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The Sieve™: Speeding up and Standardizing the Process of Resume Evaluation

Michael Yinger


Resume Sieve, Inc.


Michael Yinger


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine

Published – June 28, 2021

CEOCFO: Mr. Yinger, what is the concept behind ResumeSieve?

Mr. Yinger: The concept behind ResumeSieve as a company is to develop SaaS-based products primarily targeted at the small to mid-sized business market, although we can serve larger companies to enhance the productivity of the recruitment process, particularly for the recruiters themselves.

The first product we recently launched is called The Sieve™. It speeds up and standardizes the process of resume evaluation. We ingest however many resumes there are and then those jobs are evaluated against the user’s criteria and returned in rank ordered so that the recruiter or talent acquisition person who is working on the job is then able to determine who they should interview. This results in tremendous time savings and eliminates the manual drudgery of the resume evaluation process in place today for a lot of companies.

CEOCFO: Are most companies, big and small, understanding the need for a better way or is it still somewhat outside the box?  

Mr. Yinger: That is a really good question. What we find is when we talk to people about it, they say our tool makes a whole lot of sense but yet they are not necessarily looking for the solution. There is a certain amount of having to generate the pain that they are in for them because they don’t even realize they are suffering.

CEOCFO: Does the fact that there are so many jobs and so few people that seem to want them these days make it easier or is it harder because employers just cannot find people? What is happening at this point in time that you see as a help or hindrance?

Mr. Yinger: That is a very reasonable issue. The job market circumstances have changed radically in the last few months. As recently as three months ago companies were drowning in resumes and today they are not getting enough as the economy is starting to improve. That perhaps changes the conversation. There are still a lot of industries where they are looking at lots of resumes because there is turnover, so there is still some validity in that context.

What has become more important is whether you already have people internally who might be good at this job rather than going outside and hiring them. Looking at the internal workforce has become very important to these organizations to be able to more effectively use the resources that are already in place.

CEOCFO: You have criteria from a company but there are often subtleties in what a company wants. How does your technology evaluate those aspects?

Mr. Yinger: This first is as the resumes are parsed, they are evaluated for not only work-related skills but soft skills and behavioral skills. Of course, it depends on what is in the resume and then it depends on the person who is creating the evaluation criteria with our tools to use against the resumes. One thing that we have added, that has just gone into production in the last couple of weeks, is the ability to also parse the job description. If you have written a decent job description, then you can break that out and see the skills and use the skills from there for resume evaluation.

The other part of your question around the subtlety or the nuance or perhaps making changes in the evaluation criteria, that is something that we bring to the table. This is much more difficult for other tools that are in the market to execute. For example, if you’re using an applicant tracking system you can ask some prescreening questions and you can use those to evaluate your candidates. However, once you ask the questions, you cannot ask them again, making it almost impossible to reevaluate with new criteria.

With our tool, you start with a set of criteria. You look at the people and realize the criteria is too strong or not strong enough and you can adjust it and re-run it instantaneously. This is something that happens very frequently to recruiters, they show up to the hiring manager, they have these resumes, and they show it to the hiring manager and the hiring manager asks them a what if question that changes the criteria of the evaluation. It is very difficult when it is a bunch of paper resumes or even resumes in an applicant tracking system. With our tool, you could run those “what ifs” all day long, reevaluating them. This makes it much simpler for the recruiter and the hiring manager to fine tune the selection for interviews.

CEOCFO: How does your tool help a company put out a good description?

Mr. Yinger: There are some things we are working on to help the companies build a job description from scratch. In the meantime, I would say that even at its current form The Sieve™ can help with this. As you fine tune a job description that generates people that are successful in the position, you can take that back from The Sieve and put it into your job posting. It is not too much a leap to say, for example, if I have determined this job description really finds the best of whatever this is, I can then use that to modify my job description with those specific characteristics that I have identified as bringing in the best candidate. It is a bit of an iterative process, and it is certainly feasible because you have all the information right there, you can see who was successful and you can use that as criteria to move forward with finding the right candidate in the first place.

CEOCFO: Is there something Resume Sieve might look at in a resume that is unexpected?

Mr. Yinger: One of the features of our tool is once you have rank ordered, you can drill down on an individual to understand how they have scored the way they did and where the skills exist. We were looking at a particular resume and it said they had this particular skill but we could not find it anywhere on their resume. The skill was SaaS, or Software as a Service, but those four letters did not appear anywhere on the resume. Down at the very bottom of the resume in the white spaces was a tiny green square that looked like a green highlight, something we use to show the skill on the resume. That got me curious, so I downloaded the resume, I selected all the text, and changed it to black. This candidate very cleverly pasted the resume on top of the job description and then submitted the entire document, making the job description text white on a white background. You can begin to see those kinds of things, the little games that people play.

