What is candidate screening?

Candidate screening is the process of reviewing resumes, profiles or people for a job. It happens right after the candidate sourcing process and encapsulates activities such as resume screening, telephonic screening, written interviews, face-to-face interviews, background checks, etc. During the candidate screening process, the recruiters and hiring managers get to know the candidate and evaluate their skills, experience and interests for the open role.

Challenges in candidate screening

1.Reducing the time to fill

Candidate screening is a race against time. On one hand, you have positions to fill and on the other you have a pipeline of candidates that you have to quickly wade through. Open positions delay business progress and lengthy hiring processes cause candidate ghosting. We do not want them both.

2.Quality of hire

As much as it’s a race against time, it’s also a race for quality. You need to hire the best and hire them fast. You can anyway expect a lot of hurdles to cross on your way: hiring managers’ expectations, outrunning the competition in the job market, interviewers availability, team collaboration, etc.

3.Finding the right tools

Understanding your firm’s unique hiring challenges and finding the right tool to help you ace the screening game will be key to success. Getting the bigger hiring picture in the firm, evaluating the right tools in an ocean of software, and making a prudent decision is going to demand some knack.

All the different methods for candidate screening 

1. Resume screening

When to use:

Resume screening can be used as the first round of filtering when you still do not know anything about your candidate. Resumes give you a quick summary of your candidates’ educational and professional ambitions, milestones and achievements. They have details on skills, expertise, experience, certifications and more.

If you use a standard format, you can also parse resumes and create candidate profiles at rocket speed. They are just easier to sift through.

What to look for:

2. Screening cover letters

When to use:

It can be used along with a resume in the initial screening process. If you intend to use it, you’ll have to explicitly ask your candidates to submit one along with their resumes and if necessary, tell them what you’d like for them to include in it.

What to look for:

3. Application form

When to use:

For some roles, you may require the candidates to comply with specific criteria. For example, let’s say you are hiring for a team that supports clients in France so you are looking for french speaking candidates. In a scenario like this, you can simply put out an application form with a few custom fields on the website. It’s easier to separate French speaking from those who don’t using application forms.

If it’s a resume, you’ll have to go through the whole resume. In application forms you can simply filter candidates based on their yes or no to a particular question.

What to look for:

Just look at their answers to the vital questions and separate them based on it. If you use recruiting automations, you can automatically advance candidates who answer favourably to a question. Your job just becomes a 100 times easier.

4. Screening video application

When to use:

Video applications or interviews are a great way to screen candidates remotely, or when you want to screen before you invest time in onsite interviews.

What to look for:

5. Screening over phone call

When to use:

Phone screening is one of the easiest methods and helps you quickly gather all the important information you need. It involves no special tools, and is easy on candidates who are not very comfortable with video interviews. It’s also a great way to screen candidates from other geographies before investing time in the interview process.

What to look for:

6. Pre-assessment tests

When to use:

You can use them when you are recruiting for roles that require multiple candidates like sales, support or tech. Pre-assessment tests are also super useful when you’d like to screen candidates for specific skills before investing face-to-face interview time.

What to look for:

Yes, if you pick the right assessment tests, then all you’ll have to look at will be the end scores to screen your candidates. For example, HackerRank has different tests to evaluate coders or software engineers. Depending on the role or level you are hiring for, you can simply send them a test and check their score to make a decision about their candidature.

7. Personality tests

When to use:

In situations when you need to really see the candidate’s behaviour patterns, personality traits, especially when it’s critical to the role.

What to look for:

These tests can be used for different purposes by different employers. Here are some examples of what these tests can reveal:

8. Written tests

When to use:

When you are testing for writing skills.

What to look for:

9. Face-to face interviews

When to use:

After a candidate has already impressed you a little over a phone screening or written test. Also, when it’s time to really meet the candidate and get to know them before hiring them.

What to look for:

10. Background checks

When to use:

You can run a basic background check for any candidate.In some cases the law will require you to run them. For roles that require a deeper search, you can pick the appropriate tests and run them, For example, If you are hiring for a role that involves supervising children, you may want to look into their drug usage history.

What you can look for:

For more on background checks, read Freshteam's guide to conducting foolproof background and reference checks.

Why do recruiters choose Freshteam to screen candidates?

1. Freshteam parses resumes and populates the information into candidate profiles.

2. Enables you to create hiring workflows and define the hiring stages for the jobs.

3. The candidate 360 gives you all the details on a candidate in a one-screen view.

4. You can screen and archive good candidates for later roles using the talent pool.

5. You can prep your interviewers with kits - questionnaires, scorecards, etc

6. Interviewers can leave scores, comments and their hiring verdicts for each other.

7. You can automate all communication during the screening process.