Knowing how to applicant resumes is a valuable skill. It can also save you money during the hiring process by helping you interview the right people, improve your talent pool, and avoid bad hires. 

Start With a Scorecard

Create a scorecard to ensure you’re evaluating candidates in a consistent manner.

Evaluating candidates using the same criteria can help you make more objective hiring decisions.

After every applicant has left your office, grade them on each item on a simple scale such as 1-10.

In theory, the candidate with the highest score should be the best fit, but there are just too many variables to use the score exclusively.

Put a lot of thought into the scorecard though. Without all the key elements of the job listed, decisions are based more on personality and emotion and less on data. Here are some tips on what to look for.

Quantification and Accomplishments

Does the resume quantify the scope of a candidate’s work and show accomplishments?  Quantification can include number of projects completed, amount of $ saved, revenue produced, processes created, efficiencies developed, obstacles overcome, and more. Quantification and accomplishments provide data to help you decide.

Be Skeptical of Bullets That Cannot be Proven

When a candidate says he/she is a fast learner, a team player, adaptable, collaborative, works well under pressure, etc. it may or may not be true.

Quite honestly, anyone can say these things and people often do. But it’s not data. It’s a subjective opinion and comes from a person who is overtly trying to sell themselves.

Understanding Job Changes is Critical

If a candidate appears to be a job hopper, look for or ask for justification. Some folks don’t think to put that a job is a finite “contract.” Longevity has dropped steadily since the turn of the century.

The 25-year veteran employee is history. Add in Covid, the Great Resignation, technological changes, and shifting job markets and longevity gets even harder to find. The same goes for employment gaps. If you are concerned about a gap, get an explanation.

Promotions and Awards

Promotions and awards demonstrate that a job seeker is invested. When a candidate highlights a promotion and the change in responsibilities that came with it, it can signal they are motivated and competent enough to receive a promotion. Certainly, a positive indicator.

Evidence of Being a Team Player

We all want a team player. So, how do you really know? Look for words such as encourage, teach, mentor, supervise, counsel, and even assist.

Evidence of Taking Initiative

If you see a work history that highlights improved processes, enhanced efficiency, new skills, more education, and better solutions, it is likely your candidate will take initiative. Don’t overlook taking initiative. It’s a skill all employers need.

Note the Quality and Culture of Past Employers

Has your candidate worked for reputable companies with robust hiring requirements and good training programs? Where your employee has worked can give you great insight into the success they will experience at your firm.


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