One thing that we do very quickly for the recruiters is to calculate the shortest tenure and also the average tenure. These can point to the possibility of job hopping. I am not saying all job hoppers are bad. I am saying that this may be an indicator the recruiter can look at to see if this person has some stick-to-it-iveness. We look for those insights of on the resume to make it easier for the recruiter to evaluate the applicant without having the review the entire document. There is some subtly here because it is almost a certainty that no two resumes are the same. They are not formatted the same, they are not written in the same order, they highlight different things and if for example you wanted to determine the average tenure for a candidate, that could be very difficult on a resume-to-resume basis but now we are doing it for them automatically, making it easier for them to look for that indicator.

CEOCFO: Diversity is a big issue today.  Where does that come into play with The Sieve™?

Mr. Yinger: It is something that we talk a lot about. Our intention in the way we have the tool set up is to eliminate the ability to rank with bias. In other words, if you have 100 resumes, you have to rank all 100 of them. We will rank the resumes, good, bad or indifferent. It really does move away from the differential ranking that can occur when someone looks at a name or a school or an address. We are ranking them based on the skills criteria. It does not eliminate the people side of making those kinds of choices, which is a challenge any time people are part of the decision process.

I think if you talk to people in the recruiting space, where most of this occurs is not with the people who are presenting the slate, rather who is selected through the interview process. We are ranking people based on their skill set and based on what they have done in their resume. What somebody does with that information after this is what a company should be considering.

CEOCFO: How are you reaching out and to whom?

Mr. Yinger: I said at the top that our primary market is small to mid-sized businesses, although we have several large businesses, we are talking to that like the way the tool operates. There are literally tens of millions of companies in the US and three of four times that globally. What we have done is to identify what an ideal client looks like.  We are using social media, advertising and targeted phone calls and emails to our ideal client. Initially, we are focused on tech, staffing and healthcare as verticals within the larger group of small to mid-sized businesses. We are also beginning to target not-for-profits, as well as franchise companies. While it is the small to mid-sized market, our focus is the drill into specific industries.

We understand who the decision makers are in that industry and also what the problems are they are having. Take healthcare for example, they have not only a lack of people problem but also a turnover problem, so they have a different issue they are trying to solve versus a tech company that is looking for often a very complex set of skills. We allow somebody to put in a number of skills so they can find the person that has the right combination for them. That is our primary focus, those particular industries initially.

We do blog posts, we write small articles, appear on podcasts, interviews like this one, all just to get people familiar with our name, which is a pretty critical element these days of selling in an online world; people have to know who you are before they are willing to buy from you. That is the phase we are in today.

CEOCFO: What changed from concept to actual product? What have you learned as you were putting Resume Sieve together?

Mr. Yinger: The macro thing that changed is we could not do as much as we wanted. We had plans for how much we wanted to accomplish given how much money we had to spend, how much time we had to work with and so forth. Because what we wanted to do turned out to be pretty significant, we had to cut back from what we originally planned. The other thing that has changed was the focus on handling all the people that you have sourced externally because there were so many external candidates. This was true at the outset of our journey, particularly last fall.  Now the focus is helping companies see the opportunity to work with internal resources that are already in place. This has not generated a significant change in the application. What has changed is what the use cases are that we believe we can enable and then building the evidence to demonstrate those.

CEOCFO: Are you seeking investing, funding or partnerships as you move forward?

Mr. Yinger: We started out with internal seed funding. We have raised some additional money internally and externally and we are pursuing crowd funding. We will use the investment to help grow a little more quickly, put a little more oomph into our marketing campaign.

CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Resume Sieve? Why is the company important?

Mr. Yinger: I think there are a couple of points of importance. The first is that there is a significant issue with the process of evaluating resumes. And there are no good solutions like ours in the market. I have been in talent acquisition for almost 20 years and if we looked at the combined talent acquisition experience of our board and our key leadership team, it is close to 100 years of experience. We have seen the pain that we are addressing around resume review. We think we are helping people see the pain and then see a way out of the pain.

The other thing that differentiates us, and particularly as we talk to people who might invest, is that a lot of the HR tech product set that is out there today is focused on are companies at the top of the pyramid, the large companies. That is where the money is, you sell one company and make more money from it, where we are really focusing from the bottom up.

Our product works anywhere, and we are happy to talk to large companies about it, and it is the small companies that really need the help. This is where you have an HR manager who in addition to doing everything else that involves HR is trying to spend a certain amount of time every week doing recruiting. You tell them you can help them reduce their time spent evaluating resumes by as much as 70%, that can be a life saver in terms of what that person wants to do. It is the market focus that makes the difference, and we think that is going to be appealing to an investor.

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“There is a significant issue with the process of evaluating resumes. And there are no good solutions like ours in the market.”
Michael Yinger