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How to shortlist candidates with CV screening

CV screening

Did your latest job ad receive a mountain of applications?

CV screening makes deciding who to interview easier. This saves time for you and your candidates.

Find out the key steps to CV screening below. Plus, learn how to speed things up with candidate screening software.


What is CV screening?

CV screening is a vetting process that narrows down applicants to interview. Candidates' experience and qualifications are compared with the requirements set out in the job description.

Why is CV screening important?

The average high-skilled position in the UK receives 56 applications. For entry-level positions, it’s 506. Most interviews last between 45 - 90 minutes, and candidates usually receive an offer after two or more interviews. Interviewing every applicant would take you weeks or even months. 

Candidate screening saves a lot of time, allowing employers to interview the most qualified applicants. CV screening also benefits unsuccessful candidates as you can quickly update them. Employers who take too long to respond to candidates can easily garner a bad reputation, as our recent report shows. 


What are the main steps of CV screening? 

Step 1 - Keyword matching 
Did you know it takes six seconds to scan a candidate’s CV?  

CVs that don’t clearly relate to the job description usually end up on the reject pile. You can quickly create a candidate long-list by scanning for relevant keywords. For example, you might look for 'strong communication skills' on a customer service applicant's CV.

Heads up - candidate screening software could speed up this process.

Step 2 - Skills, experience and qualifications
Looking for someone with a specific qualification, like a professional certification? Make this one of the first things you look for when reviewing a CV. 

You might spend a little longer reviewing candidates' skills and experience. It pays to be open-minded here - candidates with indirect experience may have valuable transferable skills. 

Step 3 - Identifying concerns

Look out for red flags like an unexplained absence or repeat job hopping. 

You shouldn't necessarily reject an otherwise strong application, but it's worth discussing at interview.

Step 4 - Creating a shortlist 
Once you’ve completed your CV screening, compile a shortlist of candidates to interview. 

We recommend interviewing at least three candidates, but this will vary based on your applicants' suitability.


Candidate screening software

Candidate screening software (also known as CV screening software) can make your candidate search more efficient. 

You can use candidate screening software to:

  • Scan for keywords
  • Check if a candidates’ skills, experience and qualifications are relevant
  • Spot career gaps or job hopping 
  • Create a candidate shortlist
  • Prioritise candidates by suitability

Best applicant tracking system (UK) 
Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) come with candidate screening software. Here are some of the most popular applicant tracking systems in the UK:


AI CV screening

Some candidate screening software features AI CV screening. 

Tools like Interviewer.AI use AI to grade candidates’ suitability. They can even conduct pre-application skills assessments to refine your search.

However, more than half of workers are concerned about AI CV screening. According to Eden Scott research, 53% would be cautious about accepting a role AI was involved in the shortlisting process. 

You can alleviate candidate concerns by being transparent about AI use and how it could impact candidates. You may also wish to discuss the risk of AI bias with your ATS or CV screening software supplier.

Should you use CV screening software?

Candidate screening software can be a great tool to use as part of your CV screening process.

Don't forget, you'll still need to review shortlisted CVs before you interview your candidates. CV screening software can't replace the human element of the recruitment process. You need human emotional intelligence to assess whether a candidate would make a good fit for your team.

If you rely solely on CV screening software, you could miss out on a talented employee.

Finding the right candidates

CV screening is only the first step in finding the best talent for your team. Find out how to interview candidates in our new report. 

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