Recruitment: How to effectively sort through resumes when hiring

Jon Condon, August 13, 2015

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sheep handling recruitment staffTWO weeks ago, we looked at how to write an effective job ad to attract the right candidates for the role you were hiring for – click here to view previous article.

But once you’ve attracted a pool of candidates, how can you best tackle the pile of applications in order to find the right person for the job?

Trying to sift through a flood of resumes is not only taxing but also time-consuming – even for larger businesses in the sheepmeat or wool supply chain – so for small business owners or managers, it can become quite overwhelming.

Thankfully there are methods to make the process easier:


Set time aside to review applications

It is important that time be scheduled to go over resumes, rather than skim them as they are sent in.

Wait until after the closing date specified on the job ad to begin looking over submissions. Creating an effective system to properly sort suitable resumes from those that are unsuitable, will save you time and effort in the long run.

When beginning the process, make sure to decide on key criteria to filter the applications.

These will be the most important attributes, qualifications and skills you are looking for in a candidate and should have been made clear in the job ad or have been labelled your “necessities.”

They could include ‘must have at least 2 years’ experience in a similar role’, ‘must have a Heavy Vehicle Licence’, ‘must have prior experience in commodity trading’ or ‘must be available to start ASAP’.


Sort your applications

Once you are clear on these non-negotiable attributes, you can begin to narrow down the selection.

Create separate folders either in your email inbox or in your computer’s documents area – one where you can place those that possess the key criteria, and those that do not.

Start scanning each resume and those that do not meet your initial filter, can be immediately placed into the ‘unsuccessful’ folder.

Once you have a selection of applicants that do meet your key criteria, you can begin to look more closely at each application and determine which warrant an interview.

Also keep in mind that some applicants may go through the interview round and then decline the job offer, so keep all applications on hand throughout the hiring process that you can easily refer back to if need be.


Determining who to interview

Now that you have isolated applicants who have the skills and attributes you require, you can look more closely at their work experience, background, education and skills to determine who will be successful in gaining an interview.

If a resume is full of mistakes, errors and not written in a clear format, it may generally tell you that the applicant will not put in the effort required for the role.

If you asked for a cover letter with the job ad, read through these and determine which applicants have put in the effort, addressed the key criteria and showed they are determined to get the job.

Some employers also choose to do online searches of potential candidates, such as on Facebook or LinkedIn, to gain a greater understanding of the applicants.

Once you have determined who you would like to interview, contact each person and arrange appropriate times.

Remember as an employer, it is smart to keep all resumes you receive on file, even those unsuitable for any positions at your business. This is not only for future positions that become available, but also in case an applicant accuses you of discrimination by not hiring them. That way you will have easy access to that application and any notes you may have included with it.

Candidates that were unsuccessful for one role might have the skills and qualifications needed for another, so it is always useful to store and save all job applications for future reference.


Source: Meat Processors Pty Ltd





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  1. Brian Gray, August 15, 2015

    Other than major companies, who thankfully are genuine in their search for the correct employee, the vast majority of people looking for good employees still refuse to put their contact details on the advertisement.
    Pick up a newspaper carrying job vacancies and you will note, 75 percent of all advertisers list as follows.
    Please email resumes including, name, a full work history, including driver’s license type, firearms license, other licenses, family etc to the following. [email protected].
    Old saying – if you want peanuts, hire monkeys – and that’s exactly what you will get with an advertisement such as this.
    Having a mobile or contact you can speak with, prior to sending a resume via email, is a must.
    At least state, in your advertisement the location of the position. You don’t need to be exact, but a good indication where the position is, eg; Northern Rivers, Southern Highlands, Western NSW, Central West. There is nothing worse than applying for a position, when you know nothing of where you may be located. You don’t need to name the property or town, just a general area. (Do you think everyone will just jump at the opportunity to move 1000km, if need be, just to work for you?)
    There is a huge need for experienced staff in the livestock, farming and ag industry. You will get no-one of good stead by playing it cunning; in fact it shows your weakness towards staff. Sure, you will get 10-20 resumes, all of whom will let you down.
    I, like many of the quality managers out there, will not email blind, all my personal details to an email address of someone who hasn’t the decency to put their name to the advertisement. How many times do you delete emails from overseas scammers looking for all your personal details?
    Want good staff, want the pick of the bunch, get your game together and be honest, or pay someone to get you the best.

    Full names required in future for reader comments please Brian, as per our long-standing comments policy: Editor

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