Have you ever gone a little cross-eyed looking over yet another resume that looks just like all the others? We’ve all be there, especially when searching for software developers and other technical roles. So, how do you find the right people? How do you sift through dozens or even hundreds of resumes to locate the person with the appropriate skills, relevant experience and someone who will fit well within your organization? Although there’s no silver bullet, there are ways you can find the right person with less effort.


The first step is to identify relevant candidates. And the best way to do that is by using your network and relying on positive word-of-mouth. IT professionals, for example, are particularly experienced contractors who know a lot of other qualified people. Ask around: these resources might have reliable friends and co-workers who are looking to make a change.


LinkedIn is another great resource. By simply posting a message about your search or skimming through your contacts, you could find the person you’re looking for. The LinkedIn search engine is smart enough to display search results for people who are first, second or third degree connections. Searching for “java developer” or “project manager” could offer a goldmine of results.


Submitting a job posting on monster.com or Workopolis and awaiting responses is a thing of the past. Although people still use this approach, it simply can’t be your only option. But if you do still want to check out these resources, your search criteria is critical–refine it as much as possible to obtain the right number of candidates (20-30 is a good number).


Here are some tips to help find the right fit:

  • Look for people who are looking! If the search engine allows you to indicate a “last updated” timeframe, you should only look for people who have uploaded/updated their resume in the past 2 or 3 weeks. (Note for job seekers: update your resume regularly.)
  • Use the search feature. You can use the search feature to find people with experience in particular industries or companies, not just specific skills. If you’re looking for someone with experience in the airline industry, search for “Air Canada” and see what comes up.
  • Hunt for skills and experience first. Although most systems would recommend against this approach, you don’t necessarily need to search based on job title. Look for the matching expertise skills and experience first – hint: the job title won’t always match coincide with the skillset.
  • Remember that there are many different ways of describing the same thing. If you’re looking for a software developer with experience in secure coding methodologies, try searching for “secure coding”, “CERT”, “OWASP”, “defensive coding”, “code review”, “static code analysis”, “Fortify”, etc.


After you’ve narrowed it down to 20 to 30 resumes, start cross-referencing the information in the resumes with the candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. If they’re not on LinkedIn or they have a LinkedIn account with only 2 connections, it may not be worthwhile keeping them on your shortlist.


This second filter should lead to about 7-10 people to actually call. When you first reach out, confirm they’re still looking and interested in discussing the opportunity you have to offer. In the end, you’ll probably like 2-4 people from the original list of 20-30. Interview the people you think are most suitable and see what happens.


Good luck in your search and let us know how it goes.