Companies Trying To Cope With Deluge Of Resumes

Compiled By Staff
November 24, 2009

Companies faced with sifting through hundreds of resumes for each job opening are resorting to unique ways to find the most qualified employees.

The Wall Street Journal reports that when a consulting firm received 1,200 applications for nine job openings, the company responded by e-mailing each applicant an invitation to an open house in Toronto. Only a third showed up, which cut down on the applicant pool significantly.

The company then set up areas for conferences which lasted only a few minutes, which rapidly assessed applicants' qualifications. By the end of the evening, the company had identified 68 top candidates who would be later called back for interviews.

"It was perfectly systematic because everyone had a time slot," said Razor Suleman, founder and chief executive of the company, I Love Rewards Inc., who was quoted by the Journal. "It's so easy to apply for anything but 800 didn't take the first step. That lowered the screening process."

The Journal reports that other firms have come to rely more on personality tests to help screen job applicants. Bob Herst, a partner at the accounting firm of Fisher, Herbst & Kemble PC in San Antonio, told the Journal that the tests are "our defense [against] getting the wrong kind of people. It's a much more important factor than a resume or anything else."

In a related article, last month The New York Times described the steps one company took to hire an administrative assistant for a trucking company in Indiana. The $13-an-hour position drew about 500 resumes.

The Times tells how Stacey Ross, head of the company's corporate recruiting, started reviewing the resumes in the order they had been received, while setting aside those who were obviously overqualified. She forwarded 61 resumes to the company's director, rejected 210 others, and never looked at the rest.

By the time the company identified eight candidates to interview, the director had decided to use an eight-page packet with 128 questions to assist with the hiring process. Each interview lasted an hour. In the end, Tiffany Block, who had applied for the job directly on the company's Web site, received the job offer.

The Grand Rapids Press in Michigan reports that employers are becoming much more selective of their hires because more applicants are available and because companies want to make ever hire count. Breann Farstvedt, human resources manager at Attwood Marine, for example, said that she receives 300 to 600 applications for every job opening in engineering and production.

"We have the opportunity to really focus in on what our needs are and be a little bit more picky," she explained to the Grand Rapids Press. "You might have a job description where you have 20 things you want. In a down economy, I can find 10 people who have all 20."

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