Candidate Screening methods

Candidate Screening: The pixie dust that’ll help hire top talent

Published on October 3rd, 2022


Screening and evaluation of candidates, why bother?

Well, if you think about it, why can’t a hirer just pick one of those candidates who’s got a good resume, have a quick interview, and just take them in? It’s already happening in the hiring world, right? Well, according to, 50% of hires more or less hired using this same method result in a mishire, and 75% of average hires end up being a letdown. Moreover, the cost of mishiring can be equal to:

*   4 times the yearly wage for supervisors

*   6 times the yearly wage for salespeople

*   8 times the yearly wage for mid-level managers

*   15 times the yearly wage for vice presidents.

That should have raised some of your eyebrows, and that’s where candidate screening comes to the rescue.


What is candidate screening in hr?

Screening and evaluation of candidates help sort out candidates according to their qualifications, abilities, experience, and expertise. First, a candidate pre-screening is done to see if they are qualified to move further in the hiring process. The hiring team then pushes ahead with the candidate screening, which happens before the interview stage.   

Now, there is no ultimate method for the screening and evaluation of candidates. But, you can combine a few methodologies and tools to prepare the best one that works for you and your company. That’s what we will help you out with today.

Traditional methods of screening and evaluation of candidates

1.  Resume Screening

  Well, this is no surprise to any hirer and it's probably the bare basic submission of any candidate. The earliest technique of candidate screening is by looking through resumes. Although traditional, resumes are still submitted as a procedural norm, and it's probably one of the first opportunities a candidate gets to create an impression. You can see a candidate's expertise, credentials, and previous job duties by asking them to provide a resume. That’s the best part of a resume, you get a bird’s eye view of every twist and turn the candidate has made in their professional career. Well, as fascinating as this sounds, a hundred resumes on your table are bound to dampen your spirits at some point.       

  Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

 * You get an overview of the candidate’s skills, experience, and the gist of what they are capable of.

 *You get to look at particular elements and learn more details, like the person's interests and hobbies.    

Challenges in the selection process:

 * It takes a lot of time, especially for jobs with many applications.

 * Dependency on the fact that the applicant is truthful (Good luck gauging this aspect)

 * Opens the possibility of unconscious bias on the bases of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and so on.  

3.  Cover Letters

 Resumes are an essential part of hiring any candidate but the format of resumes is quite restrictive. This is where a cover letter gives the chance for any candidate to be more expressive. Here are some additional things you may learn from a cover letter in addition to their writing abilities:      

Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

 * Cover letters are excellent for evaluating a candidate's ability to adhere to instructions.

* Candidates can demonstrate their written communication abilities in their cover letters.

 * Cover letters that stand out frequently exhibit creativity and original thought!      

Challenges in the selection process:

 * It takes a lot of time, especially for jobs with many applications.

 * Dependency on the fact that the applicant is truthful (Good luck gauging this aspect)

 * Opens the possibility of unconscious bias on the bases of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and so on.

 "Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business."

– Steve Wynn

A step up from traditional methods of screening and evaluation of candidates

1. Phone Interviews

  Prior to the popularity of video, phone screening was a key method of contacting prospects before inviting them in for a formal interview. They're still popular today and a useful way to find out more about someone without making them reschedule their lives for a lengthy interview. You can still perform a decent candidate screening by asking the same set of questions and moderating the conversation as much as possible. Also, take thorough notes if the response is not recorded. Make it a point to plan the phone call so that the candidate is mentally and physically prepared to converse with you.        

Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

 * fairly straightforward.

 * A good method to get an idea of the candidate's communication abilities.     

Challenges in the selection process:

 * Multiple phone interviews can be difficult to coordinate and chart out.

* quite time-consuming, especially when there are several applicants. 

3. Temporarily hiring for a project

 This is probably one of the safest, most dependable, and most cost-efficient methods for the screening and evaluation of candidates. Why? Just like how you can end the subscription to a service you are not too keen on, hiring temporarily for a project gives pretty much the same benefits. Once you've chosen your candidates based on a quick analysis, you can put them through a ‘paid trial’ or in other words hire them for a project. The applicant may still turn out to be a poor fit for your team even after a rigorous set of skill-based tests, reference checks, and interviews. So, this is a foolproof method for the screening and evaluation of candidates.        

 However, with the gig economy being popular as ever, hiring employees for a project is turning out to be a norm rather than a candidate screening method. There is no guarantee that the employee may be consistent in their efforts, so this is advantageous for the hirer as well. Nonetheless, this screening and evaluation method of candidates is probably the most comprehensive one yet, which ensures the least possibility of a mishire. Maybe, larger firms can take the plough of a few misfires, however, start-ups and upcoming businesses get to feel the intensity of a mishire manyfold. So this method is more suited for start-ups and smaller businesses.        

Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

* A candidate's performance in the real world as a member of your team will be evaluated.

  * Observe and evaluate soft skills and qualities like work ethic and culture fit.      

