How to Automate Candidate Screening and Optimize Applications: A Brief Guide


Candidate Screening is a process of evaluating candidates at different stages. The stages involved are phone screening, resume screening, interviewing the candidates, and background screening.

Traditionally, the candidate screening process would start after receiving the candidate application. However, the advancement in recruitment technology has changed the recruitment process to some extent.

Candidate screening is to make sure the right candidates move ahead in the hiring process. For example, you may want to ask candidates if they have worked on a specific skill or about their salary expectations or if they are willing to work in shifts.

So, you may think of calling each applicant and asking some of the above pre-screening questions. But won’t that be a cumbersome task?

We don’t think it’s the best use of your time, call each candidate.

Recruitment automation can help automate such mundane activities involved in the candidate screening process.

We will review different stages of candidate screening and see how recruitment automation can simplify things for recruiters.

A. Basic Screening: Checking for the must-have requirement

How much is the candidate’s notice period, is the candidate willing to work in a shift, is the candidate willing to relocate?

Many such must-have criteria need to get checked even before the candidate application is processed.

There are two ways you can gather this information

  1. Phone Screening
  2. Automated Pre-Screening

Let’s look into each of these two processes in detail.

1. Phone Screening

You can call the candidate and ask all your must-have questions.

Companies that rent candidate databases call candidates and ask these pre-screening questions. If all criteria ticked off, they would request the candidate to apply for the job.

In another scenario, when candidates directly apply for the job, a recruiter will have to call the candidate and ask the pre-screening questions.

Both the above approaches are very time-consuming and exhausting. The efforts required are repetitive, and hence it is wiser to automate such tasks.

So, let’s look at the automated candidate pre-screening.

2. Automated Pre-Screening: Save time and efforts

The must-have criteria can be easily automated using some recruitment automation. Companies can use one of the methods –

a. Pre-Screening Using Job Application Form

The must-have questions can be a part of the job application form. It means when candidates apply for the job, they will have to answer all the must-have questions.

Modern online recruitment software will also let you filter candidates based on their responses.

b. Voice-Based Automated Call Recording

Most people are aware of the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. It lets callers access information using voice response.

Similar to IVR, there are outgoing systems that can automatically call candidates and record their responses.

Companies can configure their mandatory questions and ask candidates to record their responses.

B. Resume Screening – Screen Resumes Using AI

Once you receive the candidate application, the next step is to screen the resumes to identify the relevant candidates.

Resume screening is about finding the candidate’s skills, the various companies the candidate worked for, educational qualifications, certifications, etc.

Most recruiters or hiring managers go through the pile of resumes one after another to find the most relevant candidates. However, this is very time-consuming.

Modern technologies like AI can automate resume screening.

Resume screening software can screen resumes using AI and help companies identify the most relevant candidates. It will help recruiters to engage the top talent quickly.

Manually screening resumes could take days. However, AI can screen resumes in seconds. Automating resume screening leaves more time for recruiters to interact with the relevant candidates.

C. Assessments – Get it tested

After you figure out the relevant candidates, you can quickly ask these candidates to take assessments.

It could be technical, aptitude, or psychometric assessment.

The assessment results will help you see how skilled the candidates are.

Assessments are an effective way to evaluate candidates for junior or fresh graduate positions.

There are many assessment tools available for various purposes, such as Mettl, iMocha, Xobin, etc. These platforms keep producing new tests every day.

The assessment platforms also integrate with the recruiting software. It means you can manage assessment and the rest of the hiring process in one place.

Imagine conducting such assessments manually on a large scale. It would be a mammoth effort.

Automating assessment is another such example where recruiting automation helps companies to hire faster.

D. Interviewing The Candidates

Interviewing is the ultimate step to evaluate the candidate.

An interviewer can ask various technical or soft skill questions to evaluate the candidate on different levels.

There could be situational or behavioral questions to assess how the candidate would act or think in certain situations.

During the interview, candidates are also assessed for their communication skills.

There are different ways the way interviews can happen –

  1. Telephonic interview
  2. Virtual Interview or Video Interview
  3. Face to Face or In-Person interview

Telephonic Interview

A telephonic interview is the first step in the interview process. Most companies conduct a telephonic interview to assess candidates technically or for their core skills.

Both candidate and interviewer agree for a mutual time for the call.

If a candidate clears the interview, the candidate gets the call for the next round. It could be an in-person interview.

The number of interviews would change from company to company. There could be multiple rounds of telephonic interviews or other kinds.

Virtual/Video Interview

With the rise of remote working, video calls got more popular. More and more companies are using video calls for their routine work.

Many companies have set up remote teams. And while hiring for a remote workforce, video interviews come super handy.

The video interview is a good substitute for an in-person interview. The interviewer can observe the body language of the candidate in the virtual interview and learn many things.

Candidate screening using video interviews has also evolved with technology.

There are modern video interview tools that help you analyze the video of the interview. It checks your expression, body language, and the transcript of the interview. It then produces the overall score.

There are also Asynchronous Video Interviews. In such an interview, a question appears on the screen, and the candidate records the answer for that question.

Face to Face or In-Person interview

Nothing beats the in-person interview. Just meeting people in person tells so much about them!

Candidates may cheat in telephonic or video interviews, but there are no chances of doing so in face-to-face interviews.

You get to see their body language, how they present themselves, the vibe. Machines can’t beat this! It is where human intelligence excels.

E. Background Screening

When a company almost decides to hire someone, it also wants to make sure its new hire is clean.

The company would run a background check to see if a candidate has any criminal history or violated any laws in the past.

Many specialized agencies take care of background screening. These agencies are now becoming digital. You can send them candidate details via APIs, and they send you the background screening results.

Why Should Companies Incorporate Candidate Screening Automation?

The job of recruitment automation is to help companies hire top talent faster. And the only way you can speed up the process is by automating the repetitive tasks.

Most of the technological advancements in the recruitment space are apparent in the initial stages of the hiring process. For example, to automate candidate pre-screening for must-have criteria.

Similarly, resume screening using keywords often produces false positives. Hence, we often see a poor ratio between candidates sourced and candidates getting an interview call.

We have seen how candidate screening automation helps you connect with the relevant candidates at each step.

Recruiters love talking to candidates. They will be able to do it effectively only when they have sufficient time in their hands. And only automation can make it possible.

Also, when you leverage automation, it helps you reflect back on your hiring process. The various data points it collects will show you where you excel and where you need to improve.

Amit Gawande