Thinning the hurdle
> merely as an easy screening criteria
The problem is when you have 1 vacancy and you get 200 applicants for it. What do you do?
It is impractical to diligently read each CV - I once got one of 40 pages (instant rejection, BTW) - so you need some way to come up with a list of "possibles", then a list of "probables" which you interview.
Also, for better or for worse, HR insist that any selection criteria must be non-discriminatory - which is a lovely idea, but very subjective (oh yes, and must be within the skill-set of HR's newest trainee). So a first pass: that has to be quick, objective, legal and relevant is to search for academic qualifications. (Another: that's based on spelling and typo's on the application is possible - but so many HR-types have such poor spelling & grammar that "LOL" and smilies would probably pass their filter).
After that, once you have got down to 10-20, you can start to actually read the CVs. Just bear in mind that you also have real work to do, in addition to recruitment duties. So detailed analysis of what the candidates (as they now are, as opposed to merely applicants) have to say is still a long way off.
Yes, it's largely random. Sure, some gems will slip through, Time consuming it certainly is. However it's still better than one proposal a colleague suggested: throw all the CVs into the air. If one of them sticks to the ceiling, that's the one to hire - since luck is as good as excellence (esp. if you're Napoleon and you are recruiting generals). However, the "lucky" ones might be the ones who don't get to work for you.