Challenges in the selection process:

  * Candidates for trial periods may need to undergo training that is a burn on time and money if the candidates are not selected.

Modern methods and tools for screening and evaluation of candidates

1. Applicant Tracking Systems

  At some point, HR professionals concluded that manually reviewing resumes simply required too much time and effort, and then came the infamous applicant tracking systems. These computer programs conduct a rudimentary automated candidate screening where it reviews resumes and identifies the most qualified applicant on your behalf. They are a crucial component of the hiring process in major firms that receive numerous applications for each open position. In reality, according to GetFive 70% of resumes are not even seen by companies because of ATSs! So, you have to be very picky when choosing a good ATS and also make sure to integrate it with other tools to increase the efficiency of the screening and evaluation of candidates.        

Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

* They expedite the screening process for candidates.

* Instead of taking weeks, you can quickly review a stack of resumes in a flash.      

Challenges in the selection process:

 * They concentrate too much on keywords, making it possible to overlook qualified candidates who don't fit the algorithm.

 * On the other hand, if candidates know which keywords to use, they can be rigged.

 * They are generally not very trustworthy  

3.  Skill-based assessments- The best method for screening and evaluation of candidates!

 Speaking of integration of ATS with other tools, the best way to increase the functionality of an ATS for the screening and evaluation of candidates is with the help of a skill-based assessment. Finding out if a candidate is capable of performing the job should always be your top goal when interviewing candidates. At least initially, this is quite difficult. Skill based-assessments are becoming quite the trend and they are frequently used by businesses to assess a candidate's fit from the very first application.        

 This is where HireQuotient provides a simple yet effective solution where each candidate undergoes a skill assessment through their platform. This will help hirers get the top pick among the sea of applicants. The best part is, this is an automated candidate screening method where hirers need not be actively involved throughout the process.        

  Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

   * Automatically screen applicants at any scale.

  * Analyze the performance of candidates quickly.

  * Raise the bar of candidate screening.

  * Avoids bias at all costs.

  * Remove unsuitable candidates while offering immediate feedback      

Challenges in the selection process:

 * requires modification of the common hiring procedure

 * Subscribing to a tool is necessary.  

5.  Video-based assessments- Another top pick for screening and evaluation of candidates!

 Another reason why HireQuotient is a popular name in hiring spheres is that they provide video assessments as well! Why are video-based assessments so sought after? Well, video-based interviews create a more effective version of video-based interviews. A One-Way Video Interview is created where job applicants participate in a pre-recorded video Q&A about their abilities, experiences, and knowledge is the best way to quickly assess candidates.       

 They are brief, only lasting around 10 minutes (typically 2-3 questions) For the utmost convenience, we have a database of interview questions produced by experts. By interviewing several candidates at once, you can quickly assess candidates' important skills. Candidates adore the user-friendly interface and limitless retakes.

 Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

  * Interview questions that have already been offered make vetting candidates simple.

  * You don't have to worry about scheduling.

  * With unlimited retakes, candidates can control their interview nerves.

  * Both the applicant and the recruiter are free to conduct them as they see fit.     

Challenges in the selection process:

  *  For younger candidates, pre-recorded video interviews can be a little scary.

7.  Video interviews    

  Another method for screening and evaluation of candidates for future-oriented companies. Well, candidates don’t have to run at the designated time to the designated venue wearing layers of clothing solely to impress the employer. They have the freedom to take the interview without worrying about braving traffic or wasting time. You may have 1-on-1 conversations with applicants during video interviews without having to travel to meet them in person thanks to a variety of video solutions including Zoom, Teams, and Skype.        

 Plan out the questions you want to ask. Have a list of questions prepared for each candidate, and stay as close to it as possible. You can jot down notes or check off a checklist of pertinent items. Pay attention to how you're acting. Utilize the chance to evaluate a candidate's communication and soft skills when doing so via video.    

Pros of this candidate screening methodology:

   *   Simple to complete with the proper tools

   *   Candidates now embrace the practice of video interviews.

   *   You may learn more about communication, presentation, and body language.

  *   Candidates can interview you without having to commute to your office.      

 Challenges in the selection process:

  *   Scheduling might be challenging.

  *   Don't pass judgement too quickly on candidates with excellent interviewing skills because they may not also be strong performers.

An effective candidate screening will save the company money, time, and valuable resources. You can compile a shortlist of competent candidates who have the potential to succeed at your company using an HR screening procedure which can be a combination of all the screening methods given here. The objective of the candidate screening process in recruiting is to swiftly sift through the hundreds or even thousands of resumes to discover the top applicants, promote diversity in your applicant pool, and enforce fair hiring standards.  

It may seem like we are tooting our horn but, we’ve been quite persistent in our efforts to provide the best skill-based assessments and video-based assessments to our clients. If you wish to optimize your method for the screening and evaluation of candidates, we have the key set of solutions primed to meet your needs. Why not get on a 15- minute chat with us and let our experts help you out?




Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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