Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

4 Pre-Screening Mistakes Your Company is Making

Pre-screening of potential employees can be a simple process of weeding out the worst of your applicants. There are many simple ways to pre-screen out candidates from those that fail a background check or drug screening to those simply not qualified for the position. Pretty basic stuff in the hiring process.

Efficient and effective pre-screening of applicants will allow you to cull only the top choices for your hiring manager, saving valuable time. Your hiring manager will be able to tailor the interview to each candidate and have a more meaningful and insightful experience. So here are some common mistakes your company is making:

1. Not looking at the candidates stated objective first.
Not every resume has an objective but overall your candidates’ reason for applying should fit the role you are looking to fill. This sounds obvious but you are trying to establish the candidates’ interest in the specific job advertised. If this isn’t a match with what the company wants, then you’ll probably be looking to fill the position again soon. The candidates skill set may match but if you’re hiring for X and candidate really wants to do Y then it’s not a good match.

Likewise, you should also be very clear in the objectives of the job upfront. Make sure the candidate understands what will be expected of them in the position to avoid problems later. Seventy-three percent of employee turnover is due to companies providing misleading job descriptions and, in some cases, no job descriptions at all.

2. Not using the same set of questions for each candidate.
By using a template of questions you are best able to compare the quality and content of each candidates’ responses. You can use this template to give a ranking to your hiring manager. Doing this will make it much easier for your hiring manager to compare the candidates and focus attention in their interview on more specific topics.

3. Falling under the ‘halo effect.’
The ‘halo effect’ is a widely recognized phenomenon whereby we assume that because people are good at doing A they will be good at doing B, C, or D. The halo effect is highly influenced by first impressions as well, so use caution and your template of questions to avoid this trap. While you can save the tough questions for the actual interview, in your pre-screen ask the questions that help you truly identify if the candidate can do A, B, C, and D.

4. You candidate pool is too small.
You should take the time to put together a candidate pool that holds several top candidates who meet the needs of the organization and would be a good fit. Your hiring manager should be able to make a choice between several excellent candidates. The company certainly doesn’t want to have to settle for someone because there just wasn’t anyone else as qualified. Better to reopen the candidate search than to settle.

By clearly stating objectives, standardizing the process to avoid the halo effect and finding qualified top candidates you elevate your pre-screening process from basic to great. This way you get the best employees for your company to grow and thrive!

What other common problems are you seeing happen when you pre-screen?

Image Courtesy of CareerRocketeer

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writers career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Connect with Heather and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

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