Reading Job Applications and Resumes

Once you've begun your recruitment campaign, you may be inundated with resumes and cover letters from eager job seekers. If so, where do you begin?

When you read through the applications, you might begin by just skimming through the resumes, saving the cover letters for your second pass. Read through to determine which applicants are actually qualified. Make piles of those who are qualified and those who are not.

When you've gone through all the applications once, return to the "qualified" pile and read them more carefully. Next, rank the applications, putting the best qualified on top, least on bottom. From the top of the pile, select the five or ten most promising applicants and read through their resumes and cover letters at length. Look for clues about each person. Which seem like people you'd like to work with? Do you get a sense that any one applicant has personal attributes or experiences that would serve them better at the job?

Decide how many you'd like to talk with in person, then review the applications making a list of questions you'd like to ask these folks. What strengths and weaknesses does each application show? What would you like to know more about each person's qualifications? What information would help you choose one candidate over the others? When you've composed your questions, you're ready to interview.