Screening to match talent with opportunity is the crux of successful recruiting. In fact, employers who say candidates are always screened effectively are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the recruitment process.
However, according to our recent Talent Advisory Survey, nearly 70% of employers believe employees are sometimes hired who lack the required skills to do the job. Perhaps your organization excels at defining jobs and sourcing talent, yet fails to screen candidates effectively. If that’s the case, you may be surrounded by coworkers who aren’t up to the demands of the job.
Clear gaps in perceived screening effectiveness offer some insight into why the wrong people are sometimes hired for a job. For starters, fewer than half of employers believe most screening actions “always” occur. Additionally, most talent (72%) says the hiring manager does not always identify the position’s top three priority skills. Candidates also say they are not provided with enough information to evaluate cultural fit (74% not always) and that screening questions are not always aligned with job definition requirements (70% not always).
Amid these conditions, high-performing recruitment organizations always pick the cream of the crop by prioritizing candidate screening. They demonstrate this commitment in three ways: they prioritize skill needs, ensure culture fit, and care about references.
Prioritize Skill Needs
According to our survey, high-performing organizations are 1.4 times more likely to say candidates are screened for skill fit. Screening starts with knowing which skills are most important. Interestingly, candidates who say the recruiter understands the position’s top three priority skills are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the recruitment process (63% “very satisfied” when “always” versus 33% “very satisfied” when not “always”). Nevertheless, only 28% of job seekers say the recruiter always understands a position’s top three priority skills. This finding proves the value in recruiters working closely with hiring managers to understand the skills and attributes candidates must have to be successful.
As a complementary strategy, screening questions should align with the job description. A best practice is to examine a job description carefully and consider potential screening questions for each point in a “tell me about a time when” scenario. This approach compels candidates to provide specific examples that prove their capabilities while mitigating the risk of a bad hire.
Screen for Culture Fit
The second key to successful screening and identifying the cream of the crop is providing enough information to evaluate culture fit. Regrettably, only 28% of job seekers report that employers always ask enough questions to evaluate culture fit, and only 26% are always provided with enough information to properly evaluate their own fit with the norms and values of an organization. Ultimately, only companies that communicate their culture during the screening process will win and allow new hires to maximize their potential. Survey data supports this claim: High-performing recruitment organizations are 1.5 times more likely to say candidates are screened for culture fit.
Vet Supervisory References
Finally, high-performing recruitment organizations are 1.7 times more likely to contact supervisory references before extending an offer to a candidate. This step in the screening process takes time, but it’s worth the effort. Speaking with references can provide real-world, objective insight into a candidate’s past performance, as well as help predict future success.
Once confirming the basics about a candidate’s employment dates and roles, ask references direct questions to elicit responses that showcase how candidates handle situations similar to those they will encounter on the job. Examples to consider include: “Tell me about a time when Oliver juggled many competing priorities.” “What tends to be a source of Amy’s stress?” “What was Shriya’s approach to handling difficult stakeholders?” “Describe the environment in which Isaac performed his best work.” Listen for the reference’s tone and any pauses in each response that may indicate a red flag, and use this opportunity to learn new information to help finalize a hiring decision.
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