The top five ways to screen and evaluate candidates

November 17, 2022
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Mikaella McInerney
The top five ways to screen and evaluate candidates

Recruitment is a changing world. Every day, new studies provide exciting new ways to screen and evaluate candidates. The days of cut-and-dried CV review followed by a single interview are over, but the many, many options that remain can make it difficult for recruiters to know exactly which options to pursue. On-the-job trials? Creative assessments? Gamification? An AI video interview? The Snowflake Test? Believe it or not, these are all very real recruiting practices used in organizations around the world.

To make it simple for you, we’re breaking down the old and the new to give you the best five ways to screen and evaluate candidates. These techniques mix the best of modern recruitment with tried-and-true practices to ensure you get an objective, accurate and thorough profile of every candidate who crosses your desk.

Scrap the CV

Though CVs play a useful first step in the recruiting process, they are overwhelmingly impractical for actually screening and evaluating your candidate. First of all, CVs are notoriously unreliable. Some candidates exaggerate their own professional history, while others are too modest about important skills. Secondly, CVs are time-consuming and require a lot of attention and capacity to go through in detail, and they can’t provide a tailored look at how the candidate will succeed in your organization. 

CVs essentially provide you with a static, inflexible document that won’t help you build up a true profile of your candidate, their background, their skill sets and how they will perform in the open role. You could use CVs as an opening screening technique - but why not instead utilize smart hiring technology that offers a place to gather practical background information as well as talent assessments, personality testing and more.

Pre-employment testing

Pre-employment testing is all-important for a successful hire. These tests offer tools and methods to screen and evaluate candidates, including case studies, assessment challenges, personality tests and more. They can measure a range of hard and soft skills including specific competencies (like languages, programming abilities, software and more), cognitive ability (the most significant predictor of job performance), problem solving, culture fit and more. Read our guide to pre-employment testing for more information.

Not sure where to start? We have a guide for that, too! Our article on the seven most important pre-employment tests helps you choose the right group of assessments for every open role.

A targeted interview (or two… or three)

Unlike the CV, the tried and true interview is still one of the best ways you can get a sense of your candidate. It provides on the spot information, clarification about their professional history and their working style and a method for testing how they respond under pressure. We recommend a series of interviews throughout the recruitment process. They could proceed like this:

  1. Screening interview: a short (10-15 minute) conversation to eliminate any obviously unsuitable candidates, confirm professional details and ensure the candidate has enough information about and interest in the role.
  2. In-depth interview: a longer (45 minutes - 1 hour) interview with the hiring manager, as well as any other important colleagues or stakeholders in the role. This interview should dive deep into the candidate’s skills, talents and working style, as well as investigating whether they would be a good fit for the team and company culture.
  3. (Optional) Higher level interview: a medium (30 minutes) interview with a founder, CEO, director or other high level member of the company, to get final sign off on the most promising candidates.

In general, we don’t recommend more than three interviews, as your candidate could lose interest and it consumes too much of your own time and energy. Instead, focus on making those three interviews as thorough and practical as possible. Make sure you have the same set of questions and assessment formulas for each candidate, and check out our guide to the top ten ways to assess a candidate during an interview for more tips.

Reference checks

No matter how thorough we are in our screening and evaluating process, there’s always the chance that we miss important details about a candidate. In the end, we only know each candidate for a short time before making a decision about whether to hire them or not, and employment tests or not, we don’t have a complete sense of how well and how consistently they will perform in the role.

That’s why reference checks are such an important part of the recruitment process. They offer you the chance to gather 360° feedback from colleagues, managers, peers and even teachers, offering thorough feedback on a candidate’s working style, strengths, weaknesses and more. Reference checks are all-important, so make sure you don’t skip this step. Here’s our guide to the best reference check questions to ask to get you started!

Compare candidates accurately and fairly

It’s not just what you do - it’s also how you do it! One of the best things about all of these tips for screening and evaluating candidates is that they offer ways where you can put two (or more) candidates side by side and compare them accurately. Rather than trying to compare two CVs given in a different style or an interview where you only walk away with vague impressions, pre-employment testing, structured interviews and reference checks ensure every candidate is operating from the same baseline.

This makes it easy to compare candidates and choose the person best suited for the role without bias. It ensures you don’t miss a future star employee because of a miscalculation. And it guarantees that you’ll end up with a more diverse and innovative workplace.

Need help screening and evaluating candidates?

We have your back. HiPeople’s smart hiring technology makes pre-employment testing, reference checks and more intuitive, data-driven and simple. Let us do the screening and evaluating - and you can focus on building the best team! Book a demo today.

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