How companies do resume screening and shortlisting

[Motivated by the query on quora – https://www.quora.com/How-does-resume-screening-sorting-work-at-very-large-companies/answer/Shiva-Maran]

Most decent sized companies receive hundreds if not thousands of resumes a week from their various source. How each company handle these resumes varies. For simplicity I would put them under three broad categories:

Manual screening

Most companies fall under this category. The recruiters download resumes from multiple sources such as job ad responses to their mail accounts, resumes received at their career pages or resumes from recruitment/staffing firms. The recruiters focus on manually screening the profiles for the requirements they are handling at the moment. A typical recruiter can handle screening around 100 resumes a day. If the incoming volume is more than it there will be many profiles that gets missed. This is a very leaky screening process.

Here the candidate profiles that have been received previously or have been received by a different recruiter never gets looked at. It is humanly not possible to do so.

This is tragic for both the companies and the candidates as it is quite possible there is an excellent fit candidate for this opening already with the company or within the newly received profiles that got overlooked.

Simple cataloging

Some companies catalog the resumes by adding notes and tags to the profiles so that they can be pulled up sometime in the future. They use simple available tools to do this. This practice goes back in time where good quality recruiters would maintain a summary note of all good candidates they have connected with. This allows them to leverage these candidates when there is a new opening.

The tools used in this case are rudimentary, such as Excel sheets, gmail (with tags), ATS etc., Recruiters who follow this practice are also very rare.

Screening tools

Recently a few companies have started using automation solutions (Like HireWand). The software here pulls up the best fit candidates for a requirement from already existing profiles that the company has received. The goal is to ensure a good candidate profile never gets missed. These would be the kind of companies where you will hear back when a new opening comes up that matches your profile. The software also looks out for good candidates from the incoming flow of resumes across the various channels.

The third category of companies are few in number. The goal of HireWand is to be a pioneer in this space.

The existential question – Why are we here?

Today, there are so many recruitment solutions out there, with a new one coming up every month and many disappearing into oblivion every month. The interesting question is, why are we trying to solve this challenge when there are so many out there already?

To get to an answer to this existential question let’s try to figure out:

  1. What are the biggest sources of candidates for companies today?
  2. What are the solutions out there in the market and check how they help in improving recruitment efficiency? and

Finally, let’s look at the reasons why a solution like HireWand would be needed in spite of the many solutions out there in the market.

Source of candidates

Who better to answer this question than LinkedIn? Check out the chart published by LinkedIn in their global trends paper for 2015:

Linkedin Source

Notice something interesting about the top sources? These are Internet job boards, Social professional networks, Company career websites and Employee referral programs. All of these bring in large numbers of resumes through which the recruiter needs to wade through to find the right candidates for different jobs.

Now check “Internet resume databases” on the chart, way down South.  Downloads from Job Portals fall within this bucket. There is a widespread notion that Job Portals happens to be the primary source of hiring in companies. When you spend some time digging through the data of any company you realize this is a myth prevalent across the industry. The chart above clearly breaks this myth. Why such a false notion is so prevalent is a topic for another blog post.

I believe the data in the last section speaks to us of a potentially huge opportunity that companies today are missing out on. To understand this, let’s think of the 3 primary factors that a firm is concerned about in hiring:

  1. Lead time to hire
  2. Quality of hire
  3. Cost of hiring

Let’s consider the new age recruitment solutions again – do they really help in improving all the above factors for a company? Let’s see:

Promise of quality: Many solutions out there promise quality candidates, either selected through better pre-screening or through tests. These “solutions” then charge the companies more than 15% CTC for every hire. So are these really even SaaS services or are they recruitment firms masquerading as a product?

The cooler version of Naukri: So many solutions pitch the value of “we are better than Naukri because _____”. You can fill up that blank with any conceivable reason, be it ease of use (swipe, swipe swipe), speed of hiring (24 hour offers), short circuiting notice periods (a competition to break commitments anyone?), reverse auction and so on. These short term differentiators do not seem to stand a chance against the brand and traction that Naukri already has. These new solutions simply add to the list of sources that the recruiter needs to deal with already. They only add to the overheads on the recruiter, add to the cost of hire with no impact on quality of hire and a marginal reduction in lead time.

Specialized solutions: Vertical-specific solutions, especially around referral hiring and social hiring, promising employee engagement with gamification and of finding candidates from employee networks by simply tapping into their LinkedIn network are in vogue. Referrals are definitely an excellent source of resumes, but are still just one of the 4 main sources. Hence they cannot be the one solution the recruiter can depend on, to help with shortlisting.

