Time Management for Sourcers and Recruiters – Resume Reading

We first started with Time Management for Sourcers and Recruiters – Schedule Building which, discussed how to plan your day to be effective and efficient. In this article, I will go through various techniques that will help you be even more effective and efficient for better time management that I am sure will increase productivity for you.

In our business one thing we must do is read a resume, in doing so we are expected to decipher the “code” embedded in the resume, compare work experience to the requirements from the hiring manager, and decide to or not to call/email the candidate. Then after we have all of our notes we need to make a decision if this is a viable candidate for the opening. This is a process that is repeated on every candidate we come across.

This is very time-consuming. Now that you have built your daily schedule and are staying on track with that schedule which you’re already seeing yourself being more effective and efficient, now we need to take it up a notch. Follow these proven steps in order to do just that.

First, after you craft that beautiful award winning Boolean string and enter it into whichever job board you prefer, you return a list of potential diamonds, and now the issue is to go through as many as candidates possible and build your list. The issue we all have is time, so why not use it to our advantage.  One thing we are all guilty of is getting sucked into the words on a resume or maybe the format is horrible and we’re just lost in translation. You need a two-minute sand timer.

When you pull up that list of potential diamonds and compile a bunch of resumes to filter, flip over the two-minute sand timer. You shouldn’t spend more than two minutes viewing a resume. Our attention on one aspect loses its ability to decipher new information after about two minutes and we need to take a minute to reset. With timing yourself you don’t get lost and develop the ability to say, yes this candidate looks great on paper, I still have a few questions regarding some of the experiences and technologies, or this candidate is not on the right track of what we are looking for.

As time goes on once you get the repetition down you will see yourself having time left out of the two minutes and becoming a resume reading legend.

Second, when you are getting ready to start using your timer and reading resumes, make sure you are prepared to understand the technology and what the surrounding words should be. Here are some red flags that will arise questions on candidate profiles:

  • Titles
    • A title is either what they want to be called or what they are given upon hire. This can be miss leading because each company may have a different ranking system however if you see someone progress from a help desk tech to a system engineer, to a desktop support tech, to a senior project manager, then there are some immediate red flags there.
  • Tenure
    • Look at the dates. Months and years are huge. If someone is only in one to two month positions for several years that raises a concern for a hiring manager that is looking for a stable candidate. If someone has gaps in the resume for more than six to nine months that is also concerning, but should be discussed with the candidate to dig deeper.
  • Description
    • This is where the research comes into play. If someone lists themselves as a project manager, they should be describing project manager work in that role.
  • Technologies
    • Candidates who put EVERY technology they have EVER worked with may just be looking for fluff. Tech is changing so fast that something they did in the 90s is irrelevant today!
  • Education
    • If your hiring manager requires a degree in a certain field of study views this first. Be sure it is listed and aligned with what you’re looking for.0

Another cool trick is Ctrl + F (Find) which I’m surprised a lot of people are not using. Each opening role we have listed three to five skills that are MUST HAVES. A quick way to filter through other than the highlighted words on the resume from your Boolean string is to use Ctrl + F and pull up alternative spellings. You would be surprised what you may miss.

For example when candidates love abbreviations or alternative spellings so they are “hard to find:” Manager – Mgr or Mangr; SaS – S@S, $a$, or $@$; Citrix – Zen, ZenApp, ZenDesk, XApp, or XDesk etc. Now you may be thinking, well how many candidates actually do this? Who knows, but I have seen them and wouldn’t have found those candidates without doing just this. If you are searching for a hard to find skill set and need to take a different approach craft two Boolean strings, one narrow and one broad.  When you pull up the candidates that are found using the broad string, this is a tip that may work best with that.

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If you are searching for a hard to find skill set and need to take a different approach craft two Boolean strings, one narrow and one broad. When you pull up the candidates that are found using the broad string, this is a tip that may work best with that.

I’m confident with this best practice you will see yourself being more successful with resume reading and utilizing the limited time you have to be more effective and efficient.


Kevin Granger

Kevin Granger is currently a Senior Technical Recruiter with Queen Associates, in Charlotte, NC.  He started his career as a talent Sourcer where he was strategically aligned to sourcing for Microsoft.  He is very passionate about being informative on emerging technologies and up to date on hiring trends.  Kevin is an open book with candidates and other professionals in the staffing world, transparency is a big key to his success.  This helps drive candidate referrals as well as industry knowledge with other likeminded professionals.  While he isn’t working Kevin is staying on his toes playing with his daughter and dog Copper.  Feel free to reach out to Kevin, he is always willing to share a new trick or technique to find the elusive purple squirrel.


Be sure to follow on Twitter @KevinGranger11 you may just learn a thing or two.