6 Traditional HR Practices to Drop When Screening Candidates

Categories: Advice for HR Professionals, Recruitment Advice, Trends and Learning

Traditional HR Practices to Drop When Screening Candidates

There’s no doubt that your recruitment’s screening process is the main precursor to a company’s smooth and successful hiring program.

From the very beginning, your recruitment firm or HR team handles the screening and interviewing of candidates before the hiring manager takes over in further assessing a particular applicant.

Thus, your search team has to make sure that you’re employing relevant strategies in screening potential employees instead of traditional, outdated HR practices that may prevent you from attracting exceptional talent.

Here’s what you should be doing less when pre-screening candidates:

1. Focusing too much on technical skills

There may be recruiters and employers who gauge a candidate’s qualifications based on their technical skills, thinking it could help them save on training time. Not to mention, employees would prefer working with someone who has had relevant training and experience.

While this is understandable, you should not forget that well-rounded candidates who possess both the technical and soft skills are more ideal than your average job seeker.

Technical expertise may be beneficial up to a certain extent, but unless someone displays the ability to communicate, collaborate, or interact with the team, the level of productivity and sense of harmony in the workplace might take a back seat.

2. Caring so much about the cover letter

Cover letters may be one of the first things to let go of from your screening policy. They provide little to no value in determining your candidate’s range of skills, and often, they contain the same information from the resume about the job seeker’s professional background or objectives.

Given the lack of benefits in these areas, you should consider if cover letters are worth any of your time or attention. In the same way that you’re making good use of your time, you could spare candidates the trouble of having to write a dysfunctional cover letter. Instead, you could have them put together the following resources:

  • A resume that highlights their core competencies and experience.
    • Tip: Use your screening software to help you go over hundreds of resumes that may contain certain keywords and phrases you’re looking for. Just make sure you don’t rely on keyword-searching algorithms alone in processing an application.
  • A portfolio containing their best work samples.
    • Tip: You could request candidates to add here their social media handles on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, too.
  • A letter of recommendation from references to vouch for their talent and work ethics

3. Giving importance to the school where the candidate went

It’s discriminatory to form an impression on your candidates based on the college or university that they attended.

When you give weight to educational credentials, you’re in effect reducing your reach for all available prospects including those who may not be traditionally schooled, but chose to be self-learners in the job market.

By preferring pedigreed candidates, you may be shutting the door to those who have developed relevant qualities and skills beyond the four corners of a classroom.

In these days where digital technologies are making it possible for someone to experience practical, hands-on learning via online platforms, you might as well be on the lookout for non-traditional candidates to add to your talent pool.

4. Not giving feedback to a screened candidate

The job market has shifted from being company-driven to becoming candidate-driven, which means that job applicants are also sizing up potential employers. They tend to be more selective about where they want to work or which type of corporate culture they can relate to the most.

One of the red flags for applicants is the failure for recruiters to provide an update or feedback about their chances of getting hired. With so many communication channels at your disposal, it’s easy for applicants to sense how well or how poorly you’re tracking and managing your pending applications.

A recruitment software or an applicant tracking system can help you become more systematic in setting up your hiring program through features that let you post job ads, pre-screen and assess candidates, automate HR actions, and the like.

5. Using scripted questions

Scripted questions are a convenient way for recruiters to interview candidates, but they are far from being effective when it comes to engaging applicants in meaningful and insightful conversations.

Job seekers only need to search the web for common interview questions, make an intelligent guess about which ones might be included in the interview, and create and rehearse their own canned responses.

Instead of using traditional behavioral questions in your interviews such as “Tell me about a difficult project that had been assigned to you and how you handled it,” you could use actual situations in your organization to see how the candidate can apply design thinking in the given scenario.

6. Long but inefficient recruitment process/screening period

Another thing that frustrates candidates is being subjected to a lengthy recruitment process—from screening to assessment and interview that are scheduled on different days—requiring the candidate to come back and forth to the recruiter’s office.

As modern-day recruiters, you should leverage new tools and technologies to streamline the different phases in your hiring activity. Use phone interviews, video conferencing, or other interactive apps to help you get more things done without wasting time and personal resources of your yet-to-be-employed candidates.

The bottom line is that when you take time to review your recruitment policies and strategies, that’s when you could make the most out of candidate screening. In effect, you can help employers fill positions in their organization more easily.



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TJ Pestano