Indeed resume search is a feature of Indeed.com that lets employers and recruiters do a free search of over 150 million resumes. It’s a great way to search for passive candidates. While the resume search is free, you’ll need to pay $100 per month for a subscription that lets you contact up to 30 candidates directly through Indeed.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to search for resumes on Indeed and explain their sorting and filtering options so you can find the best candidates fast. We’ll also share an email template for contacting potential candidates once you’ve found them.
How to Search Resumes for Free on Indeed in 6 Steps
Getting started recruiting on Indeed is very simple. We at Fit Small Business recently filled a digital marketing position using Indeed, so we’ll show you how we conducted our own resume search as an example, following the steps below.
Step 1: Create a Free Employer Account on Indeed
Although anyone can search for resumes on Indeed, you’ll need an Indeed account to see candidate names and contact the candidates you like.
A best practice is to create a specific business email address to use for hiring so that candidate emails don’t fill up your regular email account. Consider something like ‘email@example.com’.
Step 2: Start with Indeed’s Simple Free Resume Search
From the homepage of Indeed, click “Find Resumes” in the upper left corner menu bar.
Then enter a keyword and location. It’s that easy.
You can also search by job type, education level and location as we will show farther down in this article. However, for our open position at Fit Small Business, we initially searched using the words “digital marketing” in New York City.Right off the bat, we found over 12,000 potential candidates. This included all resumes with “digital” and “marketing” in the title or body text of the resume, and only those who reside within the ‘default’ of 25 miles from our location. This, obviously, is way too many to sort through. Instead, we narrowed it down using Indeed’s advanced search, which we cover in the next step.
Step 3: Get More Targeted Results Using Indeed’s Advanced Resume Search
Advanced search is the best way to target specific job seeker resumes on Indeed. It allows you to search millions of current online resumes for specific words, phrases, job titles, companies, years of work experience, name of school, degree, field of study, and location.
Maybe you aren’t getting enough applicants to your job posting or want more control over finding good candidates. Indeed allows you to source your own candidates that match your job description, making it way more affordable than contacting them using social media tools like LinkedIn InMail or Recruiter.
Once we selected advanced search, we searched for the exact phrase “digital marketing” in our example. This rules out candidates who have marketing experience, but not digital marketing specifically.
Next, we added a few more skills related to the job. Ideally, we wanted a candidate who had experience with SEO (search engine optimization), PR and WordPress. While none of these alone are deal breakers, we wanted our candidate to have at least one of these additional skills. To add them to our search, we’ll enter the words under “at least one of these words.”
This returned fewer resumes, but 8,000+ is still too many to read through in an afternoon — even if we sorted them by date.
Step 4: Use Indeed’s Robust Filtering Options To Narrow Down Results
To narrow down our results to a manageable number, we used Indeed‘s filtering tools. The filter options are listed in the left-hand column after you make a search.
The first two filtering options are by distance and last updated date:
- Distance – Within how many miles (from 5 to 100) of your city do you want to search for applicants? The last thing you want is to get excited about a candidate who winds up having an unrealistic commute to your office (this filter may be irrelevant if you hire remote staff however).
- Last Updated – Shows resumes that have been updated in the last day, week, month, or all resumes regardless of how old they are.
The remainder of the search criteria focus on filtering for job specific information:
- Job Type – Choose to view only resumes for people looking for full time, part time, contract, internships or even commission-based jobs.
- Job Title – Indeed will show you the range of job titles that came up during your search, such as “Marketing Director” and “SEO Specialist.” (Indeed also has a job trends search tool.) This can be helpful if you’re looking for people who have held specific roles, and allows you to find candidates even if the job title they use isn’t the same exact title you searched for.
- Years of Work Experience – Filter candidates based on their years of work history. But be cautious. Indeed adds work experience together – for example one year of digital marketing plus five years of shoe sales = 6 years.
- Education – Indeed allows you to filter candidates based on their education level, from high-school diploma through doctorate degree.
- Companies – Indeed will also list past companies that candidates worked at. You can identify candidates who have worked in similar businesses or in industries where you want to recruit from. Using “advanced search” is another way to find specific companies.
Criteria Used to Filter Our Resume Search
To narrow down digital marketing resumes for Fit Small Business, we made several adjustments:
- We set the distance to 5 miles. New York City is a big place and our candidates will likely need to be within the 5 boroughs to be within commuting distance.
- We left “last updated” to within last month so we’d likely get job seekers who are still available.
- We looked only for those who want full time work.
- We wanted them to have at least 3 years of experience.
- We wanted only those with a bachelor’s degree.
We wanted to see only the most relevant resumes first, so we left the “Sort by” option on relevance, which is the default. At the top of the left hand column, you can choose to sort candidates in one of two ways:
- by relevance (to your keywords); or
- by date resume was last updated
While Indeed tends to have mostly up-to-date resumes, they can be a few months, or even a few years old. You’re far more likely to hear back from a candidate who uploaded their resume more recently. And notice that you can see which resumes are most recently updated in orange text.
