Is resume keyword counting an accurate means of evaluating talent?

Does counting keywords fill positions? Is measuring frequency of relevant keywords within a resume an accurate means of evaluating talent? Do top applicants slip through the cracks because recruiters are relying heavily on seeking out buzzwords which may be lacking on a resume?

I decided to answer these question myself by going through my last 15 placement/hire stats and analyzing the results from within the ResuWe Applicant Tracking System.

A few quick points about this study:

- I'm using ResuWe as a 3rd party/agency recruiter and the 15 hires were made by multiple client companies throughout the US.

- The 15 hires represent a snapshot of position types ranging from Procurement Managers, Engineers, IT Directors, and a Thermal Processing Specialist...yes, Thermal Processing.

- Total applicants per each job is based on applicants who have applied from online postings (Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, Craigslist, etc.) and applicants searched from within our internal database.


Below is a screenshot from one of the searches. In this case, the hired applicant ranks #1 and lives 5 miles from the job location. Matching keywords are displayed above the applicant's resume and clicking a keyword
highlights that keyword throughout the resume body. I needed to find a solid Engineer with catheter experience so clicking on "catheter" above highlights the word occurrences below.

















Each applicant's keyword score is based upon the count of unique keywords within the applicant's resume which match up against each job's boolean search string. ResuWe Employer automatically extracts the keywords from a job description into a basic boolean s... as seen below.


The following are the results from the past 15 hires. The stats measure the Applicant's score, Max score (top scoring applicant), Rank (hired applicant amongst all applicants), Distance from the position, Total Applicants per the position, and the Percentile.


The Results:

- More than half the applicants rank in the 90th percentile - Top 10% of total applicants.

- 9 of the 15 applicants rank in the top 10.

- 12 of 15 rank in the top 20.

- The 5 applicants in the lowest percentile tend to be for jobs with fewer total applicants (sample size). I'm not getting into correlation and regression analysis. That's where I draw the line!
- The lowest ranking applicant at 47 has a well written resume but was lacking many of the keywords within the job's boolean string. He was from a top/well known company so I'm crediting the parsing system for displaying his company name.


So how do we translate all the number crunching?

The old 80/20 rule applies.
The total hired applicant ranking percentile is 91%. Let's be safe and double this to approx 80% so we don't miss out on other top applicants. So you can read through the top 20% of applicants and have a very high probability of viewing the best talent.

Ranking and scoring applicants saves time.
You still need to read through resumes but reading through the top 20% per position is 5X more effective.

Utilizing an Applicant Tracking System will also save time.
We've all had positions which generate a flood of applicants. Imagine opening up 293 emails and resume attachments to fill a local Engineering position. So many applicants apply with little to no relevant experience and from outside the area.

An Applicant Tracking System like ResuWe Employer automatically parses resumes and ranks applicants so you can quickly scan through applicants by keyword score, distance, job title, and company. It also makes scanning and reading through resumes easy with matching and non-matching keywords and keyword highlighting.

Save even more time with Premium Applicant Notifications.
ResuWe Employer
can notify you only when Premium Applicants apply to your positions. You can enable this feature so you are sent an email the second a high ranking local applicant applies to one of your positions.


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