Candidate Screening for Recruiters

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Candidate Screening
for Recruiters

Recruiters play a critical role in the success of any organization. They are responsible for finding, screening, and hiring the best candidates for open positions. However, recruiting can be a challenging job.

With the ever-changing landscape of the workforce, it can be difficult to find qualified candidates. Right now, you could either be buried under a mountain of resumes or scrambling to find qualified candidates.

And even when you do find candidates, the screening process can be daunting. You need to make sure you're asking the right questions to get a sense of who the candidate is and if they're a good fit for the position.

Additionally, with the rise of remote work environments across the globe, you need to know that your candidates are motivated and can work independently.

Before you even start screening candidates, you must know what you're looking for. In this article, we'll help you define key characteristics and qualities that are essential for the position and create a list of pre-screening interview questions to ask.

If you'd like tips on preparing for the interview, check out our guide: "How to interview a Candidate."

So let's start with what it takes to work within a team.

Think back to the person on your team who encourages you, supports your decisions, kindly challenges you, and helps you problem-solve. They're a great team player and they make working on a team feel effortless and fun.

You probably look forward to calls with them most days.

Now, imagine someone who doesn't do any of those things. You dread calls with them because they're always critical, they never have anything nice to say, they're in a bad mood, or they're just generally unpleasant to work with.

It's easy to see which type of person you would rather work with on a team. So let's use that scenario to create candidate screening questions for recruiters in your organization.

Here are 7 great questions for you to modify to match your recruiting requirements, with the majority of them centered on team dynamics:

1. What qualities do you think are essential for a good team player? Tell me about a time when you embodied those qualities.
2. Describe a time when you had to work with someone difficult to get along with. How did you handle the situation?
3. Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem as part of a team. How did everyone contribute?
4. Describe a time when you had to take on a leadership role within a team. How did you motivate everyone to work together?
5. Tell me about a time when you had to give constructive feedback to a team member. How did they react?
6. Tell me about a time when you had to follow someone else's lead. How did you feel about it?
7. Describe a time when you took on a project that was outside of your comfort zone. How did you handle it?

Does the candidate have the qualities you're looking for? Are they able to manage difficult situations and people? Can they take on leadership roles when necessary?

These are all important questions as you create a structured list to ask candidates to get a sense of who they are and if they would be a good fit for your team.

Pro-tip: Interview intelligence software can help you analyze a candidate's answers to each question and compare them against other candidates to help you make a more efficient and informed hiring decision.

Screening Questions Examples

Here's a poor screening question example we've all asked or been asked while interviewing:

Recruiter, "How would your previous manager describe you?"

Candidate, "Awesome in every way - no flaws or weaknesses, a great team player - they should've made me the CEO!"

To some of you, this sounds like a stretch, but if you've been recruiting for any length of time, I guarantee you've heard some version of this.

Here's another example: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

It seems like a simple question, but most people have a hard time thinking of an answer on the spot, so they end up giving us answers that are rehearsed, generic, or worse - they try to be funny without actually mentioning a negative quality.

If our end goal is to get usable data to help us make great hiring decisions, why are we still asking screening questions that don't give us the information we need? Screening questions for recruiters must have a structured measurable outcome to be truly useful.

Here's a better way to ask the last question: "What qualities do you think are essential for success in this role? How have you exemplified those qualities in a past project?"

This question will help you assess whether or not the candidate has the qualities you're looking for, and it will also give you some insight into their motivation and work style.

Making these slight changes from open-ended questions to semi-structured questions can have a huge impact on the quality of information you get from candidates.

Remember, the goal is to collect useful data that will help you make informed hiring decisions. So ask better screening questions, and you'll be one step closer to building the dream team you've always wanted.

HR Screening Questions

At Pillar, we recommend a six-step interview process:

1.) Phone Screening
2.) First Interview
3.) Technical Assessment
4.) Team Panel Interview
5.) Final Stage Interview
6.) Reference Checks

You can learn more about this process in our e-book, “How to Hire Great Software Engineers.”

The first step is the phone screening which is conducted by a member of the HR team. The purpose of this HR screening interview is to assess whether or not the candidate has the basic qualifications for the job.

HR screening questions are often skills-based and therefore require the input of a hiring manager or team leader. Once a list of the necessary skills has been compiled, HR can create a series of semi-structured questions to screen candidates.

Screening interview questions like; "What would you do if...?" or "How would you handle...?" are great for getting a sense of how the candidate would react in a real-world situation.

For example, if you're looking for a web developer, you might ask technical questions about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. And if you're looking for a salesperson, you might ask questions about sales processes, closing techniques, or objection handling.

The key is asking phone screening questions that will weed out any candidate who isn't proficient in the necessary skills for the job.

By asking phone screening questions that are specific to the job, you can be confident that you're only moving forward with candidates who have the potential to be a good fit for the role.

An interview intelligence platform can help you take your phone screening process to the next level. Using artificial intelligence, an interview intelligence platform like Pillar can help you analyze and score candidate responses to phone screening questions in real-time.

This allows you to make more informed decisions about which candidates to move forward with, and it also takes the guesswork out of the phone screening process.

Screening Process Steps

Having a defined method for screening candidates will greatly simplify the first step of your hiring process. asking specific phone screening questions, you can be confident that you're only moving forward with candidates who have the potential to be a good fit for the role.

Great screening process steps are as follows:
1.) Review all resumes and applications.
2.) Create a "shortlist" of candidates.
3.) Telephone screen the shortlisted candidates.
4.) Create a new condensed list to move on to a first interview.

This creates a funnel-like effect that will eventually lead you to the best candidates and dramatically speed up the screening process in HR.

By taking the time to properly screen candidates at the beginning of the process, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy in the long run.

And, most important, hire the best people.

Did you know that the average company hiring 3-4 employees per month will spend 180+ hours identifying the right candidates? This could be costing your company $1.25M or more, per year.

Using Pillar's interview intelligence software can help you eliminate those costs and streamline your screening process to hire efficiently. Check out our savings calculator to see how much you could save!