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Resume Screening Checklist: 5 Things To Look For

If you’ve been assigned to recruit for a high-volume role, you likely know you’ll have a lot of resumes to look through. Your applicant tracking system (ATS) will help you weed out the strong outliers, but chances are good you’ll still have dozens, if not hundreds, of applications to review.


There are ways to cut down on how much time you spend on each individual resume, though. You can create a process tailored to the job you’re looking for - like checking for a college degree as the first step, then by another qualification, and another. These processes are useful, but there are other things to look for straight out of the gate that will help you reduce your stack before getting to the step-by-step process.


Resume Checklist


Check for the basics. Are spelling and grammar correct? How is the overall format? Does it include all of the relevant information that you requested on the application? A quick glance-over will tell you a lot about a candidate’s ability to follow directions, attention to detail, and general style/impression. Font choice obviously won’t tell you everything you need to know about an applicant, but it can be a good indicator of experience level (anyone with basic business knowledge knows not to use comic sans, after all).


Scan for keywords. If you are recruiting for a role where industry knowledge is important for a person to successfully perform their role, do a quick scan over their resume (or a keyword search if you’re on the computer) to check for common industry terms. Look for specific systems, platforms, or even past job experience that would make them a quality candidate. It’s a fast way to gauge whether or not you’ll want to look at the application more in-depth.


Look for time gaps. Gaps in employment aren’t always negative, and they shouldn’t deter you from speaking to someone. However, if you’re in an industry, such as technology, where a five-year employment gap means the candidate is likely behind in best practices, it’s important to take that into consideration if there are candidates that may have less overall experience, but no gap.


Evaluate prior roles for consistency. Has the candidate worked at companies across a lot of different industries, but held a similar role each time (such as HR, IT support, etc.)? Does the candidate have ten years of experience in one company, but bounced from job to job in different departments? Longevity at a company is definitely something to consider, but so is loyalty to a role. Someone who jumps around departments as an internal hire likely doesn’t know what he/she wants to do long-term, but someone who has job-hopped at different companies may have been advancing their career along the way and are just looking for the right fit.


Review major achievements. A good resume will list accomplishments in roles, rather than just responsibilities. Maybe the candidate didn’t save the company $5M during their tenure, but they did create a new, streamlined process to help create efficiency within their department. Look for resumes that list achievements and determine if they are in line with the role you’re trying to fill.


There are a variety of ways to cut down how much time you spend reviewing resumes. Much of it has to do with your company’s ATS, internal processes, and job description itself. If you’re recruiting for a lot of high-volume roles, check out (or email me at to learn more about how we can help you refine and simplify your recruitment process to get the best candidates.