5 Things to Consider When Screening Candidates

Recruiting the right candidates for your business isn’t simple when there’s so much competition out there.

However, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), automation and mobile apps, candidates are able to apply for multiple jobs at different companies more quickly.

This means, if your business isn’t first to the punch, you might miss out on a top professional to someone else – ouch!

So what’s the deal?

How can you be efficient when screening candidates coming through your pipeline in order to speed up the whole recruitment process?

Here are some of my best practices for you to use and implement.

Develop your ideal candidate persona 🦸‍♀️

Creating an ideal candidate persona is also one of our best shortcuts for shortlisting too.

Not only does it give you a clear vision into who is best suited to your company, but it also enables you to discard the ones who don’t make the cut in a timely fashion.

Work with senior staff to highlight skills gaps and shortages within the company.

This way, you can then search for someone who possesses it, which in turn, will give your business another skill.

Utilise automation and AI 🤖

Whether you like it or not, AI isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.

Automation technology like chatbots can streamline the initial communication stages between you and a candidate, with research suggesting that it saves 75% of companies’ time.

Software like Zoho Recruit allows companies to automatically screen every application without any person needing to look at any.

Ideally, you should opt for an automation technology that enables you to assign relevancy scores or ask certain questions so that you can filter the right candidates before even getting to the shortlisting stage.

After all, why waste your time on time-wasters and those who don’t meet the requirement of the job spec, when you could be spending it on communicating to those who have the potential to be shortlisted?

AI also has the added benefit of removing unconscious bias, with it making informed decisions based on statistics, behaviours and risk assessment.

Set a task 📑

If you think it’s right, you can always ask applicants to complete a task to go alongside their application.

Those who don’t submit one will be discarded, while the ones who do a poor job can also follow suit.

Setting a task gives you an opportunity to get a feel of a candidate’s work and to test their desire to land the role.

Looking to move fast?

Then ask a candidate to submit their portfolio or LinkedIn details instead.

At least you can carry out a very quick screening check before progressing their application to the shortlisting and interviewing stages.

Pro recruiter top tip

Adopting a robust recruiting plan can give you the edge over your competition and drive more top candidates through your pipeline.

However, if you’re planning on screening candidates via LinkedIn, there are some things to consider:

– If a candidate hasn’t got a strong presence or none at all, avoid throwing them on the no pile just on this basis.

– Think about how your business will conduct its social media recruitment. Will you headhunt local candidates? Is there a certain way candidates within your industry like to engage?

– Not everything you see on LinkedIn will always be true. Sometimes information is fabricated or not included at all, so pick up the phone and have a quick chat.

Prepare for everything 🤝

As the old adage goes; “Practice makes perfect”.

The more you finesse your screening process, the quicker you’ll be able to do it.

And as you probably know, quicker usually means getting one over on your competition.

Carrying out background checks and searching for the type of person the candidate is via social media channels can give you necessary information before offering an interview.

Before you delve deeper into a candidate’s CV and cover letter, you need to think about singling out those who deserve more of your time and an informal chat.

Using a keyboard shortcut to find certain buzzwords is a fine example of how to make a quick assessment of a CV during the screening process, without having to actually read the content.  

Keep the maybes 👌

A rookie error many businesses make is to discard applications straightaway whilst screening candidates.

Sure, a candidate might not tick many of the boxes for the current job, but what’s to say that they won’t be right for a different role in the near future?

Provided a candidate has some sort of relevant skill, qualification or has the potential to develop, ask them if you can keep their CV on record.

As a result, you’ll start building your pipeline and will have a bigger bank of candidates to potentially contact next time around.

This means less time spent headhunting and no real requirement to spend thousands on job boards.

Final thoughts 🤔

Screening candidates can be a difficult process to get right, and probably won’t be absolutely perfect straightaway.

But after time, you can develop and streamline it to ensure you’re making the right hiring choice at double the speed.

Implement these top tips and you’ll instantly reduce the number of processes required during the shortlisting and interviewing stages.

This will give you the chance to get in quick and make sure that you don’t miss out on the very best talent within your industry.

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