Social Talent Academy

Essential Tips for Pre-Screening Candidates

Pre-screening candidates is an essential part of the recruitment process. It can help you identify the most qualified candidates and save time and resources in the long run. In this article, we’ll discuss essential tips for pre-screening candidates.

1. Review Resumes and Cover Letters

The first step in pre-screening candidates is to review their resumes and cover letters. Look for relevant skills, qualifications, and experience that match the job requirements. Check for any gaps in employment or education that may need to be addressed.

Real World example: Say you’re hiring for a Marketing Manager. Resumes that highlight experience with digital marketing, SEO, and content creation would stand out. If a candidate had a year-long gap in employment, you’d note to address this in a future interview to understand the circumstances.

Top tip: Use a checklist to ensure you’re consistently evaluating resumes and cover letters against the same criteria. This helps reduce bias and makes comparison between candidates easier.

2. Conduct Phone or Video Interviews

Phone or video interviews can be a valuable tool in pre-screening candidates. They can help you get a sense of the candidate’s communication skills, enthusiasm for the position, and fit for the company culture.

Real World example: An HR manager for a remote company may conduct a video interview to evaluate a candidate’s comfort with and ability to use technology, a critical skill for remote work. They can also get a sense of the candidate’s personality and enthusiasm for the role and company mission.

Top tip: Practice active listening during interviews, taking the time to understand the candidate’s responses. Ask follow-up questions if necessary and be sure to leave time for candidates to ask their own questions.

3. Check References

Checking references is an important step in pre-screening candidates. Contact the candidate’s previous employers or colleagues to verify their work history and performance.

Real World example: A reference check might reveal that a candidate for a project manager position was particularly skilled at navigating conflict and keeping projects on track, confirming your positive impressions from the interview.

Top tip: When checking references, be mindful of the questions you ask. Some regions have legal restrictions on the type of information a past employer can provide.

4: Assess Skills and Knowledge

Depending on the position, you may want to assess the candidate’s skills and knowledge before inviting them for an in-person interview. This can be done through online assessments or skill-based tests.

Real World example: A software company might use a coding challenge to assess the skills of Software Engineer candidates. The challenge would be relevant to the tasks they would do on the job and provide a concrete demonstration of the candidate’s abilities.

Top tip: It’s crucial that the skills assessments used are directly relevant to the role. Irrelevant assessments can lead to wasted time and may deter otherwise interested candidates.

5: Consider Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is an important factor to consider when pre-screening candidates. It’s important to assess whether the candidate’s values and work style align with the company culture.

Real World example: A startup with a culture of innovation and agility might look for candidates who are comfortable with rapid changes and ambiguity, and who demonstrate a history of creative problem-solving.

Top tip: While cultural fit is important, be mindful that it doesn’t become a euphemism for hiring people who are all the same. Diversity of thought and experience can be beneficial to your company’s culture and performance.

In conclusion, pre-screening candidates is an important part of the recruitment process. By reviewing resumes and cover letters, conducting phone or video interviews, checking references, assessing skills and knowledge, and considering cultural fit, you can identify the most qualified candidates and save time and resources in the long run.

Improve your recruiting skills and boost your career

Our online certifications have helped over 200,000 recruiters improve their performance.