The Ultimate Guide to Conducting Effective Screening Interviews

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 Recent statistics show that nearly 80% of candidate resumes don’t get past the initial screen after applying to an open job description.

Currently, screening interviews have undoubtedly gone down to become an integral part of the hiring and interview process, be it high-volume recruiting, filling in positions for specialized roles, or recruiting impact hires.

Rapid changes happening on the technology front over the past decade have had an intense impact on hiring strategies, with professionals in the space increasingly exploring new mediums such as social networking sites, public forums, and professional events or workshops to source, contact, and screen both active as well as passive candidates.

But what exactly goes into formulating an effective screening interview process, and how can talent acquisition leaders make the most of those to attract the best job seekers? Read on to find out.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Well-Planned Screening Process?

The practice of screening top candidates has been around in recruitment for quite some time now, and no HR professional can deny their importance today.

Melissa Sorenson, executive director of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), explains why candidate screening has become the new watchword for HR leaders these days.

“Whether the individual is an employee, independent contractor or otherwise, the worker represents the employer’s brand; therefore, background screening—particularly when access to people or sensitive material is involved—is a critical risk mitigation tool, regardless of the worker’s classification.”

Having a carefully thought over and planned screening process in place can help companies make the most of their hiring efforts. Still, it can also help candidates on many fronts, which indirectly contributes to the overall growth of our industry at a more significant level.

Some of the visible benefits of having a well-planned pre-screening process in recruiting are:

  • Screening a job applicant is an excellent way to save both money and time by ensuring that only the best of the lot moves ahead.
  • Screening interviews boost the overall efficiency of the hiring process.
  • Screening provides recruiters the opportunity to find those candidates that seem to exhibit qualities that will keep them at a job for a considerable amount of time. This, in turn, reduces employee turnover.
  • The screening process allows recruiters to understand candidate background and psychology and accordingly focus further efforts on what matters, rather than spending all that critical time asking interview questions that don’t add any value.
  • Screening applicants allows recruiters to send feelers out and see what is happening in the industry on the ground level. It will present before them an idea of whether they are hiring during a period in which candidate quality is exceptionally high or a moment where there is a distinct lack of good hires.

Now that you have a fair idea of what a well-formulated screening interview can do to boost your chances of landing the best hires let us look at some of the ways talent acquisition leaders can optimize this process for maximum efficiency.

How Can Recruiters Optimize Screening Interviews to Hire Top Talent?

1. Set Up a Concise and Clear Screening Framework

A good screening process is a prerequisite for filtering out promising candidates from the lot. It can take you a long way in identifying the best talent and mitigating the costs that arise as a result of high turnover rates.

You can start by recognizing the screening methods that work best for your company. You will also need to figure out what the right pre-screening interview questions to ask are.

According to one recent study published by Glassdoor, the length of the recruitment process and the overall time it needs to get completed greatly depends on the screening method a recruiting manager chooses:

  • Phone Interview: 6.8 – 8.2 days
  • Group Panel Interview: 5.6 – 6.8 days
  • One-on-one Interview: 4.1 – 5.3 days
  • Background Check: 3.1 – 3.4 days
  • Presentation: 2.7 – 4.2 days
  • IQ Test: 2.6 – 4.4 days
  • Job Skills Test: 0.6 – 1.5 days
  • Personality Test: 0.9 – 1.3 days
  • Drug Test: 0.3 – 0.8 days

Once you’ve identified the proper screening channels, the next step would be to set up a clear and concise process and map out each step and candidate interaction. This will help the hiring manager understand the hiring timeline better and plan the next steps accordingly.

2. Leverage Technology Innovations to Screen Candidates Faster

There is an array of state-of-the-art technologies available in the market today that recruiters can easily include within their tech stack to augment the screening process by manifolds.

For one, if your screening process necessitates that you conduct a brief initial video conference interview, you will need to choose the right video conferencing tool first. The most reliable options available are Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Webex Meetings.

Also, it would be best if you got into the habit of maintaining a backup of all your video interviews or introductory recordings sent by candidates to screen them quickly.

Leila Lewis, Founder and Business Coach at BeInspired PR, in one of our recent articles, explains how this step can make a huge difference:

“If video interviews are new for you, make sure to record each one you do. Watch the recordings to find ways you can improve. Most people have nervous habits they are unaware of (“um’s,” fidgeting with hair, listening with an expressionless face, etc.). Watching the playback may be difficult, but it is essential to becoming a more successful interviewer moving forward.”

Some other progressive tech innovations that recruiters can think of adopting to improve the screening process are:

  • Advanced Analytics to predict candidate outcomes and future hiring patterns
  • Cloud computing to maintain secure data backups
  • AI-powered chatbots to be able to answer general candidate queries during off-hours
  • Dedicated mobile apps to communicate with candidates and speed up the process

3. Look to Including Pre-Hiring Assessments to Save Time

One research study conducted by the Aberdeen Group found that those companies that use pre-hire assessments are nearly 39% more likely to see lower turnover rates and 24% more likely to have employees who exceed performance goals. 

This same study also found that talent acquisition managers who utilize pre-employment assessments report close to 39% higher satisfaction rates with their final decision than those that don’t. 

There are endless benefits to including pre-hiring assessments within your recruiting strategy to screen candidates effectively. Some of these include:

  • Widening your talent pool
  • Segregating good candidates from the crowd more quickly
  • Mitigating bias in hiring decisions

Start Screening Candidates Today

These are only a few ways in which talent acquisition leaders can think of optimizing pre-screening interviews and work toward increasing their hiring process’s bottom line.

If you don’t have the resources to pre-screen all of your candidates, we can help with that. 

We have advanced tools and on-demand recruiters to help you achieve all of your hiring goals, so make sure you contact us today!  

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