Resume screening is the cornerstone of many organizations’ recruitment strategies. It sees a candidate’s resume assessed in conjunction with a job description to gauge their suitability for a role based on factors such as their skills, work experience, and education. Resume screening is typically used to narrow down large candidate pools, reduce an organization’s time-to-hire, and assess the effectiveness and accuracy of job listings and descriptions.
Increasingly, hiring managers and recruiters looking to improve, streamline, and expedite their recruitment processes are choosing to adopt resume screening tools.
In this article, we explore the pros and cons of resume screening software and outline three of the best resume screening software tools available today.
The challenges of resume screening
There are five main drawbacks associated with resume screening.
1. Application volume
Manual resume screening is perhaps the most time-consuming and monotonous part of a recruiter’s job. Research shows that the most common corporate job listings attract an average of 250 applications, which explains why recruiters only spend around six seconds scanning each resume they receive. It’s unlikely that a rushed and inconsistent process like this enables hiring organizations to identify the best talent in their pipeline. In some cases, overwhelmed recruiters may ignore a portion of applications altogether.
2. Resume inaccuracies
Research by reference-checking company Checkster found that 78% of job seekers lie during the recruitment process. Not only do candidates mislead prospective employers about their skills, experience, academic degrees, and certifications to bolster their chances, but they are also increasingly savvy when it comes to stuffing their resumes with keywords and phrases to ensure they sail through the early stages of the recruitment process.
3. Quality of hire
Quality of hire is a recruitment metric designed to assess the value a new hire contributes to a company. While hr resume scanning software helps recruiters shortlist candidates based on a set of pre-specified credentials, such as their qualifications or number of years of experience, it won’t necessarily determine their future success in a role. In addition, many hiring organizations fail to make meaningful links between candidates who are hired post- resume screening and those who go on to become successful, or unsuccessful employees. This makes it difficult for companies to fine-tune and improve their screening processes.
A slow and clunky resume screening process will likely see a hiring organization missing out on the perfect candidate. The best job-seeking talent, for example, will be off the market within 10 days. In addition, 60% of candidates admitted to quitting the application process because it took too long.
5. Unconscious bias
Manual resume screening fundamentally precludes fairness during the recruitment process. Recruiters and hiring managers are not capable of manually scanning each resume with consistency, and it’s all too easy for unconscious biases to creep in.
What is resume screening software?
Online resume screening software can address many of the challenges associated with manual resume screening. It enables organizations to scan and filter candidates based on their skills, work experience, education, and any other requirements quickly, consistently, and at scale.
These resume rating tools typically form part of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) (or can be easily integrated with an organization’s existing tools) and are especially beneficial to organizations conducting high-volume recruiting.
Resume screening tools pros and cons
As with any tool, there are advantages and disadvantages of using resume screening tools.
The main advantage of these resume assessment tools is the ability to shorten time-to-hire by quickly reducing the candidate pool and eliminating lengthy recruitment processes such as screening calls and first-stage interviews. In addition, talent acquisition teams will have more confidence in their hiring decisions and the employee turnover rate can be significantly reduced. The impact of resume screening tools on line managers also can’t be overstated.
Many resume scanning tools will integrate with an organization’s existing talent management solutions, which makes them easy to implement and helps to further streamline the recruitment process. Because some existing ATSs have limited capabilities when it comes to resume screening, it can be useful to integrate additional automated resume screening tools to augment the overall recruitment process.
Despite the advantages of using resume screening tools, there are drawbacks associated with resume screening software that should be addressed. They can result in instances of false positives and false negatives, with algorithms easily manipulated by candidates stuffing their resumes full of keywords.
Underqualified or unsuitable applicants will often make it through the first recruitment stage and onto a candidate shortlist via this method, wasting the time of hiring managers and recruiters.
These disadvantages of resume screening tools can also mean highly desirable candidates miss out on job opportunities simply because their resumes are lacking a keyword or two.
Another drawback of resume screening tools is that much of the technology is not yet fully flexible or customizable. Talent acquisition teams must be mindful of finding a tool that accommodates their specific recruitment needs or can be easily tailored to do so.
Three resume screening tools every recruiter needs to know about
Resume screening tools typically fit into one of three categories, resume parsers, resume enrichers, and AI resume screening tools. Each of these tools is designed to help talent acquisition teams automate the resume screening process. They can be used in conjunction or individually.
A resume parser is a screening tool that uses keyword searches to store, sort, and rank candidate resumes. Hiring managers and recruiters can pre-select search terms, which are then matched to applicants’ data. Once all resumes for an open position have been uploaded into the parsing software, the tool scans the documents and extracts all relevant data, such as work experience, skill set, or qualifications, based on the needs and priorities of the talent acquisition team.
- Key information requested by a talent acquisition team is provided in a standardized format, which negates the need for hiring managers and recruiters to scan through entire resumes
- The most advanced resume parsers use variables and specific filters to analyze resumes (instead of just keywords), which reduces the instances of false-positive and false-negative results
- As well as reducing instances of human error, these tools guarantee that the same screening criteria are applied to each resume, which makes the process fairer and eliminates unconscious bias
- Screening tools that use keywords and a search function to rank candidates are the most susceptible to manipulation. Candidates without the right skill set or experience may be ranked highly by a resume parser because they stuffed their resume with keywords
- Resume parsers are a great tool for shortlisting candidates based on minimum requirements but if the filters are too rigid, hiring organizations can easily overlook top-quality candidates
Resume enrichers are a newer innovation in resume screening that use natural language processing to obtain a candidates’ online public data. The information extracted by these tools can be used to enrich their profile beyond their resume alone and might include a candidate’s qualifications, previous employers, and specialist skills.
