2011_12_keyword

Should You Keyword Search CV Databases for Great Candidates?

Because of the extensive pool of applicants that most companies have for open positions, many businesses have looked for ways to streamline the process. One of the most common methods involves placing all CVs into databases and screening CVs based on various keywords, much like a Google search. It’s a unique approach to reviewing CVs [...]

Because of the extensive pool of applicants that most companies have for open positions, many businesses have looked for ways to streamline the process. One of the most common methods involves placing all CVs into databases and screening CVs based on various keywords, much like a Google search.

It’s a unique approach to reviewing CVs and resumes that does save a lot of time and effort for hiring managers and can narrow down the applicant pool considerably. However, it does have some potential flaws that cause it to not necessarily be the best method of screening CVs.

Benefits of Keyword Search to Screen CVs:

  • Finds Relevant Applicants

Keywords – when chosen wisely – can provide you with an easy way to screen for relevant applicants. For example, if you need someone that has experience with Salesforce, a quick search of all CVs for the term “Salesforce” can provide you with a list of applicants that have mentioned Salesforce on their CV, giving you the opportunity to peruse that list for potential new hires.

  • Saves Time

Obviously one of the main benefits of this method is time saved. What makes that truly beneficial, however, is that these days most hiring managers only have a few seconds to look at each CV, which may cause them to miss out on good candidates. Screening CVs after a keyword search provides you with much fewer applicants, so each CV can be reviewed with the proper time and consideration.

Weaknesses of Keyword Search to Screen CVs

  • Keyword Choices

The keywords you choose affect the applicants you receive, and what makes a “good keyword” is debatable. For example, if you want someone with leadership skills, you do not necessarily want to search for the term “leadership,” as you will miss any candidates that describe good leadership without referring to their skills as leadership. Similarly, perhaps you want an applicant trained in Microsoft Office. It’s possible that the candidate has listed each Office Program separately (Word, Excel, etc.) rather than used the term Office, so searching for that term wouldn’t yield all of the candidates. Keyword choice can drastically affect your CV screening.

  • No Review

CVs that are not selected in a keyword search receive no review, and that alone can cause you to miss out on good candidates. While hasty review can also be damaging, no review means that great candidates without the right keywords are going to be forgotten.

  • Keyword Stuffing/Lying

The more companies depend on keyword search, the more candidates are going to find ways to exploit the system. There are already candidates that keyword stuff their CVs, hoping to be selected in a search. There are even candidates that find ways to bring terms into their application that they have had no experience with, such as “Program X, similar to Salesforce.” This can be a problem.

Finally, the best CVs are those that share true accomplishments, and not all accomplishments have accompanying terms. “Improved Revenue by 3000%” is an amazing accomplishment, and unlikely to involve any search terms you use to find applicants.

Overall, using keyword search as a method of screening CVs has many benefits, but its weaknesses are fairly pronounced. If your company does not have enough time to screen applicants, a better method is to work with Recruit Shop, where you can receive guaranteed great hires at a low cost.