Why You Should Be a ’Screen In’ Recruiter Rather Than a ’Screen Out’ Recruiter

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Every recruiter can be sorted into one of two camps: those who screen in, and those who screen out.

When faced with a candidate, screen-out recruiters ask: “Why?” Their goal is to take as many applicants out of the running as possible. A screen-in recruiter, on the other hand, asks: “Why not?” Screen-in recruiters are more flexible — especially when it comes to assessing the potential value of candidates who do not fit the exact job description to a T.

Both styles of recruiting are perfectly reasonable, but many recruiters worry that taking a screen-in approach can lead to a decrease in quality of hire. However, that’s not really the case. In fact, being a screen-in recruiter can have many benefits.

For example, when you screen in, you can create a larger pipeline of candidates to draw from. If your metrics stay consistent — e.g., your ratio of applicants to offers — you will be able to hire that many more people for your company!

It is important to note, however, that you need to be strategic about which candidates you screen in. This is not a free-for-all. Screening in doesn’t mean letting every applicant advance. Rather, it means relaxing certain requirements in order to open yourself up to brand new sets of candidates. You still have to identify which candidates are most likely to meet your needs.

For example, many organizations hiring for tech roles want to see degrees in computer science, computer engineering, data science, and related fields. Tightening the field even further, these organizations may also require candidates to hold these degrees from certain top-tier universities.

With requirements this tight, a screen-out recruiter will have a hard time finding candidates. Moreover, they’ll be less likely to source candidates from diverse backgrounds. A screen-in recruiter, however, will see these requirements as guidelines — not absolute necessities. They will open their searches up to candidates who may not hold degrees from prestigious universities — but who still have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the role. As a result, the screen-in recruiter is likely to have more numerous and more diverse options to choose from when it’s time to make a hire.

Boost Your Performance

If headcount and more diverse hires aren’t enough to convince you of the merits of screening in, consider that you’ll probably perform better as a screen-in recruiter.

For example, Hadas Weiss, a recruiting specialist at Woo.io who used to source talent for Facebook and Google, has the following anecdote to share:

When I worked at Facebook, there was one recruiter who was very professional. She understood technology very well and was highly motivated. However, she didn’t meet her key performance indicators, and she didn’t hire enough engineers.

She was a screen-out recruiter. She used to overanalyze resumes. She would take deep dives into candidate’s details, and most of the time she would find a reason why the candidate wasn’t a perfect fit for the position.

As a result, she rarely scheduled phone interviews with the technical hiring manager.

This recruiter was so busy trying to find a perfect match for the job description that she lost sight of her real goal: getting candidates in the door. If she had taken a screen-in approach instead, it’s likely she wouldn’t have struggled to hire engineers.

Being a screen-in recruiter takes time and effort, but the benefits — namely, hiring more candidates from more diverse backgrounds — are certainly worth it.

Shannon Smales Ogborn is a former talent advocate at Woo.io. The thoughts of the author are hers alone and do not speak for/represent the opinions of her employer.

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Shannon comes from a mixed background in talent coaching and technical recruiting. She has worked for large-scale startups such as Hired and was previously a talent advocate at Woo.io, where she coached technical talent and helped many candidates find jobs they love. Currently, Shannon is a technical recruiter at Google. She is passionate about helping others find their dream jobs in whatever capacity she can.