Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

9 Tips To Screen Candidates More Efficiently

How do talent acquisition teams speed up their screening process without sacrificing the quality of hire?

To help other talent acquisition teams build a more efficient screening process, we asked HR and recruiting professionals and business leaders to share their insights. From embracing uniqueness to prioritizing transparency, there are several tips to help streamline the initial process.

Here are 9 tips to improve the candidate screening process:

  • Expand Your Scope
  • Evaluate with Skill Assessments
  • Trust Your Gut
  • Focus on Overall Personality
  • Create a More Diverse Pool
  • Pay Attention to Patterns
  • Have a Clear Scorecard
  • Look at the Whole Person
  • Create a Plan for Success

Expand Your Scope

To increase the chances of success, expand the scope of the recruitment process to eliminate variance from the average competence of the candidate. This can be done in two ways; one, break down the process in multiple steps, preferably scheduled on different days. This removes the influence of any external factors outside the interview that may impact the candidate’s ability to perform and gives you a more consistent indication of their skill/capability. Two, make sure more than one interviewer interacts with the candidate to eliminate biases and confirm the assessments. It is important to have a unified evaluation framework for all candidates for both these tactics to succeed.

Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs

Evaluate with Skill Assessments

The most important consideration for many employers is whether or not the candidate is capable of performing the job. However, you won’t be able to tell this via resumes, reference checks (at least not totally), or searching up your candidates online.

Many organizations utilize some form of pre-employment testing to evaluate if an applicant is a good fit. Toggl Hire was established specifically to evaluate applicants for real-world skills and their job, rather than relying on other screening methods to make recruiting decisions.

Edward Mellett, Wikijob

Trust Your Gut

More people are using resume services now than they ever did before. Candidates also have a lot more access to example resumes, and they can see how other candidates articulate their roles and associated job duties. Because of access to examples and resume services, it is very easy for candidates to overinflate their experience on a resume.

When you are interviewing candidates, make sure to use probing questions when necessary to see if their experience/knowledge on their resume matches what they are truly able to explain or articulate in person. If your gut is telling you that the knowledge/articulation coming from the person you are interviewing does not match the resume, trust your gut. Recruiters who utilize emotional intelligence tend to hire a much higher caliber of talent than those who simply rely on a resume.

Brittany Ethridge, Mosaic

Focus on Overall Personality

Getting to know your candidate’s personality better is just as powerful as checking one’s technical skills. Focus on candidates’ personal interests, hobbies, individual talents, and creativity instead. Knowing these would certainly give your TA team a more rounded view of the personality and, eventually, would result in finding a better match for a specific team structure and the culture of the company.

Ihor Shcherbinin, DistantJob

Create a More Diverse Pool

More and more talent acquisition professionals are being tasked with challenging a hiring manager’s assumptions to help them think differently about the team of the future they need. Great hiring managers are no longer looking to rinse and repeat by simply filling an empty seat with the same type of teammate that vacated it. Recruiters should press further whether it’s about creating a more diverse pool of candidates, prioritizing whether a multi-sport athlete or a specialist is needed, or digging into the details of why the preference is internal or external talent.

Dan Gallagher, Exude Inc.

Pay Attention to Patterns

People’s patterns of achievement tend to be stable over time. Has the path been steady and upward? Have there been peaks and valleys? Get your candidate to reflect on past employment experiences and identify themes in their behavior and achievements. By doing this, you get a sense of who they are and how self-aware they are. If they can’t connect the dots in their own life, chances are that they haven’t put enough thought into what your role is about and they won’t be able to connect the dots for you either.

Nicole Fernanandes, Blu Ivy Group

Have a Clear Scorecard

A job description isn’t enough. You need a scorecard and acceptance criteria that will help you not only identify the right candidate but will also afford the candidate the best chance of succeeding by clearly laying out expectations and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will use to measure their impact.

Ulises Orozco, PTO Genius

Look at the Whole Person

When screening talent, looking at their previous experiences and how those can relate to the current role is critical. Being creative in connecting dots that might not be obvious can enhance the results significantly. Hiring individuals without specific industry experience can be transformative. One of the best hires I have ever made for an HR role was someone who had zero HR experience, but she knew how to solve problems, build relationships and think independently. Looking for core behavioral attributes can be far more valuable than specific technical skills. Strong leaders will recognize these traits and take the time to train the new hire on tactics so that once they learn the basics of the industry, they will soar farther and faster than others who might be stuck in their paradigm of “industry knowledge.”

Barbie Winterbottom, the Business of HR

Create a Plan for Success

Ask the candidate to write a one-page 30 day plan on what they would do to set themselves up for success in the new role. This allows the TA team to visualize the candidate in the role and evaluate their initiative, resourcefulness, and level of interest in the job.

Jenna Hinrichsen, Advanced RPO

Guest Post

Spark Hire is honored to host featured guest experts on our HR & Recruiting Blog. We're committed to bringing you the best tips and trends to streamline your hiring and recruiting processes. Thank you for your contributions and readership.