Screening candidates: 10 ideas you can try to find the right candidate

An image of candidates being screened

Once you have posted a job ad and the applications start pouring in, it’s time to evaluate the candidates and select the most qualified ones for the interview round. This process is called screening in recruitment, and in this post we have shared some posts on how you can ace it.

New methods of screening candidates

1. Pre-recorded video interviews

As the name suggests, pre-recorded interviews are interviews wherein a recruiter shares a list of questions with the candidate and the candidate can record a video answering these questions. These interviews are gaining currency amongst recruiters as it does away with the hassle of scheduling traditional phone interviews, thus saving more time. Pre-recorded interviews also come with other advantages:

I) Objective interview process: In a traditional interview, the interviewer may move away from the set of questions prepared earlier and the questions asked from each candidate may differ. This can make the process biased. In the case of pre-recorded interviews, the questions shared with all the candidates are the same, which makes the process more objective.

II) The evaluation process can be done by more than one person: Since recorded videos can be shared with anyone, other team members can also be a part of the screening process.

III) Reduces stress for candidates: The candidates are more relaxed in such interviews and can provide better answers.

Since this is a new practice, the candidate may not be sure on how to carry out this interview. To make it a smoother process, you can write a short guide and make an introductory video on how to go about it.

2. Applicant tracking system (ATS)

An ATS is a software that helps automate many HR functions such as collecting and organising candidate information, filtering resumes, scheduling interviews, and keeping a track of shortlisted and rejected candidates. For instance, Fresher Jobs on Internshala comes with an in-built ATS that helps you keep a record of all the candidates and where they are in the hiring process.

Because they can significantly cut down on time to hire, ATS have become an important part of the recruiting process at many Fortune 500 companies.

As mentioned above, one of the problems that an ATS solves is resume parsing. As a recruiter, you might often drown under the weight of applications that do not match the requirements for the job. An ATS can come to your rescue. It can help you filter out such resumes by looking for relevant keywords in education, skill, and experience.

3. Gamification

Gamification is the use of gaming features in non-gaming environments like hiring. For example, some companies such as Marriott use games at the pre-application stage to give interested candidates a feel of how it’s like to work at the company. These games are used to attract and engage prospective candidates and then direct them to the application page. This example is just one of the many ways in which companies are using gamification. Some companies also use mystery or puzzle games to test skills like problem-solving, analytical mindset, and teamwork.

Using gamification as a screening method can help you see beyond resumes and give you insights into their actual skills. It can also remove any unconscious bias that you may have towards certain candidates. However for gamification to be an effective recruiting tool, the game should be created based on proper research.

4. Competitions

Besides gamification, you can also try competitions such as coding contests. It can help you reach a wider audience than you might have received with a job post. Moreover, it shows a candidate’s skill in practice which can help you determine if they will thrive at your workplace.

5. Existing talent pool

Screening in recruitment does not need to be limited to new candidates. If you keep a record of all the applications and candidates who apply or have shown interest in your company, then you can tap into this pool to find candidates who might be the right fit. This could be especially useful for recurring job posts. There might be some candidates who might have reached the final stage but may not have been the right fit back then. You can reconnect with these candidates to evaluate if the role is well-suited for them now.

Tried and tested ideas for screening candidates

6. Resume screening

Since most candidates are used to sending resumes, this might be the best way to attract more candidates. Although screening resumes manually can be time-intensive, it ensures that you don’t miss out on any good candidates because their resume wasn’t optimised for an ATS.
One of the best ways to screen a resume is to compare it to the job description to see how much similar ground they share. This includes looking for keywords in education and experience. Scanning for such keywords can help you screen the resume faster when you are pressed for time. When scanning the resume, most screeners use the following hierarchy.

I) basic qualifications

II) nice to-have qualifications

III) attention to detail such as no typos

An important thing to keep in mind while screening resumes manually is that this method can be susceptible to bias. Many companies are countering this problem by opting for blind resume screening. As the name suggests, blind resume screening doesn’t mention any personal details or photo of the candidate which creates a more equitable process.

7. Cover letters

As writing a cover letter tailored for each job takes time, they can be an excellent way to attract the most motivated candidates. They can also be particularly helpful in cases where the applicant is changing industries or does not have the required experience. Additionally, cover letters go into detail about particular instances where the candidate has shown the required skills which may not be clear from just reviewing the resume.

8. Portfolios

Since more and more candidates are actively working on work samples, portfolios can be a great way to get insight into an applicant’s style of working. For instance, if you are hiring a designer, then their past projects can show you if their design is similar to your brand’s visual identity. If a portfolio is tailored for the job, then it shows that the candidate went an extra mile to apply for the job.

Portfolios are also an interesting way to evaluate freshers who might only have samples as work experience.

9. Phone interviews

Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates before investing in a more in-depth interview process. They can also set the candidate’s expectations for any future interviews.

While phone interviews generally consist of commonly-asked questions that candidates may be prepared for, it can still be a good way to gauge a candidate’s interest in the job as well as their communication skills.

10. Assessments

A number of companies rely on assessments to screen a candidate’s fitness for the job. This can include both a skill-based assessment and a personality test that evaluates the culture fitness.

Best practices to follow while screening candidates

1. Follow a structured hiring process

Irrespective of the methods that you use for screening, make sure that you are creating a level playing field for all candidates. This can be done through a structured hiring process. As part of this process, you define each step of the hiring process as well as the role. This cuts down on hiring time as well as makes sure that the hiring process is the same for each individual.

In structured hiring, recruiters don’t make hiring decisions based on hunch. Instead, they use evidence such as past experience and data to evaluate candidates fairly.

2. Maintain good communication

Good communication is an important soft skill for both candidates and recruiters. While you are assessing the candidate for their suitability for the job, they are also assessing your company based on how you conduct yourself during the hiring process. Hence, make sure that you are doing a good job of communication.

This includes keeping the candidates informed about their hiring status. Even if you are pressed for time, always make space for updating the candidates at each round. For instance, send them emails with the dates for interviews even if you have communicated this verbally. If you want to take it up a notch, share a few tips on how they can prepare for the interview. If it’s an onsite interview, you can even share directions for the office. Always end interviews by giving candidates a chance to ask questions. This can be especially useful if you have a long hiring process.

If you are looking for entry-level candidates to join your team, then check out Fresher Jobs on Internshala.

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