Resume Screening using Machine Learning & NLP

resume screening and shortlisting using machine learning

In today’s job market, there are many qualified candidates vying for the same position. So, how do you weed out the applicants who are not a good fit for your company? One way to do this is by using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to screen resumes. By using machine learning and NLP to screen resumes, you can more efficiently identify candidates who have the skills and qualifications you are looking for. In this blog, we will learn different aspects of screening and selecting / shortlisting candidates for further processing using machine learning & NLP techniques. 

Key Challenges for Resume Screening / Shortlisting

Resume screening is the process of reviewing resumes to identify candidates who possess the skills and experience required for a particular position. Resume shortlisting is the process of selecting a smaller pool of candidates from the larger group of screened applicants. Resume screening and shortlisting can be time-consuming and challenging, especially for high-volume hiring. Some key challenges related to resume screening and shortlisting include:

  • It can be difficult to identify the most qualified candidates from a large pool of applicants. Lot of shortlisted resume turns out to be inappropriate (false positives)
  • Resume screening can be time-consuming and potentially biased if not done carefully.
  • There is always the risk that a promising candidate may be overlooked if their resume does not meet all of the criteria for the job (false negatives).
  • Resumes can be long and detailed, making it difficult to identify relevant information.
  • Resumes may not always reflect a candidate’s true skills and abilities.
  • Candidates may omit important information or downplay their qualifications in order to appear more qualified than they actually are.

Some of the above listed challenges underscore the importance of using an effective resume screening and shortlisting strategy. By taking the time to carefully review each resume and using a standardized checklist, employers can ensure that they identify the best candidates for the job.

Machine Learning / NLP use cases for Resume Processing

There are many potential use cases for Machine Learning and NLP in resume processing.

  • Resume screening: Resume screening is a process that is often used by employers to narrow down the pool of job applicants. The process can be time-consuming and arduous, especially if the employer is looking through a large number of resumes. However, machine learning algorithms can be used to help automate the process.  Machine Learning (ML) / NLP could be used to automatically screen resumes for minimum qualifications, such as education level or years of work experience. Entity recognition, for example, can be used to identify and extract key information from resumes, such as skills, qualifications and work experience (company names).  This can be especially helpful when reviewing a large number of resumes, as it can help to quickly identify those that are most likely to be a good fit. This would save time for recruiters, who would otherwise have to manually review each resume. ML models can also be used to score resumes, so that the best ones are given more attention. In addition, machine learning models (classification) can be used to find / classify resumes with probability score which can be indicative of success in a particular job. For example, if a job requires customer service skills, ML classification models can be used to identify resumes that mention customer service experience. 
  • Resume shortlisting: Resume shortlisting is the process of identifying a subset of resumes that are most relevant to a given job opening. The goal of resume shortlisting is to minimize the time and effort required to find qualified candidates by using machine learning algorithms to automatically identify relevant resumes.  Machine learning / NLP could also be used to shortlist the most qualified candidates by extracting key words and phrases from resumes. ML / NLP can be used to identify key skills and experience mentioned in a resume. These skills and experiences can then be used to group these elements together and compare them against a set of predetermined criteria. This can help to quickly identify applicants who are a good match for a particular role.
  • Resume flagging for anomalies: NLP could be used to identify red flags, such as resumes that contain errors or potentially misleading information or gaps in employment or excessive job-hopping. A classification model can be trained to classify resumes with different labels such as Green, Red and Review (when model is not confident enough). 


If you’re looking for a more efficient way to screen resumes for shortlisting candidates, look no further than machine learning and NLP. By using these technologies, you can more accurately identify which applicants are qualified for the position and weed out those who are not a good fit. This can save you time and help you find the best candidate for the job.

Ajitesh Kumar
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Ajitesh Kumar

I have been recently working in the area of Data analytics including Data Science and Machine Learning / Deep Learning. I am also passionate about different technologies including programming languages such as Java/JEE, Javascript, Python, R, Julia, etc, and technologies such as Blockchain, mobile computing, cloud-native technologies, application security, cloud computing platforms, big data, etc. For latest updates and blogs, follow us on Twitter. I would love to connect with you on Linkedin. Check out my latest book titled as First Principles Thinking: Building winning products using first principles thinking. Check out my other blog,
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