Finding the Diamond in the Grass: Screening in and Screening Out

Let’s assume you have a good website, complete with an online resume builder. Candidates fill out a questionnaire and the data ends up directly in your applicant tracking system, and you are now harvesting more resumes in a day than you used to get in a week. But there is one BIG problem: too many unqualified resumes! You are taking more and more time to screen the resumes and finding that for the most part they are not the kind of people you are highly interested in. So what do you do? The choices are far from ideal: hire more recruiters, work the current recruiters more hours, dump everything into a database and screen on key words, simply send the resumes to the manager without any preliminary screening, or… Find a way to screen these candidates using some sort of technology. The fourth and fifth steps of screening and assessment can be automated to some degree and many organizations are offering tools to screen incoming candidates. (The other steps are: planning, branding/marketing, sourcing, screening, assessing, selling, checking and closing, on-boarding or orienting and retaining employees. See the articles from the past two weeks). For years it has been possible to improve the reliability and validity of candidates by putting them through assessment centers or lengthy and expensive paper and pencil ability or personality tests. But these have been used mostly for skills testing of entry-level workers or for culture and personality fit or for people about to enter extremely sensitive positions. They were simply too expensive and time consuming to be practically administrated to a large number of potential hires. Tests exist that rate candidates on their personality traits, corporate culture fit, honesty, aptitude, and IQ. As long as an organization can show that whatever is tested for is directly relevant to doing the job successfully, it is probably legal. While there are still legal issues to be aware of in testing candidates, mostly it is perfectly legal to use these tests and liability is minimal. And, the payback from a testing program is faster candidate selection and greatly increased job performance and satisfaction, factors that lead to greater productivity and lower turnover. So how do you use these tools on your web site? You should think of candidate screening and assessment as different issues. Screening is to find candidates who meet the minimum job qualifications. These are things such as the willingness to relocate to a new city or to accept a certain salary range. Other job qualifications could include minimum educational standards or experience criteria. Several firms offer tools that can be integrated with your website to do this level of screening. Some of them include Hire.com and Recruitsoft (Note: I am on the advisory board of Hire.com). By asking candidates these basic things, you eliminate them from the jobs where they are not going to be successful. And these tools can also refer the candidate to jobs where they may meet requirements or allow them sign up to receive emails of appropriate jobs whenever they become available. Candidates find this to be a satisfying experience as they are not left waiting for feedback as to whether or not they may be considered and they are immediately put into the loop for referral to other, and more suitable, jobs. Assessment gets at a deeper level than screening. It tries to get at issues of fit or skill or aptitude. Interviewing candidates is the most common form of assessment. Yet the value of most interviews is suspect and study after study shows little correlation with the interview and subsequent performance or job satisfaction. Testing is a way to augment interviewing and increase the chance that you will find the best people for a specific position. These are usually tests that have been prepared by experts and offered by firms who specialize in testing reliability and validity. By integrating a multi-level assessment process into your web site you can reduce the number of frivolous resumes submitted by curiosity seekers and filter out the resumes of those only partly qualified. What these tools can do, when properly constructed and deployed, is to give you a few really good candidates who meet your job requirements and have the skills, aptitude or cultural fit you are seeking. Some of you may feel that testing will be a “turnoff” to candidates and they will opt to go to other sites. While I cannot say that this doesn’t happen, I do have testimony from many that they find it useful. It underlines an organization’s seriousness about filling the position (why would you test for a boilerplate job?) and their seriousness about finding a really high quality candidate. What seems to matter is how long and difficult the test is. The newer online tools are short and when implemented in a well-designed web site are offered in incremental “doses” that offer feedback. The leaders in this space include giants like SHL International and Development Dimension International. Other major players are organizations such as The Center for Creative Leadership and Personnel Decisions International. Each of these organizations has been in the business of providing pencil and paper tests for many years, and has recently added on-line tools that can also be integrated into your recruiting web site. There are also several newer companies that are designing, developing and offering a variety of good tests, as well. These include firms such as ePredix, Treeba, Brainbench, and DirectFit. As you redesign your website or think about a second or third generation site, you should investigate incorporating some of these tools into it. They will give your candidates a better sense of what kind of company you are and about what a particular job involved. They will reduce your resume piles; provide you with quality candidates and overall lead to employees of greater and greater quality. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

Article Continues Below

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

Topics

3 Comments on “Finding the Diamond in the Grass: Screening in and Screening Out

  1. The number one problem with screening candidates on your corporate website or even online applications in general is that highly qualified candidates will not spend the time it takes to complete them. It makes them feel less empowered and with their skills in such high demand they don’t need to take the time to fill them out. Secondly, 90% of job searches online are conducted by people at their current job. Asking candidates to spend more than 10 minutes on your website’s career section can get them in trouble or at least they perceive that it can. This approach addresses some symptoms of a company’s recruiting problems but not the cause and it will not effect real change in a recruiting/HR department.

    You can read the original article at:
    http://www.erexchange.com/a/d.asp?cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

    Post your own Article Review
    http://www.erexchange.com/p/g.asp?d=M&cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

  2. An excellent article! Kevin has a “knack” for cutting through to the core issues. Just a reminder that HRsmart.com and a few other Recruiting Management Systems also have all the features discussed, including the ability to include job specific screening questions in job postings.

    You can read the original article at:
    http://www.erexchange.com/a/d.asp?cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

    Post your own Article Review
    http://www.erexchange.com/p/g.asp?d=M&cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

  3. I agree with Mr. Wheeler that finding a way to use technology to support finding the right candidate is the smart choice. We are able to get quantity of candidates through the job boards available to us online. However, we spend much of our time sifting through those responses instead of actually interviewing those candidates which are the most qualified and who we have the highest probability of hiring. I totally disagree with the contention that candidates won’t complete an online interview. Good candidates don’t want to waste their time going in to interview with a company only to find out that there is no match. Spending 15-20 minutes doing an online interview is significantly more effective for them than sending their resume to 100 places and hoping that one will call. Candidates who are unwilling to complete an online interview are often not truly ready to make a move and I would question how good they really are if they are unwilling to complete an interactive interview, particularly if they can remain anonymous. The interview, however, has to be written well and designed to give a candidate the opportunity to explain what is important to them and not just answer objective questions from the employer. Products like HRWebXpress make this option a reality.

    You can read the original article at:
    http://www.erexchange.com/a/d.asp?cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

    Post your own Article Review
    http://www.erexchange.com/p/g.asp?d=M&cid=6A3E8289FCE811D482F600105A12D660

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *