Resume Scoring Systems & How to Use a Candidate Profile to Simplify the Way You Review Resumes

Is the job of screening resumes any easier today than it was in the past? Thanks to software advances that automatically scan keywords, and help you organize candidate applications into different talent pools, things should be more streamlined and efficient.

However, many HR leaders and hiring managers still dread this essential phase of the recruiting process.

For starters, after preparing, vetting, posting and sharing your job opening, your applicant tracking system is filling with dozens, perhaps hundreds of resumes. So just when you thought the heavy lifting was over, the next phase is about to begin.

Resume Scoring is Expected

Have you and your team done the type of front-end work that will help make your resume review go as efficiently as possible? If you haven’t, then parsing through all of these resumes might be creating stress.

Before you go forward, take a moment to remember one important detail: every resume is a marketing piece designed to sell a job seeker’s experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm. And while you’re most likely not going to hire someone based exclusively on their resume, this singular document may be the key to them getting to the next step.

When it comes to the way job seekers present their information, you’ll see any number of approaches:

  • Some will be all about keywords in the hope of scoring high marks with your ATS scoring system.
  • Others will focus on layout and hope to catch the human eye.
  • Some will name-drop companies and titles, hoping to impress you with Fortune 500 experience.
  • Other candidates will seek to squeeze in as much information as possible to highlight their depth of experience and knowledge.

Knowing this, some reviewers might be swayed to review resumes in relation to what they like and dislike. When they do, they run the risk of making decisions based on their biases.

Beware Bias in Your Resume Scoring System

It’s natural to have biases. But relying on them to shape how we review resumes is not a best practice.

Consider these examples related to how a resume is formatted:

  • Some people will be drawn to serif fonts, others to sans serif.
  • Some will appreciate white space and the brevity of bullet points.
  • Others will like correct grammar and complete sentence structure.

In the end, our biases can make us a less-effective reviewer, and prevent us from getting a complete picture of how well someone matches with the job and the company.

A more objective approach is to review resumes through the lens of how well they connect with the specific job opening, starting with a candidate profile.


Reviewing resumes is an essential step in the recruiting process. It can also create an unfortunate bottleneck. Our recent Spotlight, “Reviewing Resumes” is a practical guide that provides tips and tactics meant to help you simply the process as you find your ideal candidate. Read it now.

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Ideally, the work of resume review will start well before any resumes begin filling your applicant tracking system. Have you created your candidate profile already?

In a nutshell, a candidate profile defines what the job entails, and presents something of a portrait of your ideal candidate. Perhaps you created a candidate profile when you posted the job opening or around the time that you created the job description. If you did, then keep this profile nearby as you start the resume review process.

If you have not created a candidate profile, consider making this your next step in the process.

When you set about creating a candidate profile, make it a collaborative effort with other members of your recruiting team, and even draw feedback from employees to hear what qualities and skills they would like to see their next coworker.

The candidate profile adds a level of discipline to your review.

  • Start with a broad list of desired experiences, functional skills, and educational background.
  • Then narrow things down by focusing on key “must-haves”
  • Include the types of omissions, and/or red flags for which you’ll disqualify a candidate right away.

Having a candidate profile on hand provides you with a valuable tool at the beginning of the review process. And one powerful way you can put it to use is as a guide for creating a candidate scoring system.

Your Resume Scoring System Doesn’t Need to be Complicated

Your candidate scoring system does not need to be overly complicated. Ideally, it will reflect the collaborative efforts of everyone on your recruiting team. It can even be as simple as using A, B or C scoring that reflects how well each resume matches up with the job requirements, as well as your candidate profile.

  • To get started, consider deconstructing the job description. Use this information to help identify a position’s most critical qualifications.
  • With a scoring system in place, you can use it in your applicant tracking system to filter resumes throughout the review process.
  • You can also create additional scoring systems as you review, to help you whittle down your list of top candidates.

Having a candidate profile and scoring system in place before you begin reviewing resumes can help you separate your candidates into “yes,” “no” and “maybe” columns quicker and more efficiently than before.


From attracting candidates, to reviewing resumes, to asking the right interview questions, myStaffingPro is built to help you speed up the time-to-hire so you can add the right people to your team. Contact a myStaffingPro representative to learn more about how our applicant tracking system can improve your process.

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