Passive candidate search: These solutions tend to draw profiles from GitHub, LinkedIn, Stack Overflow, Meetup groups and more. The idea is to aggregate profiles across these sites and present a single view. They also provide search across these profiles to surface the right candidates. There are a few challenges with passive candidate search:

  • Most candidates are passive and by nature do not respond positively to either the job or your company. This adds a huge cost to the recruiter who has to sift through these profiles manually, calling each of them up, impacting lead times and cost of hire. The situation is made worse with the same top candidates appearing in the list for most companies and naturally getting tired of calls from recruiters. The fatigue that sets in results in quick refusal for any calls made to them making the job so much more difficult for the recruiter.
  • This pool is a small number compared to the large pool of quality candidates who today, are putting in their time working for organizations and less time in presenting themselves in these open forums.
  • The legality of public crawling of these sites (especially LinkedIn) is suspect.
  • A new trend of more and more “posers” presenting themselves on these public sites for jobs is making matters worse. Their carefully crafted profiles with copied code, duplicate project etc., do not represent the real capabilities of the candidate.

 

HireWand : Making Recruiters Life Easy

A recruiter’s life is centered on finding the right candidate for the job with focus on the number of openings that get closed. At the same time, a candidate’s focus is on finding the best job possible for themselves. For this to happen, the right candidate needs to be seen by the recruiter who has a job that is best fit for the candidate. Sounds easy enough, but there are huge challenges in making this happen efficiently.

The recruitment solutions today

Most, if not all, recruitment solutions out there are fighting over who is a better source of candidates.  It is a rat race, with new solutions popping up every few months and existing ones dying out at a similar rate.

Is HireWand, to build yet another solution attempting to be a BETTER source of candidates? The answer to this question is clearly NO.

Our answer

We clearly did not want to be yet another source of candidates for the firms to deal with. We wanted to be a tool in the hands of the Recruiters to make their hiring more efficient.

When you look back at the top sources of profiles, all of them leverage your brand and are sources where the candidate has chosen to apply to your firm and possibly for a specific job. By doing this, candidates send across 3 signals:

  • That they are looking out
  • They are interested in your firm
  • They are interested in the specific job if they applied for it.

These signals significantly increase the possibility of a positive response when you connect back to the candidate for a specific job.

This is where the challenge lies today. It is not humanly possible to efficiently leverage these sources. This is definitely not due to lack of intent, but due to lack of tools that enable the recruiter to leverage these sources. The challenge can be explained in 3 stages in the lifecycle of profiles within a firm:

1) The challenge when a new profile is received

A typical mid-sized Company has multiple active openings at any time. As a result, hundreds of resumes are received every single day. Manual viewing of every profile is simply impossible and results in missed quality candidates. Now imagine a virtual recruiter matching every profile with every active requirement diligently, consistently and objectively at any scale. This virtual recruiter alerts the owner of the appropriate opening when a good match is found. No more missed profile, no more wasted time looking through hundreds of profiles to find that one good one and no more waiting for days to get through the pile of resumes. The recruiter only looks at quality candidates and shortlists from there, freeing up time to focus on the more human aspect of hiring.

2) The challenge in searching through recently received profiles

With hundreds of resumes coming in every day a good candidate is easily lost in the existing pile of resumes. Most candidate profiles received in the previous 4 months are found to be active. It then makes a lot of sense to leverage these resumes for a new opening. But this is an almost impossible exercise if done manually. This is literally equivalent to searching for a needle in a haystack. Imagine a person going through thousands of resumes to find 10 good candidates to call for an interview. Simple binary search tools available in ATS solutions are of no use with their rudimentary string search. What is needed is a shortlisting tool that can pull up the best fit candidates for the requirement and present it to the recruiter to look at. HireWand is that tool.

3) The challenge in searching through older profiles that fit

Many recruiters think profiles that are older than 3-4 months are useless. This belief comes from their legitimate experience of finding that a small number of the candidates from this database are still looking out for a job. But imagine letting a virtual recruiter like HireWand automatically check with the candidate if they are interested in pursuing the specific job opening. The recruiter only needs to talk to the candidates who have responded positively and are a good fit for that opening. With Zero effort from the recruiter, they now have another shortlist of interested quality candidates from the firm’s own database.

HireWand – taking the first steps

HireWand’s goal is to be a tool to help companies leverage their own pool of candidates thereby reducing time to hire and leading time while helping with quality of hire.

  • Lower cost. With most of the hiring happening through a shortlist of the company’s own candidate pool, reduce dependency on costly resume databases and external recruitment vendors. Increase efficiency of your recruitment team by letting HireWand manage the mundane task of going through the resumes and pulling up just the right profiles for the recruiter to shortlist from.
  • Better quality. With an intelligent system pulling up just the right profiles, the recruiter only needs to contend with the good quality list of profiles. This frees up the recruiter to focus on each candidate in greater detail and on the more human aspects of hiring.
  • Shorter lead time to hire. With the first shortlist pulled up in seconds and by efficiently finding quality candidates from existing database the lead time to hire can be reduced by more than 50%. This can also have a direct impact on cost for any firm.