How many employees will your company be hiring over the course of the next year? Whether it’s one or 10, having a solid prescreening process in place is invaluable to landing the best talent. Why is an effective prescreening process so important? The reasons are many. Namely, it eliminates unqualified or unmotivated candidates and identifies the best-suited candidates for an open role. Whether you work with a staffing partner or recruit employees using internal resources, here we share some tips to effectively screen candidates and maximize the impact of your time and efforts during the recruiting process.
1. Get to know the candidate. Prescreening allows recruiters or hiring managers to get a better sense of an applicant’s goals, interests, skill sets and personality. In a typical prescreening process, a recruiter will engage a candidate via phone or video, and then schedule an in-person interview with the candidate if the candidate appears to be a good match for the open role.
2. Ask role-specific questions. Prescreening allows recruiters to ask specific questions that are raised by a candidate’s resume and cover letter. The last thing you want is to invite a candidate in for an interview only to find that they lack the skill sets required for the job. Make sure your questions are effective.
3. Make sure your questions are effective. Asking the same, standard questions like, “What are your greatest strengths?” will not give you great insight into a candidate because they have come to expect these questions and often rehearse their responses. A better strategy is to ask open-ended questions and behavior-oriented questions such as “Tell me about a time when you used a new technology to solve an old problem,” thereby requiring candidates to think on his or her feet.
4. Ask for examples of ability. Candidates should be able to cite specific examples from previous jobs that prove their ability to perform on the job for which they are being interviewed. A candidate who was very involved in his or her previous roles will have a lot of detailed feedback and will be able to relate exactly what he or she did in those roles. The best predictors of future behavior and indicators of success are answers that provide examples of situations of when candidates overcame challenges; answers that give recruiters insight into a candidate’s attitude; and answers that demonstrate a candidate’s skill level.
5. Don’t forget about skills testing. Hiring managers are requesting standard software testing less and less since those skills are now expected from every candidate. The focus now is on testing for advanced software skills as well as for critical thinking and problem-solving. Today, some hiring managers request candidates receive mini-challenges to see how they respond. Having candidates demonstrate their ability to solve problems and find solutions; to be strategic when finding solutions, and to be able to plan efficiently is a better way to detect potential success factors than asking candidates to answer hypothetical questions.
6. Watch for red flags. When a candidate speaks negatively about previous employers, comes to interviews dressed unprofessionally, is unprepared for interviews, doesn’t know what their goals are or what they are looking for in their next position, you definitely want to stop and reconsider whether this person is a fit for your job.
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