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8 Tips for Developing a Screening Process for Applicants

PSI Team | Uncategorized

Hiring is about more than the interview. It’s a long and careful process that helps you find the perfect person for a job. While you can learn a bit about an applicant through an interview, there are other things you can do along the way to find out more about them. Implementing a multi-stage screening process ensures you approach the hiring process with your eyes wide open. Here are eight tips for developing a screening process for applicants to help you get started. Consult with your human resources personnel and lawyer about creating a screening process that’s both thorough and fair.

Craft the Perfect Job Ad

Separate the wheat from the chaff with a well-written job ad. If you want to attract the right talent, write job ads that are concise and to the point. Clearly state who you’re looking for, including the skills and experience they need to bring to the job. If candidates need a specific degree, certification, or credential, list it in the job description. Including this information will also help prevent unqualified candidates from applying, slowing down the hiring process. Be precise and concise and give an impression of the atmosphere at your company and what is expected from employees.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) helps employers simplify the process of sifting through résumés and cover letters. Simply enter the keywords you’re looking for, such as credentials, certificates, and previous job titles, and the ATS will present the resumes with the most matches. This process can cut down a seemingly endless number of résumés to just a handful of the most qualified candidates. Don’t forget the human element in your hiring processes but give yourself a little break with ATSs.

Ask for Cover Letters

Cover letters seem old school in this day and age. Nonetheless, they make a candidate stand out. If a job candidate takes the time to send a cover letter along with their résumé, it can show their dedication to getting hired. Plus, a cover letter can reveal a candidate’s communication skills and grasp of the job duties. Overall, it’s another way to push the shinier candidates forward in the hiring process.

Phone and Video Screening

Once upon a time, getting an interview meant an actual face-to-face meeting between the candidate and manager. It required a tremendous investment of time from both parties. Even if a candidate seemed like a decent choice, if the interview wasn’t fruitful, everyone suffered. A phone interview is much easier as a preliminary step before the big in-person sit-down. Develop a few short questions to learn more about the candidate. You may even choose to opt for a virtual meeting. While still delivering the personal touch of a face-to-face interview, both jobseeker and job-giver can meet anywhere, any time, and without having to hit the highway or hop on a bus. Video calls are ideal for assessing professionalism, body language, and personality too.

Background Checks

Once a candidate has come through the interview process, it’s time to investigate their experience and reputation. Background check companies can explore candidate educational and job history, discover any criminal activity, perform credit checks, speak with references, review social media activity, and more. Choose background checks that are most relevant to the position. You also need to receive permission from the jobseeker to conduct the background check. If you turn them down due to information that turned up during the check, they must be informed of this and given the opportunity to correct erroneous information. Background checks are covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), so consult with your lawyer to ensure you’re following the letter of the law.

Tests of Skill

Skill-testing is a necessity for any job. A candidate can claim to have the required knowledge and experience for the role, but you don’t want to discover they don’t on day one of the job. Skill assessments can simulate the sort of daily problems and challenges they’ll encounter on a typical workday. Create hypothetical tests and situations and ask them to provide solutions and insights on how they’d handle things. Specific skills like editing, coding, accounting, and others can be tested and scored, allowing you to move the highest scorers to the next stage of the process. However, don’t use this as an opportunity to cadge free labor from candidates. It leaves a bad impression and likely won’t guarantee quality work that you can use. It can also be iffy from a legal and ethical standpoint.

Peer Interviews

After human resources and management talk to a candidate, bring in the people they might eventually work with into the equation. Not only can they assess a candidate’s knowledge and job skills, it’s also a good opportunity to see if their personalities meld or clash. Have a meeting beforehand to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that every candidate is asking the same questions. Let your employees talk to the candidates alone, to reduce anxieties and show that you trust them. Afterward, have a separate session where the employees can share their feelings and impressions of each candidate.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

When developing all the above strategies and processes, remember to keep things fair. Every candidate should receive the same questions, tests, and criteria in the interests of equality and a level playing field. Chart how candidates react, score, and act so you can compare them and see which one is the best fit. Equality is the watchword. It’s not only fair, but it will also ensure you see how well the best candidates stack up against each other. As mentioned, check in with your human resources and legal teams and have them review the process, looking for potential issues. If your hiring practices are seen as unfair, you could face fines, legal challenges, and more.

Those are our eight tips for developing a screening process for applicants. For more information about background checks and post-hire screenings, such as employment eligibility verification services, contact us for a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!