How to sort resumes like a pro

Ask any manager what the worst part is of hiring staff and 9 times out of 10 they’ll say it’s sorting the resumes. Evaluating what can be up to 200 applications can seem like an insurmountable task.

All too often we hear of employers who have advertised a position and then sat on the applications for a week or more because they’re so overwhelmed. Of course, this only perpetuates the problem because by then, a number of the applicants may have found work so you can find yourself back at the beginning, or at best, having to select from an average pool of candidates.

So, how do the experts do it? Having a system in place to effectively manage the process is key!

Here are our top 5 tips for working your way through a pile of resumes quickly and accurately:
    1. Identify the key criteria for the role

Once identified, ensure your job ad clearly details the key criteria. You can also include screening questions for candidates to complete as part of their application (as per the candidate screening tool in Seek). This is a quick reference point that can really speed up the process.

Screening questions can include things like software used, industry experience, salary expectation, qualifications.

    1. Determine how you would like to receive the applications

There’s nothing more stressful than including your email address on a job ad and having your inbox filled with applications in-amongst your day to day emails. This is how applications get missed, and candidates get upset!

If you don’t have a HR system that can receive applications, create a separate inbox for job applications – or use an existing admin email address so they’re kept separate.

    1. Set time aside to review applications in bulk

It’s much easier to evaluate resumes when you’re reviewing 10, 20 or 30 at a time. This also gives you a good idea of the caliber of candidates and what represents a ‘good’ application.

    1. Avoid double handling resumes

If sorting resumes manually, create a “yes”, “maybe” and “no” pile. If in doubt, place the resume in the “maybe” pile and come back to it later.

    1. Timeliness is key

Begin the sorting process within a week of the ad being posted – or earlier if you’ve already received a high number of applications. It’s important to keep the process moving – there’s nothing worse than sitting on applications for too long and by the time you get around to calling the applicants they’re no longer available/interested.


If you’re still having trouble finding the motivation to wade through a pile of applications, just remember – there’s nothing more exciting than when you come across that perfect application. But, if that’s still not cutting it, give us a call and we’d be happy to give you a hand!