- Resume enrichers can scrape public social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, or online portfolios to build out more detailed profiles and effectively analyze candidates’ skill sets or personality traits.
- Unlike traditional resume parsers, an enricher helps talent acquisition teams to distinguish between candidates that have lied on their resumes and those that genuinely have the skill set and qualifications to succeed in a given role
- These tools enable hiring organizations to take a more holistic approach to recruitment, reviewing candidates based on more than just their resumes
- Talent acquisition teams must carefully consider what criteria they set for this resume screening tool and how they measure success
- Organizations may hire people who tick all the right boxes on paper, but fail to perform on the job
AI-powered resume screeners
AI-powered resume screeners combine and analyze data extracted from job descriptions, job qualifications, an organization’s historic hiring decisions, and the quality of new hires in similar roles to automate the process of screening and ranking prospective hires. The impact the resume screening tools have on HR departments is great, as these tools can intelligently apply the knowledge they learn, and accurately predict if a candidate will be a successful or unsuccessful hire.
- Intelligent screening tools are capable of parsing and analyzing additional data sets, such as a candidate’s interview notes, recruiter feedback, or public data. When a tool has access to more comprehensive data like this, it can rank candidates more accurately, which leads to better hiring decisions. There are other possible capabilities, such as measuring the gap between a candidates’ perception of their competencies and their recruiter’s assessment of them.
- These tools analyze a range of data about prospective hires and existing employees, which means they can predict a candidate’s quality of hire.
- AI-based resume screening tools do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to resume screening, which frees up time for hiring managers and recruiters to focus on value-adding activities.
- AI-driven ATS, with built-in resume screening capabilities, assumes responsibility for other aspects of the recruitment process, including posting job openings, marking assessments, scheduling interviews, generating reports, and messaging candidates.
- AI-powered resume screeners are only as good as the data you provide them with. Because these tools provide the most accurate hiring recommendations by analyzing historic recruitment decisions and the quality-of-hire of existing employees, it can take time before the technology reaches its full potential.
- Talent acquisition teams must carefully define the parameters for AI-powered resume screeners, whether it’s job descriptions, priorities, or hiring expectations. If mismanaged, the technology can easily assume pre-existing human biases.
How to maximize the use of resume screening software
Hiring organizations must consider several factors to navigate the drawbacks associated with resume screening tools and fully reap their benefits.
Firstly, it’s important to conduct thorough research before investing in a new tool. There are lots of options available, including resume screening tools that are free, and each has different features and customization options. The tool that works best for one organization may not work so well for another, depending on their long-term goals and priorities.
Secondly, organizations must seek clarity on what they are signing up for. Oftentimes, resume screening tools are integrated with a larger ATS package, which could be significantly more expensive and include features the organization doesn’t actually need. It makes sense to request a free trial period, or at least the option to pay for a short trial at a prorated cost.
Thirdly, organizations will benefit much more from a resume screening tool if they have a close working relationship with the vendor. It takes time and patience to implement new tools and encourage company-wide adoption. A vendor that supports hiring organizations through the implementation and training process, and will continue to provide advice and guidance, is one to be valued.
Finally, surveying talent acquisition teams and reviewing the effectiveness of a recruitment tool is absolutely crucial. If hiring managers and recruiters don’t like the software, they won’t use it properly.
How to determine what’s best for your company
Resume screening tools certainly provide many benefits with regards to shortening the process of candidate screening, but it’s not an option that works for every organization.
By conducting detailed analyses of their existing recruitment strategies, talent acquisition teams can identify key areas for improvement and better determine where their priorities lie. It may be that funds can be more meaningfully invested into other aspects of the recruitment process.
In other cases, an entirely different approach to candidate screening can work favorably. This could include custom application forms or candidate pre-screening tests.
Vervoe, for example, uses AI-powered skills assessments to predict candidate job performance — focussing on more than just a person’s educational background or work experience. This highly customizable software enables talent acquisition teams to test people’s job-ready skills, which includes both technical and software-specific skills, as well as soft skills like communication and attention to detail.
Skills assessments like these can significantly reduce the risk of an organization making a bad hire. Not only is this approach much cheaper than offering prospective hires a paid probation period, but it also serves to streamline the recruitment process and quickly shortlist candidates based on their proven capabilities — ultimately saving recruitment teams a lot of time and effort. Skills testing also reduces unconscious bias, improves retention rates, and helps hiring organizations better distinguish between similar candidates.
With Vervoe’s solution, all candidates across all jobs an organization has tested over time can be quickly searched for, providing hiring managers and recruitment teams with the insights necessary to measure hiring success and improve their screening processes and quality of hire over time.
Hiring managers and recruiters simply do not have the time to screen every single resume that lands on their desks. At the very least, the process of manually reviewing all job applications lends itself to an unfair and inconsistent hiring process.
Resume screening software is well placed to address many of the challenges associated with manual resume screening, quickly shortlisting candidates to drive efficiencies through the recruitment process, reducing time-to-hire, improving quality-of-hire, and eliminating unconscious bias.
However, resume screening software comes with its own set of challenges and organizations must take the time to decide what tool best meets their needs and long-term objectives.