What are the most common traditional resume screening challenges


April 28, 2023

Recruiters and hiring managers often rely on traditional resume screening techniques when evaluating job applicants. From reviewing resumes for keywords to those infamous cover letters, it can be easy to miss the mark when it comes to the evaluation process.

Traditional resume screening can certainly be helpful in narrowing down a pool of potential candidates, but it is not without its challenges. Hiring teams need to stay current on emerging trends and best practices to maximize the effectiveness of their screening processes.

This article will discuss some of the most common challenges associated with traditional resume screening practices and provide actionable advice for overcoming them. We will also offer some tips on how recruiters can ensure they are getting an accurate picture of potential candidates so they can make the best hiring decisions possible.

Time-consuming process

If you’re in charge of finding new talent for your team, you know how challenging traditional resume screening can be. Between sifting through countless resumes to find the right candidate, and digging through piles of paperwork for references or other information, the whole process is incredibly time consuming. It’s a labor-intensive process that can be difficult to scale as your team grows.

Not only is resume screening time-consuming, but it also requires an inordinate amount of effort to find the right person for the job. You have to carefully review each candidate’s history and qualifications individually, a task that can become more daunting with every new resume received. With a limited amount of time and resources, this can make it difficult to find the best person for the position.

Moreover, if your organization doesn’t have a standardized hiring process that people follow, you may end up with even more headaches. Without clear criteria to judge candidates on, you may find yourself unable to make an informed decision about who should fill the job opening making it even harder to stick within tight recruiting budgets or timelines. All in all, traditional resume screening is a burdensome task that can quickly eat up precious resources.

Inconsistency in evaluation criteria

When it comes to traditional resume screening, there is often a problem with inconsistencies in evaluation criteria. Without being able to see a candidate in person, or being able to ask them questions relevant to their job, recruiters are left with only the information from a candidate’s resume and cover letter.

This can lead to subjective evaluations based on resume content and personal biases. For instance, a recruiter may prefer candidates with more experience or specific qualifications that their resume reflects rather than the skills needed for the job. Similarly, if a candidate’s resume is formatted differently than what is expected, it may be overlooked.

The result of this type of inconsistency is that some qualified candidates are screened out while others make it through the process who may not have been the best fit for the role. To combat this issue, recruiters should take steps toward standardizing their evaluation process and remain open-minded when considering candidates with non-traditional resumes.

Difficulty identifying transferable skills

Traditional resume screening can be tricky when it comes to identifying transferable skills in applicants. That’s because recruiters often use blanket phrases to describe their experiences, like ‘worked with a team’, which is not enough info to determine if they have the necessary skills for the job you are hiring for.

Plus, resumes can be misleading. Candidates might list a job title that sounds impressive but the responsibilities were mundane and don’t actually make them suitable for the role being screened for. It is not an easy task to determine someone’s true skillset without further investigation.

When deciding whether an applicant is a good fit, recruiters should look beyond traditional resume screening and pay attention to really important aspects such as:

  • Their work ethics
  • Their ability to think on their own
  • Their adaptability
  • Their attitude towards learning new skills and taking on new challenges.

These are all criteria that traditional screening methods often overlook. So it is important to take time to identify applicants with the right fit at the start of the recruitment process, or else you can find yourself in a situation where your team is filled with people who don’t have the necessary skillset for success.

High volume of applications

When it comes to traditional resume screening and identifying the best candidates for a role, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is dealing with a high volume of applications. This can make it hard to sift through on your own and can also lead to a lot of time being wasted on reviewing resumes that aren’t necessarily the right fit.

To make sure that you’re able to review each application quickly and accurately you receive, there are a few steps you can take:

  1. Implement an automated screening process that will allow you to quickly eliminate applications based on certain criteria.
  2. Utilize resume parsing technology to help break down the structure of resumes into easily searchable fields, so that you can find candidates more quickly.
  3. Follow up with applicants in a timely manner, so that they don’t feel like their application is lost in the shuffle or ignored due to the high volume of applicants.

By taking these proactive steps to address the issue of high volume of applications during traditional resume screening, you’ll be able to tackle this challenge head-on and make sure that each candidate gets treated fairly and respectfully during the process.

Limited information on resumes

One of the most common resume screening challenges you may encounter is having limited information on resumes. After all, resumes are usually only a page or two and rarely have comprehensive information on past experiences or skills. Resumes may not provide a comprehensive view of a candidate’s capabilities and potential, making it difficult to assess whether they fit the role.

Overemphasis on keywords

When it comes to traditional resume screening, one of the most common challenges is an overemphasis on keywords. Sure, HR teams, recruiters, and hiring managers can search for all the right keywords in a resume, but this approach can easily lead to overlooking a great candidate.

You see, the problem with focusing too much on keyword matching is twofold. Firstly, you may be missing out on qualified candidates who simply don’t use the same word or phrase that you are searching for. Secondly, by relying on this approach exclusively, you could be passing over invaluable qualities such as interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence as qualities that are essential for top performing employees.

Missing out on qualified candidates

Have you ever wondered why you might be missing out on qualified candidates when screening resumes? It’s because traditional resume screening methods can leave out good candidates for several reasons.

For one, resume screenings are done too quickly, without enough attention to detail to really understand the candidate’s qualifications. This might lead to a situation where an experienced or talented candidate is overlooked.

So if you’re not getting enough qualified candidates with your current resume screening process, it could be time to rethink your approach and make sure that no one slips through the cracks.

Reliance on applicant self-reporting

Did you realize that traditional resume screening relies on applicant self-reporting? This means that applicants will only submit the information they want to supply, leaving employers in the dark about an important part of the hiring process.

Self-reporting can lead to information inconsistency because applicants can list skills or experiences they do or don’t have, and sometimes misreport their experience level. Also, it’s possible for job seekers to misrepresent themselves by exaggerating qualifications on their resume. All of this leads employers to make decisions based on inaccurate information.


Clearly, traditional resume screening comes with its fair share of challenges. From the potential of automated resume screening tools to overlook qualified candidates to the issue of unconscious bias in candidate selection, traditional resume screening can often fail to offer an objective overview.

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