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The value of pre-screening your job applicants

pre screening candidate

Pre-screening applicants is a quick and effective way to scope a candidate’s skills and qualities – before you even meet them.

 

The benefits of pre-screening can be a reduction in poor hiring choices and employee turnover, fostering enhanced workplace safety and security. A comprehensive pre-screen enables top-quality candidates to progress.  It saves time as interviews are only conducted with high-calibre talent.

 

As businesses evolve, so do job roles.  Individual hires need to be agile and have transferable skills. In-depth pre-screening can identify individuals who possess these qualities.  By applying standardising processes, you can make efforts to minimise bias too.

 

Common pre-screening methods:

 

  • Background questions determine many candidate variables, such as working rights, years of experience and job/salary expectations. They help identify who meets the basic requirements of the role.

 

  • With the use of key words, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can filter resumes relative to the role and industry. ATS may, however, filter out strong candidates who don’t include pre-determined keywords.

 

  • The one-way video interview highlights an applicant’s verbal communication. It also eliminates scheduling availability issues across time zones, work commitments, office hours. However, the lack of conversational flow may cause some candidates to falter.

 

  • Resume screening is a simple way to assess a candidate’s written communication and language skills. Presentational skills – layout and readability – are evident too.

 

  • Communication screening can highlight a candidate’s skills through written exercises, such as mock emails or letters.

 

  • Telephone screening and work related scenarios – although more time consuming – show a candidate’s ability to engage. Role-play may suit sales positions, where client engagement and rapport building are essential to business success.

 

  • Cognitive aptitude tests are a tried and tested method. They comprise verbal, mathematical and spatial logic questions to test problem-solving skills and a candidate’s ability to play to their own strengths. The tests can be used across a variety of industries and roles, where the ability for logical and independent thought is essential.

 

In addition to aptitude tests, pre-screening tests can focus on skills or personality. Psychometric tests may suit roles with a strong focus on customer service, client care or team-based activity. They assess how a candidate would deal with various situations. Skills tests might be more beneficial for  technical roles – such as software engineering or development – where technical aptitude and coding ability is required.

 

These tests can validate candidate qualities and attributes or can expose false claims. Higher scores on aptitude and skill-based tests tend to be a good predictor of work performance and hence business efficiency.

 

Every role is different. Utilising a mix of pre-screening methods to suit the job requirements ensures a more effective and successful hiring process.  Coupled with background screening, businesses can feel confident they have a robust hiring process.

 

As a provider of background screening, psychometric and aptitude testing – we help our clients determine the best mix of methods to meet their requirements. Research has found a combination of pre-screening methods, behavioural based structured interviews, competency testing and psychometric tests can be a strong predictor of work performance.

 

Marianne Curnow

Marianne Curnow is a Consultant with Cogent Business Solutions, who specialise in security vetting and employment screening. Cogent’s automated screening platform is VerifyNow. VerifyNow is the talent acquisition professional's trusted partner in employment background screening and verification. verifynow.com.au