The NKBA List: Top Ways to Automate the Hiring Process

posted on Nov. 06, 2019, at 9:14 a.m.

NKBA Staff

Efficiently managing the chore of résumé reviews can be a huge timesaver. By Rikka Brandon, Building Gurus

Finding employees is time consuming and, chances are, you’re too busy running a business to want to waste too much time trying to score the perfect new hire.

The solution? Put automated systems in place. These tricks can help narrow down applicants and find the right person more efficiently.

System 1: Automated Email

Rather than replying to every résumé you receive, set up an automated system:

1: Create an email address for résumés to go to, preferably one under your business URL. For example,

2: Set up an autoresponder that lets the candidates know what they can expect next. This serves the dual purpose of letting them know you got their résumé and as a rejection letter for the candidates you won’t be interviewing.


Subject: Thank you!

Thank you for submitting your résuméto Jill’s Kitchens; we appreciate your interest in our job opening. We will be reviewing résumés within 10 days of their receipt and will be contacting qualified candidates to arrange the next step in the process. If you don’t hear from us within 14 days of your submittal, please assume that we are pursuing candidates who fit our needs more closely.

We appreciate your interest in our company. You can learn more at [insert link to website or hiring/jobs landing page].

Have a great day!

[insert signature]

*Note: This email box is not monitored; please don’t reply to this message to check on the status of your application.

With this setup, all of your applications are safely in one location, each applicant knows their résumé has been received, and there’s no need to draft a formal rejection letter.

System 2: RYG

Even with a dedicated email for résumés, managing even a handful of candidates for open positions can be overwhelming. “Red-Yellow-Green” is a system I came up with in my early days of recruiting to help stay organized, and it has worked for me ever since.

Red is for your “Why on earth did they apply? They are so not a fit” candidates. Red means stop, don’t waste any more time on this candidate.

Yellow means they have some good stuff, maybe it will work out…I can’t quite decide.

And, of course, Green means go. This label is for awesome candidates you know you absolutely want to talk to.

When you’re opening up the email responses to your job ad, review the résumé and put in the subject line “GREEN. [candidate’s name] [ideal position]” or “YELLOW. [candidate’s name] [ideal position].” (For red, I just mark them with “RED.”)

This seemingly simple action can help you get a handle on an inbox full of résumés and quickly identify which you want to approach for interviews, rather than having to keep reopening and reviewing emails because you can’t remember what you thought of them.

10-Second Resumé Review

The RYG system relies on you being able to quickly review a résumé to determine which candidates deserve a more in-depth look (i.e., a Green or Yellow label). Rapid-fire résumé scanning allows you to cull obviously unqualified applicants from the batch and focus the bulk of your time on the right candidates.

This process comes down to one rule: I’m looking for reasons they won’t work.

1. Check location first.

Do they live in the right area? Is it a reasonable commute?

2. Read over their titles.

Are the titles in line with the position I’m looking for? If I’m looking for a Territory Sales Rep and they’ve been a Sales Manager for the past five years, I will likely move on — unless it’s clear by their résumé that they don’t have direct reports. Titles and responsibilities vary greatly from company to company, so be sure to verify your assumption by quickly scanning their achievements in the position.

3. Check their channels or customer base.

Is their experience in the right channel? For example, are they designing and selling ready-to-assemble cabinets to production builders but you’re a high-end, luxury custom cabinet company?

4. Skip down to successes.

Does their résumé include quantifiable examples of their success? I want to know someone knows their numbers and can “prove” their successes, especially if they’re heading for a sales position.

5. Is the résumé visually appealing?

It might sound a bit snobby, but a résumé is supposed to be a candidate’s best foot forward. If it’s a mess or disorganized, I tend to assume the candidate won’t be too concerned with the quality of work they do for me. (That said, if a mess of a résumé has the right stuff, I’ll forgo this rule and talk to them.)

Once I’ve narrowed it down to the 10% to 20% of applicants who fit the criteria, I examine their credentials closely before choosing whom to contact. Because frankly, I prefer to spend my time talking to people who have a more-than-reasonable chance of being a good fit.

Rikka Brandon is the founder and Chief Executive Recruiter of Building Gurus, a boutique executive search and consulting firm that works exclusively with kitchen and bath and building product companies across the U.S. Rikka is a member of NKBA’s Leadership Recruitment Committee. She is also the author of the Amazon best seller Hire Power.

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