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How to Design Candidate Screening to Match the Job

Sam Spano

There’s no time — and no reason — to talk to every person who submits an application. If you get 250 applicants for a job, perhaps four to six of those will make it to the interview stage. The first step in whittling down your resumes is screening out.

Screening Out

This hiring process started with a job analysis, and you’re about to see why. Doing the legwork to analyze the job you’re hiring for provides a certain set of requirements you’re not willing to live without. Perhaps you’re hiring an accountant and you’re only looking for licensed CPAs. Maybe you’re hiring someone to operate heavy machinery and need to see a clean driving record. You might be hiring an educator and aren’t willing to settle for anyone without a Master’s degree. This is also where factors such as salary expectations or location can be valuable. If you have $70,000 earmarked for your new hire and an applicant suggests they’re looking for at least six figures, you’ve just screened out a candidate. If you have an applicant that looks good on paper but lives four hours away, there goes another.

Screening In

The screening out process eliminated those that don’t meet some base requirements you have for the job you’re looking to fill. Screening in, as the names suggests, takes an opposite approach. Your job analysis may have yielded 15-20 essential skills, and while it’s unlikely you’re going to find a candidate that ticks each one of those boxes, someone who covers most of those bases is likely going to emerge as a strong contender. In some companies, a person who comes up short on the essential skills you listed might be screened out. But screening in is betting on potential.
Are there skills that, while they may seem a bit outside the box, can ultimately transfer to the role for which you’re hiring? Imagine a theater actor who was an economics major applying for a sales role. That person might lack the measurable success of some other applicants, but are they likely to be good at talking to potential customers? Are they going to be persuasive in selling your products?
What if a person has only three years of experience instead of the five to seven your job description stated you’re looking for, but you’re convinced there are intangibles that make them worth a second look?
So how do you identify that potential?
Fortunately, the most effective way to identify potential is also the easiest. And, you’ve probably already collected the data earlier in the process. The answer: Pre-employment assessments. Preemployment assessments like Wonscore offer data-driven, objective insights that can help you screen in the candidate’s most likely to thrive in your organization.
To access the rest of these insights around candidate screening, download our latest eBook with Wonderlic now.


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