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The hiring cycle is a cumbersome task that the HR team has to tackle, from preparing the job description to sourcing the candidates from a vast pool of talent, screening them, and going ahead with the selection process. The age-old method of filing the resumes and rushing through them is long gone, and now, the HR is faced with various job portals and social media to source the candidates.

More than five hundred years ago, Leonardo Da Vinci created the first resume, and the trend continues in 2020. The volume of applicants in the hyper-connected world is vast, and the first and foremost hurdle of sourcing from this vast pool is fulfilled. Once the candidates are sourced, the HR is left with candidate screening and selection, the two integral recruitment processes.

What is candidate screening?

One of the three S’s of recruitment that comes after suitable candidates have been sourced from a pool of talent is screening. Imagine that you work in a multinational company that has been recognized as being the best company to work for. Being the best, you will receive thousands of job applications daily. You cannot randomly pick a few applicants and process them to be the ideal candidates for the job requirement. You must screen the applications and choose only those who fulfil the requirements. Furthermore, you must select only star applicants who are the best fit for the role.

Screening is the process of reviewing job applications and involves scanning through the resumes and finding the closest applicant who matches the job description. While screening, you not only skim through the resume but also concentrate on the cover letter, applicant education, work experience, and skill set to project the candidate-organization fit. In a nutshell, it is matching the candidate profile with the job description.

The screening process is the most time-intensive facet of the hiring process, despite the major advancement in technology. On average, it takes about 23 hours of screening time with an HR team of three to four members. In addition to this, the best talent never stays in the market for a long time, indicating that the screening process should take a lot less time.

Candidate screening process

Candidate screening is a process of determining whether a candidate is qualified for the role based on their education, experience, and information based on their resume. The goal of screening candidates is to decide whether to process them to the next level of hiring or to reject the application. Screening candidates for an interview helps to build a list of the most suitable candidates that match the role and become part of the hiring cycle.

The application screening process differs from one organization to another. While one company may prefer to use a pre-defined test, another may concentrate more on the interview to understand the candidate’s skills. The job screening process can also differ based on the role that the company is hiring for. For instance, a media and PR company would most likely hire a writer based on their writing skills and would assess their skills with a test. But the same company would assess the skill sets differently for an IT position.

The candidate screening process differs based on the role, as well as the organization. Following are some tips that organizations can incorporate to make their candidate screening process seamless:

Don’t just brush up on the resume!

Screening resumes can be hectic. Matching the amount of information that is available in it with the job description requires time and energy. Screening resumes includes three steps:

– Screening them based on minimum qualification that is mandatory for the role, as given in the job description.

– Screening based on the preferred qualification that makes the resume a better choice for the position.

– Shortlisting the resume based on the minimum as well as preferred qualification and shortlist the candidates for the next step in the process.

The minimum qualification and preferred qualification also include the candidate’s education, years of experience, skills, among other factors. An applicant tracking system can reduce the burden on HR and help find the best candidate for the role.

Cover letters are more informative than you think

A candidate’s resume can tell you a lot about them, their skills, their experience, and so on. But if you want to know more, then ask for a cover letter as a part of the application process. In addition to understanding their writing skills, you will also understand the following about the applicant:

– You can ask for a candidate to send in their cover letter with details such as what excites them about your company, what are their strengths, what is their opinion on their present company, how can they contribute to the team, and so on. If the candidate fails to follow your instructions in a cover letter, they may find it hard to follow on the job as well.

– A cover letter is usually one or two pages long and gives the candidate an opportunity to talk about themselves. It will show you how organized the candidate is and whether they show respect to the recruiter’s time.

– It tells you if the candidate is witty or dull.

– A cover letter must be unique to the job. If it isn’t, then the candidate has simply changed the name, date, and designation of a template and sent it.

Look out for the cover letter; it can tell you more about the candidate without an interview.

Skill tests must be a priority!

A candidate resume and cover letter can offer a lot of information about them, but can they tell you whether the candidate is an expert in the skills mentioned in their resume? There is no definite answer to this. To determine whether the candidate is good for the company, many employ a pre-defined test that helps them judge the candidates.

The test can be taken online from the comforts of their home or within the office premises, based on the HR policies. Skill tests are a part of the screening process that further help to shortlist only the most suitable candidates. You will see that the step saves hundreds of hours that are otherwise wasted on candidates who do not know how to perform their job.

Interviews are the best way of screening

Once the candidates are shortlisted based on their resume, cover letter, and skills test, the next step is the interview process. The key to recruiting the right candidate is interviewing them. The interview process can be done via phone, video calling, or face-to-face. An interview is the most crucial step in the candidate screening process.

To ensure that your interview goes just right, you must

– Schedule the interview in advance and be prepared with the questions for the information you seek.

– Be consistent and ask all questions that will help you make an informed decision.

– Do not get sidetracked and lose the purpose of the interview.

– Pay attention to the candidate’s response as well as presentation and body language.

Interviews help you realize if the candidate is as good as their resume and cover letter are.

Referral checks can be informative

By now, you may have a list of all the candidates who are a great fit for the role based on their resumes, cover letters, skills tests, and interviews. But an old-school method of referral checks can be more informative than you think. They are an essential part of making an informed and educated decision about hiring a candidate. Is there a better indicator of a candidate than their previous job?

While doing a reference check, make sure that you

– Let the former employer know who you are and why you are calling.

– Be flexible about the time dedicated to the call as they are doing you a favour. Have patience and give them enough time to respond.

