail

You can now start with a list of candidates who fulfill nearly all the fundamentals of the role.  This is where the desirable criteria list comes into play. Score the shortlisted candidates against the list of desirable criteria. This will help you further single out the candidates who are most likely to fit in the role you have in mind for the job opening.

One crucial thing to keep in mind during this shortlisting process for remote hiring is not to expect to find a candidate who will match all the items on both the essentials as well as the desirables lists.  The best candidates may still have some gaps in the resume but that is something you can address in the virtual interview.

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