The Secrets to Screening Candidates

By: Alex Morrison 05-04-2016

Categories:** HR Analysis, ** HR Trends in Recruitment,

The first step in screening applicants is a CV. The second step is having your qualified candidates fill out an application form when they come in for an interview. It is important to have the form ready before you begin the interview process. Make sure you know the guidelines regarding questions you can and cannot ask.

When screening CVs, it helps to have the job description and specifications in front of you so you can keep the qualities and skills being looked for clearly in mind. Evaluating CVs is a subjective process, because there is no standard CV. However, there are certain things that you should expect to find—the candidates name, address, and telephone number at the top, and a brief summary of employment and educational experience, including dates.

The two things you should be looking out for above all are the neatness and the professionalism of the CV. If you find many typos or a badly formatted CV, it shows that the candidate is not prepared to put his or her best foot forward during this crucial stage of the game.

It is also a good idea to try to determine the person's career patterns. Look for steady progress and promotions in past jobs. Also look for stability in terms of length of employment. Be aware of how economic conditions can affect a person's resume. During a climate of frequent corporate downsizing, for example, a series of lateral career moves may signal that a person is a survivor. This also shows that the person is interested in growing and willing to take on new responsibilities, even when there is no corresponding increase in pay or status.

However, it is easy for people to embellish their CV with a larger-than-life attitude. Therefore, it is a good idea to have candidates fill out a job application, by mail or in person, and then compare it to their CV. The application should ask for specific information such as name, address and phone number; educational background; work experience that includes salary levels; awards or honours; whether the applicant can work fulltime or part-time, as well as available hours; and any special skills relevant to the job (foreign languages, familiarity with software programs, etc.).

Be sure to ask for names and phone numbers of former supervisors so you can check for references; if the candidate is currently employed, ask whether it would be a problem to contact their current place of employment.

Just because a resume or a job application form has a few gaps in it does not mean you should overlook it entirely. You could be making a big mistake. Stay focused on the skills and value the job applicant could bring to your company, and try to find out how deep their motivation runs. Even a candidate without the level of experience you are looking for can be a massive boon to your staff if such a person is a quick learner, or highly motivated to go the extra mile.