The Importance of Candidate Screening |

Being able to apply for jobs with one click of a button has been a game changer for businesses and candidates around the globe, however, when a company posts a job offer they can be inundated with applications. It’s not always practical to interview every candidate and at the same time, it’s not good practice to randomly select people for interviews.

Candidate screening is the answer.

Candidate screening is a crucial part of the hiring process and involves reviewing a candidate’s job application against their CV, cover letter and experience. It makes identifying the right candidate for the role easier, sorting through what is ideal and what’s unfitting. 

Good screening methods contribute to building strong and successful teams. In this piece, we look at the reasons why this is the case and the other associated benefits of screening candidates. 

Understanding the significance of candidate screening

Let’s start with a basic business example. Let’s say that you are looking for a computer engineer to fit into your team. You create the perfect candidate job specification. You get your HR team to spend time crafting an insightful, factual and even creative job specification which covers off everything you are looking for in your business. 

Often, when you publish a job role, you can find yourself besieged with applications. You can choose to try and interview everyone who has applied to go to the next stage or, randomly pick people from the pile.

However, candidate screening cuts through this by telling an organisation what skills the applicant possesses and if they can perform the duties for the role they applied for. Cross referencing their qualifications, skills, references and experience will tell you whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the role.

This not only helps speed up the recruitment process, but by hiring the right people the first time around, and having a database of other suitable candidates, it costs less and provides overall savings. 

A final major impact of good candidate screening is that you can find candidates who not only exhibit the right skills but can also fit with the organisational culture. Screening allows attention to shift from hard skills to soft skills. CVs and resumes usually contain an applicant’s soft skills, strengths, references and experiences. This gives a good idea of their inclinations and the work environment they find suitable.

Key elements of effective candidate screening

When it comes to candidate screening, there are a few key elements to do it well and effectively. 

Firstly, ticking off basic or must-have requirements for the role. I.e. are they legally allowed to work in your country of operation? 

Secondly, matching the job requirements to qualifications and skills is an essential part of the screening process. This will mean that C.V.s need to show that they have the necessary experience for the role. I.e. Someone who has 10 years of managing a warehouse will be suitable for a warehouse manager's role but not for a computer engineer's job. 

Being able to take the time to understand what you want in the recruitment process for the role advertised is essential. Defining a clear criteria for the successful candidates is a no-brainer. Are you looking for a level of technical competency? Good people skills? Knowledge of the industry? A level of specific education? All of these have a dramatic impact on your overall recruitment strategy. 

Equally, there are various methods which can be adopted to help with candidate screening. These include; 

  • Resume screening; using advanced technology, AI and even HR professionals to shortlist. 
  • Pre-employment assessments; a suite of tools can be used to help identify not only skills possessed but equally, things like people skills, methods of work and organisational fit. 
  • Behavioural interviews; a behavioural assessment is a tool that is designed to observe, understand, explain and predict a person’s behaviour.

However, resumé screening can miss things like soft skills and behavioural traits. Pre-employment assessments can identify if someone has the knowledge but not the tenacity for a role. Behavioural interviews can be great at identifying how a person behaves under stress or in a team but not if they have the requisite skills. 

Benefits of implementing robust candidate screening processes

Naturally, we want to find advantages in methodology and for candidate screening there are several to pay particular attention to. 

Firstly, better quality hires. Measuring this is hard however, about “50% of organisations measure the average quality-of-hire metric based on the on-the-job performance of new recruits, 49% take into consideration the rate of turnover, and 43% depend on the satisfaction levels of hiring managers to measure the quality of hire.” - Spiceworks. 

This means that better hires can perform to a higher standard showcasing improved job performance. 

Anecdotal information indicates that better hires from candidate screening stay for longer. Not only are they in a role that is suited to their skills, but that the overall workplace and culture are the right fit for them which means, there is also less staff turnover. Research indicates that the cost of employee turnover ranges from 33% to 200% of the departing employee’s annual salary.

Best practices for successful candidate screening

There are ways to ensure best practices when it comes to successful candidate screening. These include; 

  • Standardising screening criteria and procedures. This can look like having the same questions, marking criteria and method to select. 
  • Use advanced technology like AI. An applicant tracking system can keep all information in one place whilst AI can be used to suitably look through many different applications picking up on necessary skills and experiences. 
  • Recruiters need to also be up to speed with the new technologies and screening practices. This will take form in training and even internal evaluation methods. 

Enhancing candidate experience through transparent screening practices

You want to be able to focus on the candidate's experience throughout the whole screening process. This will do two things, not only will a transparent method make it easy for candidates to understand where they stand, but successful candidates will become brand advocates as they see the benefit of working within a transparent system from their own recruitment process. 

Being candidate-centric helps to build trust and rapport. The experience you provide through the selection process is what could make the difference between creating a brand advocate and a brand adversary. In doing so, you create the background of a brand advocate who can help to attract top talent to your organisation. 

Elevating recruitment success through candidate screening

To summarise, the candidate screening process is a procedure that organisations undertake to help them select the best candidates for their open roles. By reducing those who aren’t suitable either in skills or competency or even culturally fitting in, it improves the quality of hire and reduces recruitment costs. 

If you’re looking for the right candidates, then screening is one of the best methodologies to undertake. 

With the latest tools available, the use of AI technology and a range of recruitment suites which manage the process of selection and then provide the suitable conditions to move forward, this is a strategic investment which helps not only hire the right people but also avoids making costly wrong hires for future success.