You may already be aware that we’re in a tough hiring market, with low unemployment and more job openings than ever. If hiring is one of the many important things you're tasked with, you can speed up your hiring process and get to the best candidates quickly by setting up proper candidate screening. Not only will these three tips save you time, but improving your hiring process will help you lock down the best candidates before your competition can even get to them.
People are usually shocked, and even a little offended, when they find out that recruiters typically spend only 6 seconds looking at the average resume. Seems crazy, right? What can someone learn in such a quick look?
A lot, actually.
Before you look at any resumes, you should have a clear idea of what the basic requirements are for the job. What skills and experience are absolutely necessary? With this in mind, you can look over a resume, take a quick look at positions they held, responsibilities they had, and any skills they have listed separately (such as languages spoken) and determine if a candidate meets these basic requirements.
If they do, look a bit closer. How did they treat the resume? Is it customized for the job you’re offering? Are there typos or misspellings? If they meet the requirements and didn’t show signs of carelessness, they’re ready for the next phase.
Once the resume has passed muster, it’s time to delve deeper into each candidate. I like to send each of them a follow-up email that asks a few very specific questions focused around the most important tasks you need them to tackle. Here’s an example from an email I recently sent out to people who applied for a sales position:
Before we organize the final interview, I would like you to tackle the following test.
Below are four sales scenarios I want you to think about and then answer. These are fairly typical situations you will be in as an outbound sales representative with us.
Basically, you want the candidate to walk you through the process of how they’d handle an important task — preferably the most important task — associated with the job. If they can pass that, they’ll be ready for the next phase of your screening process.
This is the final part of my screening process. I want to get a feel for personality and ask a few more key questions that will tell me if the candidate will work out.
I always start by asking for current and expected salary. If you haven’t done a lot of hiring, this may seem like a bold question to come out of the gate with. But it’s what I always start with, partly because it surprises people (they won’t try to get strategic with their answer), but mostly because it gives you a lot of information very quickly.
Their current salary gives me a sense of caliber and seniority. I’ll expect a different level of skills and responsibilities for someone who makes an entry level salary for the position as opposed to someone making top pay for the same. If their current or expected salary is well above what we can possibly offer, this candidate is likely out of the running. Even if people are willing to take a pay cut for a job, they don’t often last long after doing it.
I also like to ask why they left their last role. There are two things I’m looking for here. One is a candidate who bad mouths their previous employer. That’s a big red flag for me. The other is reasons that would make the job we’re offering a bad fit. For example, if they’re quitting because they want all federal holidays off, and I’m hiring for a job where they’re required to work on federal holidays, I know it’s not going to work.
Finally, I like to ask them what common mistakes are that people make in the role they’re applying for. If they really know the job, they’ll know these. It also shows you what their concept is of getting the job wrong.
If you’re overwhelmed by this and all your other tasks, just try starting with number one, and seeing if you can get through resumes better and faster. That alone might give you the time you need to get going on step two. Good luck!