5 Screening Tactics that Shortlist Candidates

Posting an open job listing online can bring in hundreds of applications. It quickly becomes overwhelming as you sort through the candidates. With an effective screening process, you can quickly sort out those who are obviously not qualified. You can also quickly narrow down the candidates to a shortlist of the most qualified. This streamlines the hiring process and helps you hire the person who best fits your needs and company culture. 

1. Resume and Cover Letter Prescreening

Screen candidates by reviewing submitted resumes and cover letters. This does not mean using an algorithm to scan resumes and cover letters for keywords that match your job description listing. Using this approach will create a high risk of rejecting a high-quality candidate simply because they used a different vocabulary on their resume. 

Instead, review resumes and cover letters for formatting, spelling, and grammar. These show an attention to detail. Look for employment gaps that you can ask how the applicant spent their time. Check for career progress that shows the applicant is invested in growth. Pay attention to employment change frequency. This can indicate how likely the applicant will stay long-term with your company. 

2. Phone Screen

Do a quick phone screen to create a shortlist of candidates you want to bring in for a full interview. Create a short list of questions that you will ask every applicant. They could be questions about experience or the most important job qualifications. Call each applicant, ask them the questions, and write down the answers. 

3. Skill Test

Some positions lend themselves well to administering a skills test. You can administer a skills test to verify the claims on the applicants’ resume. Create a project or use a previous task performed by someone in the position. Give applicants the test and a limited amount of time to complete it. Then, compare the applicant’s performance in the test. 

4. Background Checks

If the position you are hiring for requires specific skills, you may need to run a background check. This will ensure they do not have an arrest history that would disqualify them from the position. For example, someone convicted of identity theft applies for a position that requires handling personal information. Someone suspected of embezzlement applies for a position that requires managing money or financial accounts. If you run background checks, you must inform the applicant and get their consent. 

5. Social Media Screening

A simple way to screen candidates is to look at their social media. This could include verifying their resume and cover letter information by looking at their LinkedIn profile. Or you can look at their Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube presence. It is not a bad sign if a candidate does not have social media. However, you may want to think twice about moving forward with someone whose values do not align with the company’s. Be careful when screening. While you want someone who fits the company culture and values, you don’t want to have a team that is too homogenous. Then, you risk a lack of different perspectives. 

Shortlist High-Quality Candidates

Creating a shortlist of candidates streamlines the hiring process. By reducing the number of candidates, you can spend more time assessing the individuals that would be the best fit. This improves your hiring retention rates by diving deeper into each applicant. 

Work with BOS Staffing to use these screening strategies to shortlist your candidates. 

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