HR Practices: Tips to Identify Top Talent Through Their Resume

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How do conglomerates attracting thousands of applications for a handful of profiles go about identifying the top talent through just resumes?

The ATS helps – to an extent. Applicant tracking systems are used by every major company facing this particular dilemma. The system processes all the resumes it receives against the job description and assigns a rank to all of them based on how closely they are made in response to the JD. 

As a recruiter, your job is to identify the genuine resumes from fraudulent ones. 

The machine is not equipped enough for that. What if a candidate has smartly included all the relevant keywords to get shortlisted? How do you figure out the authenticity and legitimacy in that case?

We all know that applicants do not shy away from lying and exaggerating on their resumes.

To help you filter the wheat from the chaff, we have come up with effective guidelines to scan resumes and identify top talents.

Job Title

The first thing you should notice on the resume is a job title. It is right below the name. Some candidates play smart and put the title for an open job position rather than their legitimate title. 

Check the title with the professional experience and see if there are any discrepancies. In case the points in the current work profile don’t align with the job title, you know you’ve spotted a bad one. 

Professional Summary section 

Professional Summary is one of the most important sections of a resume. If a candidate has vividly described the career trajectory along with concrete instances showcasing the skills mentioned below, s/he is a good fit. 

If the summary seems ‘copy-pasted’ from a template or irrelevant to the rest of the information in the resume, it is a major red flag. There should be a tangible link between the summary and the work profiles. 

Education section 

Certain roles require specific qualifications. Check whether the educational qualifications are matching the requirements. If there is a minimum qualification criterion, do not compromise on that no matter how commendable the work experience is.

The certifications also fall under the education category. If a candidate has certifications targeting the profile you are hiring for, give preference to certified candidates.

A caveat though. Make it a point to always run a quick background check for accurately assessing if the qualifications listed in the resume are true or not. 

Professional Experience section 

As a recruiter, you are used to seeing the professional journey in terms of companies, time-period, and positions held by a candidate. The resume format should be clean and laid out in a manner that showcases their career trajectory without any discrepancy. 

To filter the best fits, you should have an in-depth look at the ‘Professional Experience’ section.

  • Make sure that there is an upward moving graph of their journey. See if they have spent a considerable amount of time in each organization. 
  • If the resume is laced with multiple short stints, it is a red flag. If there are gaps in this section, scrutinize the resume thoroughly. Check whether the cover letter has addressed those gaps.
  • Check whether the bullet points describe actual contributions instead of focussing on generic roles, responsibilities or skills. In desperation to get shortlisted, candidates can blindly include points from the JD or take help from generic content templates in order to beef up their resume. 
    • A broad rule of thumb for checking that is to see whether adequate performance figures have been included in the resume or not. If a candidate is mentioning specific figures around his achievements/contributions, it’s a good sign. 

Skills Section 

To get through ATS, candidates can copy-paste skills from the job description listed on the company’s website or any job search portal.

The best way to verify the skills is by checking them against the work experience. Points in work experience should validate the skills mentioned in the resume. If the skills look like they’ve been blindly pasted from the JD, and there’s nothing in the work-ex section to validate the same, you know what to do. 

Additional Information section 

The ATS will shortlist those candidates who have clearly mentioned the required skills in their resume. 

Your job is to look beyond and assess whether a candidate will be a cultural fit in the organization or not.

To do this, scan the ‘Additional Information’ section

Different organizations have different requirements for a culturally-fit employee. If you are recruiting for a start-up, you are probably seeking someone willing to take on multiple roles.

If you are recruiting for multinational organizations, you need someone with an ability to handle complex relations while exhibiting corporate professionalism.

If a candidate has included his interests and hobbies, you can know a lot about his personality traits and values. If they have provided links to their social media handles, you can have a look and know more about these qualities. 

Looking beyond technical skills can help you sort out the right cultural fit for your organization.

Key Takeaways

To sieve out the best candidates, you need to screen the following sections in the resume:

  1. Job Title
  2. Professional Summary
  3. Work Experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional Information 

Don’t rely on the ATS for all your requirements. The task of the machine is to just filter out the candidates for you – it’s your job to actually assess whether they’ll add value to your organization or not. 

The tips mentioned above will go a long way in helping you identify fraudulent applicants from the genuine ones so that you’re only left with genuine and qualified professionals. 

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