Ultimately, after the filtering, we had 68 resumes to search through — sorted by those most relevant first. Perfect!
Step 5: View Resumes on Indeed
Indeed makes it very easy to scan through resumes at a glance. As you hover over each candidate’s name, a preview of the individual’s work history will pop up.
Indeed will automatically highlight your keywords within their resume, so you can immediately identify your top picks.
Clicking on a “View Full Resume” link will bring you to the full resume which you can save, forward, or download for free. However, you’ll notice no contact information is provided.
The only thing you can’t do for free is contact the candidate through Indeed. So, on to the next step!
Step 6: Contact Candidates Through Indeed Email
So you’ve found the perfect candidate, but now comes the tricky part. How do you reach out to them?
Indeed offers resume search packages that start at $100 per month if you want to reach out to candidates you’ve found through Indeed or obtain their contact information. To contact them, click the button on the right-hand side of the screen. You will be asked to complete your registration if you haven’t already created an account, and provide payment information based on the subscription you choose. For example, the standard subscription allows up to 30 contacts per month for $100, or you could upgrade to the premium subscription to contact up to 100 job seekers for $250 per month.
A recruiting message is like a cold sales email. Since the person hasn’t applied to your company, they’re considered a passive candidate. You want to grab their attention quickly, and offer a simple way to follow up. So personalize your email. Like a sales email, it’s easy for candidates to pass it off as spam, or think it’s an ingenuine mass email. Instead, point out specific areas of their resume that sparked your interest, and describe the job in a way that may catch their attention. See our example below.
Sample Email Message to a Passive Candidate
Here’s a sample email recruiting message template, that you can copy or download:
Hello [first name],
I am an employer and came across your resume on Indeed today. Your previous work history sparked my interest. In particular, I noticed that you [point out specific skill or experience that may be relevant to your job opening].
I was wondering if you have a phone number or email address so I could contact you about [describe job opportunity here] we have in our company.
We’re [explain company in 1 sentence]. We provide our employees [explain unique benefits, like flexible hours or unlimited vacation time].
Hope to hear from you soon!
[insert your signature & provide contact Information: phone, email, website]
Generally speaking, avoid mentioning compensation in the initial email. You’re better off to negotiate salary later on after you learn more about their qualifications and can determine whether they are a good match for your open job role.
For specific tips on using Indeed to find other job candidates, like IT or marketing candidates, or to set up your own recruitment page on Indeed, check out our other helpful articles:
- How to recruit marketing candidates on Indeed
- How to recruit IT and admin candidates on Indeed
- How to set up your own company & careers page on Indeed
- How to get the most out of your Indeed job posting
Follow Up on Social Media like LinkedIn
If you don’t want to pay to contact the candidate through Indeed, or don’t hear back from the candidate in a couple of days, consider following up on LinkedIn as an option by searching for the candidate by name. Although Indeed messages are sent to the their personal email address, candidates may miss the email, or mistake it for spam.
Not all candidates will respond, but it’s worth reaching out this way so that potential candidates realize your first message wasn’t spam, and you increase your chances of getting a reply.
How to Search for a Specific Individual on Indeed
The easiest way to search for a specific person’s resume on Indeed is to use the “advanced search” feature. Key in information about the individual, such as name and location. Indeed will search the text of all resumes to find ones that match this exact criteria.
You may want to use this type of search if someone suggested you talk to a candidate, and you want to learn more about them by looking for their specific resume online.
Example showing how to search for one particular person using Indeed
Once you get a short list of results, you can scroll through the resumes to see which resume belongs to the exact person you’re looking for.
The Rest of the Hiring Process
So you’ve identified and contacted your top candidates. What next?
When a candidate responds, the first thing you should do is set up a quick 10 minute phone call, Google Hangout, or Skype interview. You should be able to determine pretty quickly if the candidate is a good match. This phone/video conference screening will save you time, compared to scheduling every candidate for a full interview. From there, select only your top 3-5 candidates and invite them to an in-person interview.
For additional guidelines on conducting a job interview, check out these Fit Small Business articles that cover everything from questions to ask and avoid, to how to do a phone interview:
- How to Conduct an Interview
- How to Conduct an Interview over the Phone
- How to Conduct a Structured Interview
- How to Conduct a Behavioral Interview
- Illegal Interview Questions to Avoid
If you want to learn about the methods that you can use to screen candidates, then read our article on ways to do applicant screening.
Bottom Line on Indeed Resume Search
Indeed resume search is a powerful tool to find specific talent that fits your exact criteria from location to education. With over 2 million resumes added each month, it’s easy to find relevant candidates who are currently looking for a new job. That’s often a lot easier than waiting for applicants to apply to your open positions, or trying to convince a good candidate to leave their current job!
If you’re ready to hire, why not accept the free $50 credit to promote your job notice on Indeed? You can save the credit to use at your discretion later, since posting a job on Indeed is free.