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CV sifting - at speed


Many business owners and hiring managers groan at the thought of pushing the hiring button. They brace themselves for an onslaught of applicants that overwhelm their inbox, they dread the thought of losing 30%-50% of daily productivity in reading CVs and managing snowballing hiring activities alongside the normal day-job and they are invariably disappointed with applicant quality as they scan through a blur of profiles with dwindling enthusiasm. But they need to keep going in case they miss the true gems amongst the noise of the masses.

And that’s not the end of the misery! There’s also the thought of having to manage calls from recruiters working with the latest amazing candidate.

Professional recruiters can read and make a decision on a CV in less than 30 seconds, some can do it in as little as 10! Think how much time you’d save if you could do that! But how do they do it?

Try this test to see how you do!

Click here to take the 6-Second Resume Challenge

Hard? Well, actually easy with a bit of practice and if you follow these five practical steps:


5 steps to CV sifting amazingness!

1. Set a laser like focus on the minimum criteria you are looking for

This is super important. Why? Because when your sift in/out criteria is not fixed before advertising a role, indecision sets in when it comes to reviewing applicants. So, work through and set in stone exactly the things that are the minimum criteria for the role.


2. Scan CV’s and profiles alongside your set criteria and look for applicants meeting them


Take the big picture view, look at the profile in the round and keep in mind the goal at this stage is purely to sift ‘IN’ for an initial light touch telephone interview.


3. Focus on what the information in the CV means rather than the content itself

Job titles – do current & previous titles bear relevance to the role you have on offer? Yes/No
Career trajectory – does this look like an up/down or sideways career move for the applicant? Yes/No
Previous employers – does this bring value to your business? Yes/No
Knowledge & skillset – is there enough evidence to conclude they would be a strong match for the role? Yes/No
Work dates – do work periods match your company/industry norms? Yes/No

If the big picture view stacks up alongside your minimum criteria, then book an exploratory telephone interview.


Here is the Peopley Interview Jotter tool to help with telephone interviews


Be decisive – a decision is a YES or a NO a ‘maybe’ is not a 'yes' fit

4. Manage your time
Sift applicants according to your habits, morning, evening or in real time – but be consistent and set specific time aside – you will be more focussed and crack through more in less time.

5. If they are a 'yes' send an email immediately
Quickly send an initial intro email with suggestions for times (useful tools to stop email ping pong for example are Calendly) have a sub folder in your inbox for the “Yes” applicants or better still get some hiring software to help you manage the applicants and recruiters – Not having hiring software nowadays is like not having a sales CRM! Systems like Comeet and Team Tailor completely take the stress and workload out of the whole hiring process, especially the initial CV sifting stage and provide a perfect candidate experience which is super-important for your brand and of course not forgetting at the end of the day you are dealing with real people.

Implement these 5 steps and with a little practice you’ll be sifting CV’s and making decisions in minutes and quickly uncovering the superstars you’re looking for to join your business – now that’s pretty amazing!

About Peopley
Peopley provide flexible Human Resources and Talent Management for people-centric SMEs

Peopley has recently been shortlisted for Best Candidate Experience & Best Supplier Partnership against stiff competition from some of the UK’s biggest employers in the 2020 FIRM Awards (Forum for In-House Recruitment Managers).

About The Author

Debby built the recruitment tools for the world’s largest executive search franchise and has trained over 1,000 recruiters worldwide.  She was one of the first recruiters to recognise and adopt candidate sourcing techniques using social media in an 1100 global office network and has subsequently built the hiring operations for several founder-led technology & engineering businesses.  She is a Chartered member of the CIPD and a Solent LEP Skills Advisory Panel Member. 

Her interests lie at the intersection of technology, people and the environment, she is an advocate for Ocean Alliance and a regular Solent sailor.

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