– Ask the right questions and go in detail to understand more about the candidate.

Referral checks are the best way to understand a candidate and their performance at their current and previous companies.

Google them!

If you want to screen the right candidates, Google them. While many believe that Googling information about a potential candidate is an invasion of their privacy, if the information is available publicly, then it is okay. You will be surprised how much data is available online about the candidate, which works well for you in the screening process. A simple search will provide you with a lot of information, enough to help you make an informed decision about a candidate.

Offer paid trial projects before you hire

The most common problem that many organizations face is realizing that the candidate looks great on a resume, and excelled in the interview process, but has failed to perform the task provided. Instead of offering the role to the most suitable candidate, offer paid trial projects instead. You can judge their performance based on the project and decide whether to offer or reject the candidate. The candidate not only learns on the job but also prove how effective they are in using the tools available to get the job done.

The last step in the recruitment process pyramid is the candidate selection process that allows a company to choose the right candidate from a pool of ideal candidates.

What is candidate selection?

You just don’t look up and down a resume and say, “Yes, I have found the right candidate for the job.” You go through numerous steps, from drafting the job description to announcing the job, interviews, background checks, with candidates selection process being the last one. For the success of the organization, it is crucial to select the right candidate every time. Candidate selection is a process that comes at the end of the hiring cycle wherein the HR is required to choose the right candidate for the role.

Choosing the right candidate is the most important function that HR has to perform for the successful implementation of the role. Companies even use a comprehensive selection system that taps into various aspects of human talent to ensure that the candidate can contribute to the company’s performance and success in new ways.

After a series of the organized selection process, the perfect hire is offered the job and welcomed into the company. However, most companies nowadays seek help from professionals, such as talenx.io, who, with their expertise and software technology, ease the hiring process and help select the right candidate for the role.

Candidate selection pitfalls

It is unfortunate that many companies still follow the age-old method of hiring, a process that is outdated and makes the candidate selection process more difficult and time-consuming. The world is fast-moving, and companies need to adapt to it. Technological advancements, growing economy, changing minds of the youth are some of the reasons why the hiring process does not reflect the nature of the modern job market.

Some of the most common pitfalls seen in today’s candidate selection process include the following:

1. Poorly written job description

A job description is the first encounter a candidate has with the available role. The most common mistake that many organizations make is that they offer a brief description that does not offer all the vital information that is needed for the candidate to make an informed decision. By offering a poorly written description, you may lose suitable candidates and be burdened with a large number of candidates who are not the right fit for the role.

2. Unstructured selection process

An unstructured selection process can lose a company the right candidate, as many professionals tend to judge the company based on its selection process. Candidates will perceive the company to be unprofessional and prefer not to accept the offer. A messy selection process leaves the candidate with a negative view of the company and its brand. Besides, an unstructured candidate selection process can cause confusion and stress on HR as well.

3. A single process for all roles

One-size-fits-all is a selection process that does not offer positive results. Every job is different from the other and requires different skill sets, personality traits, and competencies to fulfil them. Using the same selection process can lead to a ‘loss of productivity.’ It also leads to an inefficient selection process, resulting in hiring incompetent candidates or overly competent candidate that will lead to employee attrition. Every role is different, and each role needs a different selection process to find the right person for the right job successfully.

4. Fewer candidates to choose from

One of the most misleading aspects of the hiring process is that ‘having fewer candidates to choose from helps make the right decision.’ This can lead you to lose the right candidate. The selection process may be short and easy with only a few best candidates; however, by letting go of one or more suitable candidates, you may have to restart the hiring process if the selected candidate does not accept the offer made. Having more candidates in the selection process is time-consuming and cumbersome, but the results are fruitful.

5. Ignoring technology

Yet another pitfall that the selection process falls victim to is by sticking to manual labour, posting vacancies on job boards, ploughing through heaps of resumes, and scheduling interviews manually by calling each candidate one after the other or sending an invite by post. These tedious and time-consuming tasks can be handled with ease with technology. You can save precious time and energy by adopting technological changes and make your life easier. Furthermore, candidates love to work in a company that is progressing parallel to technological advancements.

6. A decision that is based on gut feeling

You may sometimes face an issue wherein you are left to make a decision based on limited information. Many people rely on their gut feeling and base their decision on that feeling. If your gut feeling is right, you succeed. But unfortunately, decisions based on lack of information and wrong information can be a mistake that you may regret later. It not only lets bias creep into the selection process but also leads to hiring the wrong candidate for the role. Don’t rely on gut feelings, and instead, look for more evidence or data that will help you make the decision.

7. Neglecting candidate experience

Most times, the candidate perception of the company is based on their experience in the selection process. Many companies ignore candidate experience and concentrate more on how to make the process easy and convenient. Candidates expect feedback for the assessment and interviews attended, and failure to offer feedback contributes to a negative review in the minds of the candidates. You can lose the most suitable candidate if you ignore candidate experience during the selection process.

Conclusion

The recruitment cycle is a long and time-consuming process that offers a lot of benefits to the company if done right. To ensure that the process is a success, many companies outsource the process to professionals, such as talenx.io, who, with their proven methodologies, ensure that the hiring process is a success. Talenx.io offers smart candidate screening using psychometrics. They use predictors to measure the candidate’s level of innovation, on-the-job achievements, critical thinking, and other soft skills to ensure that you are offered the best and the ideal talent pool.

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