Best Ways to Screen Candidates

Hiring managers often find it challenging to sort through hundreds if not thousands of job applications after posting a job ad. Well, despite the thrill of having many candidates who are interested in the vacant post, you will have to go through all to find the best talent for the job. Eliminating unqualified persons from potential all-star performers is undeniably daunting. Additionally, determining if the applicant is the right fit for the position is challenging. As such, hiring managers should screen job candidates before making hiring decisions.

Below are the best methods for screening candidates.

  1. Resume Screening

Sifting through the applicant’s resume is an old-school technique of finding the right candidates for the job. Though resumes are not the best indicator of the candidate’s skills, they are a key element of hiring that won’t go away anytime soon. Screening resumes becomes more efficient when using an applicant tracking system as it automatically scans the resume for key information, which it uses to build the applicant profile.

Employing an automated resume screening method provides more time for the recruiter to focus on qualified and suitable candidates. The system also speeds up the recruiting and hiring process, providing a better candidate experience. However, before using applicant tracking system for resume screening;

  • Include a wide range of keywords in the applicant tracking system search parameters. Leaving out certain keywords may screen out qualified candidates.
  • Be specific with the keywords. The majority of candidates are aware of how the tool functions and will stuff resumes with keywords to be captured in the system.
  • Don’t limit the keyword choice to skills. Include education, location, and experience in your keyword selection.

Screening resumes is probably the most thorough method of screening candidates. It provides insights into individual factors and enables hiring managers to have an image of the candidate. However, on the downside, it is time-consuming, especially for vacant positions with lots of applicants. It also relies on the candidate’s truth, which introduces an element of bias.

Here are the tips and tools to find and validate someone’s email.

  1. Reference Checking

Reference checking is another old-school method of screening candidates. However, it remains a crucial part of making an informed and educated decision about the applicant. Probably the best indicator of a candidate’s potential is confirming their performance with previous employers.

When conducting reference checks for your candidates, begin by identifying yourself. Introduce yourself to the former employer, the company you represent, and explain why you are calling. Be patient and ask the right questions to save both your time and the referee’s time.

  1. Video Interviewing

Video interviews are a stepping-stone after checking the applicant’s resume and initial interviews. Hiring managers send the candidates a link to where they can access predetermined questions for them to answer while recording a video. Recruiters should also provide a deadline for the submission of the video.

Compared to typical phone interviews, video interviews provide more context as the hiring managers can see how the candidates communicates and expresses themselves as they answer the questions. Additionally, recruiters can assess body language and have a better sense of a candidate’s character.

Bonus tip: The folks at Time Doctor have a really comprehensive way to screen job applicants and find the best fit for their team. Check out their 9-step recruitment process.


Screening job candidates is arguably a tedious process for most hiring managers. However, to ease the process, recruiters should begin by establishing key qualifiers for the vacant post. Doing this will help them skim through resumes for essential skills with ease. They will also make use of the applicant tracking system effectively and ensure smooth team dynamics in the future. Also, if you want your business to have a competitive edge, click here.


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