Modern technology has revolutionized the way recruiters source talent and the way candidates apply for jobs. Generally, that is a good thing. However, in an environment in which candidates can apply for multiple positions with multiple organizations with the click of a mouse, one challenge executive recruiters face is appropriately screening a high volume of candidates at any given time.

How can you meet this challenge successfully? What are some best practices for candidate screening that will net you the right candidate for the position and save you time and money in the process?

Best Practice One: Create an Accurate Candidate Persona

In order to screen candidates effectively, you must first know who and what you are looking for in an ideal candidate. To that end, it is wise to create a candidate persona against which to measure actual candidates. SHRM notes about candidate personas: “Candidate personas help you to target people to join your organization that connect with your talent brand or mission based on current employee data, market research and educated guesses around experience, goals, motivations and challenges.”

Template: Creating Ideal Candidate Personas – Our free persona template will help you improve your talent acquisition by identifying who your ideal candidates are and how best to reach them.

Best Practice Two: Leverage the Power of Automation

A strong talent management solution will help you screen candidates more effectively. A talent management system that parses resumes and compares skills and education with pre-defined parameters for open positions based on candidate personas enables you to wade through a sea of applicants to narrow your list of qualified candidates greatly.

Best Practice Three: Assess Skills through Pre-Hire Projects

The method you use to assess skills varies according to your industry and the available position. In some cases, skills assessment may be something as simple as a list of targeted questions. In other cases, an actual project assignment may be necessary to evaluate the skills of a candidate most accurately. In either event, streamlining the process will help you score potential candidates more quickly, and will further narrow your list of viable candidates.

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Best Practice Four: Use Social Media Carefully

While it is now almost standard practice to use social media to source candidates, using social media to screen candidates is a little more tricky, but definitely worth your time. TalentCulture’s “Dos and Don’ts of Screening Your Candidates Online” offers some tips for social media screening.

  • Create a written policy for using social media in the background screening process and remain consistent in the way you apply that policy across the board.
  • Understand the legal implications of using information obtained via social media. Knowing what can and cannot be used will help you stay compliant with all regulations.
  • Do not believe everything you see and read online. Instead of looking at isolated incidents, use social media to discern general patterns regarding candidate behaviors and skills.
  • Do not assume that lack of social media presence indicates a deficiency in skill or experience.

eBook: Using Social Media for Executive Search – Learn how to leverage social media in your executive search process more effectively.

Best Practice Five: Prepare Well to Cut Time to Hire

Do everything reasonable to cut the time involved in the hiring process while still practicing due diligence with your screening process. Perform background checks in accord with all applicable regulations, and take time to examine the results. Check provided references and do your homework. Communicate frequently with qualified candidates prior to a formal interview.

Prepare for the interview by reviewing all candidate information gathered during the initial screening process. Ask well-designed questions specific to the interviewee and listen carefully to the answers. Do not ignore the importance of testing social skills as well as professional skills.

The Bottom Line

Effective candidate screening is part art and part science. It is a skill that executive recruiters must cultivate and hone over time. By creating accurate candidate personas, using available automated screening technology, assessing skills via pre-hire projects, using social media as a tool, and preparing well for the interview process, executive recruiters can find the best candidate match.

ThriveTRM is a talent management solution that facilitates effective candidate screening. By enabling collaboration among all those involved in the hiring process, facilitating candidate engagement through appropriate communication, and providing a better candidate experience, ThriveTRM offers executive recruiters the tools they need to effectively screen and hire top talent. To explore what ThriveTRM can do for your organization, take a moment to schedule a demo at your convenience.