Best Practices: Screening & Assessing Candidates

Stephanie TroianoCandidate Experience, Candidate Selection Process Strategy, Employee Engagement, Finding Top Quality Candidates, Initial Interviews, Screening Resumes, Using Pre-Employment Assessment Tests

Candidate Interviewing With a New Team

Screening candidates is often one of the most labor-intensive parts of your hiring process. Following a structured plan can help you work through this screening phase quickly and efficiently.

Factoring in the use of pre-employment assessments in your hiring process already puts you light years ahead of other companies who aren’t assessing their candidates in this way, but it can be tough to know where and when these tools fit in to the overall process. Some teams use pre-hire testing as a screening tool, whereas others use it after an in-depth interview to further solidify their feelings on a candidate or help sway them another direction.

In general, there are a couple of considerations before deciding on an approach:

  1. Increased competition for talent among employers > drastically lower unemployment rates > increased candidate employment options
  2. Level of hire. The lower the level of the position, the more upfront testing you can get away with. The higher the level talent the less upfront testing is recommended and more candidate engagement will be needed

More generally, if you are getting a ton of applicants (say 300-500 per month), then asking the best of your talent pool to complete a short 10-minute sales skill tests can be helpful in trimming your talent pool to some better qualified candidates. What you wouldn’t want to do is ask them to dive into a lengthy 60+ minute assessment before having a conversation with them.

Quick on the Draw

Keep in mind too, that you have about 24 hours max to respond to applications and ask candidates to complete this testing task or even ask them for a phone interview without having a substantial drop off in candidate engagement (ie: tests completed and responses to interview requests). The higher the level of talent tends to see an even more dramatic decline in engagement if it takes you longer than 24 hours to get back to candidates.

Ideally, we’d spend some time ranking our candidates right away. We’d reach out to connect with our 4 and 5 star candidates to schedule a short 15-30 minute phone interview within 24 – 48 hours max from the time they apply. If the candidate seems promising after they phone interview then we’d ask them to complete our full set of assessments.

This does a couple of things:

  1. Massively improves your candidate’s experience and gives them a chance to get to know you, which further engages them in the opportunity
  2. Weed out the ones that look okay from a resume standpoint but are really duds
  3. Improves your interviewing skills dramatically in a short period of time.
    1. You learn to ask the important questions, getting to the root of the issue quickly
  4. Accelerates your overall hiring process by at least 1 week, if not more
  5. Ensures you don’t miss out on the best talent
    1. Typically the less desirable talent are those likely to engage in testing, long applications or other impersonal screening tactics
  6. Allows you to screen as many as 60 candidates per week (30 hours of work) lighting fast

In the end, executing a top quality search campaign has a lot of nuance to it. If you’re interested in reviewing some of the more detailed best practices for hiring and screening your talent pool that will really elevate your ability to capture the best talent available on the market, get in touch with us!