Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

Keep Unqualified Candidates Out of the Hiring Process

In yesterday’s Advisor, we talked about the pitfalls of having too many unqualified applicants for a job—it costs (wastes) time and money to assess all of these applications. We started to give some tips on reducing the number of unqualified applicants, as well as a couple of ideas to speed up the screening process. Let’s continue those tips now.

More Tips to Reduce Unwanted Job Applications

  • Craft the employment brand. Work with the rest of the organization to ensure that the company’s public image reflects its core values and company culture. This can be reflected through what the organization chooses to share on social media, for example. There can be specific parts of the website that are dedicated to showing what life is like in the organization. Adding these types of messages can influence employment brand perception, and it can, in turn, help to influence those who would be a good fit to be more likely to apply. (And, of course, it can then mean that those who are not in alignment with the company values and culture may be less likely to apply.)
  • Use technology to help. Consider utilizing software to assist in the screening process. While this obviously does not reduce the actual number of applicants, sophisticated software can help to let applicants know if they’re not qualified and their application will not be forwarded for personal review—which achieves the same goal, minimizing the in-person review time for unqualified applications. (Of course, the software must be properly set up and tested to ensure it’s not overly zealous in rejecting applicants—otherwise it could cause you to lose someone whom you may have wanted to interview.)
  • Prescreen when you can. Consider adding some type of prescreening for all applicants that must be completed as part of the application process. For example, this might be some type of assessment test. (Note: Be careful not to make the application process too difficult, or it may mean some applicants walk away who would have otherwise been a great fit.) An even simpler example would be to include Yes/No questions on the application that help you to quickly see who is the most qualified.
  • Consider getting outside help. If it’s in the budget, consider hiring a third party to prescreen applications. Assess whether it would be cost-effective to utilize another organization to do the initial round of screening. Whether this is a good option obviously depends on your specific situation. (And of course, for recruiters, you already are this first round, so this tip may not apply!)

With all of these methods, it’s critical to strike the right balance. Being overzealous could mean the organization loses out on perfectly qualified applicants who deem the process to be too arduous. But having more applications than you can possibly assess is not a tenable solution either. Consider which options might work best for your situation.