It can feel daunting when you are faced with a mountain of CVs to review, so it’s really important to have a system in place do you can assess each one with a standard set of criteria.

Agree a system

If more than one person will be reviewing the CVs, make sure that the criteria are agreed at a meeting, so all members of the team use the same system.  For example, you could use a scale from 1-3 for qualifications, and a scale from 1-10 for the applicant generally, and then it will be easier to place CVs into piles (or folders on your computer) yes/maybe/no.

Remove personal details

We all have some preconceived ideas, so any personal details should be avoided at this stage where possible – in particular anything that points to age, race or location.  Each applicant should be assessed only on merit in relation to the job requirements.  At the initial stage, you should also ignore the format and style of the CV.  There are many different ways of writing them, and it is the content that matters.

Keep notes

Review the advertisement and job description and keep a copy with you while working.  Then you can compare the candidate´s educational background with the requirements of the job and with the other candidates.  Make notes about each applicant as you go; these can be discussed at the next stage, when you discuss who is to be interviewed.  If there is anything you would particularly want to clarify at interview, include it in your notes.

Assessing experience

Previous work experience can then be evaluated; the candidate may have worked in similar posts in related industries, won awards, or been promoted.  Look at promotions, lateral job changes and any obvious progress.  Frequent job changes, gaps in work history, and changes in position within a company can have valid explanations and it is worth checking the covering letter to see if these are mentioned.   If the candidate is otherwise suitable, these are things to ask about at interview.

Final filtering

Depending on how many applicants are to be shortlisted for interview, you may have to work through the “Yes” group again with the team, so you can discuss details and reach the target number of candidates.  We can all miss things that are obvious to another person.   If you don´t have enough definite “Yes” candidates, you could have another look through the “Maybe” group.  Once you have the required number for interview, attach your notes with each CV and covering letter as guidance for the interviewers.