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Submitted by tschmidt24 on


I listened to the 'How to Do a Phone Screen' cast, and I have some questions. Does everyone divide resumes into 3 piles - Yes, No and Maybe? If so, how do you handle the "No" pile? Do you email or call to let them know they aren't going to be considered? 

Do you do phone screens with everyone in the "Yes" and "Maybe" pile? 

pucciot's picture
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Usually I gather a small team, perhaps two others, to help.

* How do we separate the piles ?

We Grade the Resumes based on 4 criteria - one grade for each criteria :

Overall Presentation of Resume
Experience / Accomplishments

Grades A - B - or- C


All three of us review and Grade all of the Resumes
Then I get them and Collate them.
The top ten (or so) Resumes with the most "A's" Become my short list to start consideration for phone screenings. Usually down to 5 applicants (or less)

If there is not enough time for Option 1
- I will do the grading on my own - as the first culling Pass

And then pass my Short List, perhaps top 20 resumes to the other two team members for their grades.

Then I collate what they return to me, and make that the short list of the top 10 resumes to consider for Phone Screening. - Usually down to 5 applicants (or less)

We also do small team interviewing.

I will do the Phone Screening on my own and then pick the final 3 or 4 candidates to bring in-person.

Then the whole team of us will participate in the in-person interviews. ( A topic for another time)

* How do we handle the communication ?
Fortunately, our organization has it all computerized.
We can change the status of the applicant to "Not Hired - Send an Email" - and the computer system will automatically send them an email that tells them.
--- If they are a clear "NO" I change the status and they are sent the email immediately
--- If they are maybe then I keep them all until the new candidate is hired and arrives for his first day. (Because, once I change their status in the system their application is lost to me - If a candidate accepts and then changes heir mind before the first day I can't go back to the application pool)

I hope this helps.


Kevin1's picture

I've had as many as 150 applicants for a single role and as few as 3.  What I've found is that 90% of applicaitons are a clear no as they have either not read the advertisement, not addressed it at all in their application, or simply don't match the requirements of the role at all.

These get an automatic thanks for appying mail from the email address I set up for applicaitons, but they won't get the sorry you didn't make it through to the next stage until I am sending these out in bulk.

The remaining 10% will be scrutinised more closely into a piles of Could do the job, Probably could do the job, and On 2nd thoughts, they probably can't do the job.

I'll then choose who to interview. It could be all of them.  However, I will usually prioritise the list and start with the most promising.  

Once an offer is made and accepted, anyone not already notified that they have not progressed to the next stage is immediately thanked for their interest and notified of the same.




management91's picture

My company has been using an automated system for the past few months. It allows candidates to apply online and we are able to easily sort through each submission. 

It makes the screening process a lot quicker. After we sort through the candidates we like, we offer video interviewing - both recorded and live. It saves our time and the candidates time. There's a lot more information on this site:

timrutter's picture

It ay be easier but try being on the other end of that. It's utterly soul destroying and not unlike the film "Up In The Air" when laying off people by video call


tschmidt24's picture
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Thank you for your help. Its really made going thru this next round of applicants more efficient.

Tressie William's picture

You can put candidates in 3 categories, but it's necessary to call those candidates whom you are selecting. Avoid calling rejected candidates, you can simply tell them at the end of the interview that you will call them if you'll consider them.

mrreliable's picture

I've always made it a point to contact applicants who we do not intend to hire. Call it good manners, marketing, whatever. It's a small world and you never know who you're going to run into down the road, especially considering these people are in the same line of work as you. We have the expectation of being treated with respect by applicants, and IMO we should give them the courtesy of a response whether they're successful or not.