I recently posted for a position for a bookkeeper and instead of getting 200 resumes for that position, I instead received 400 resumes from CPAs to non-degreed administrative assistants. That is a lot to sift through to find the right resume without sacrificing the skill set I need.

In today’s economy, people are looking for work that sometimes doesn’t at all fit with their skill set. So, how do you narrow down and choose the right candidate from the hundreds that flood your inbox.

In an effort to effectively “find” the right talent, there are several things you can do to narrow down your large resume pile.

Make a Unique Request. To begin, one strategy you might try is to ask the respondents to do something very unique when they respond to your ad. I like to put my request at the bottom of my job posting to ensure that they read all the way through the post, ensuring that they are detail oriented in following my simple directive. Last time I posted a request, I asked for each candidate to place their best contact number in the upper right corner of their cover letter. Upon opening the resumes, if they had not completed the request, I deleted them from my pool immediately, because this indicated to me that one of the most important details to my posting, “detail oriented” they were not!

Sort your Resumes. Establish piles of the resumes you receive. I like to create four piles.

  • “NO” pile – This pile is for resumes that just won’t work for our company, even in future needs.
  • “MAYBE” pile – This pile is for candidates that aren’t a great fit for this job but possibly for another job in our company.
  • “POSSIBLE” pile – This is for the resumes that are slightly suited for the current posting.
  • “TO BE CALLED” pile – This will help you to sort all of the detail

Don’t be Biased. Do not discount anyone’s resume based on work history, be it brief or long term. In today’s society people do not always stay at their employer’s for long. Did you know a Generation Y (born after 1981) worker, will have between 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38. If you like their education and the general feel of the resume…dig deeper! ASK THEM: Why did they leave? Did they accomplish their goal at their last employer, leaving them with nothing to strive for? Did they meet the goal of the employer and were no longer needed? There are several reasons for short tenure.

Make the Call. Make a call to the candidates you like. Take the opportunity to talk to the candidates. You can learn a lot by just simply chatting on the phone for a few minutes. Give them the opportunity to communicate to you who they are. So many things can be missed on paper and this allows you to get a feel for their communication skills before taking time out of your busy schedule to meet them face to face.