Best Practices for Screening and Interviewing Candidates

Improve your hiring process with best practices for screening and interviewing candidates. Discover modern methods to avoid no-shows and find the perfect fit!

Ed Hallen
December 10, 2019

As an employer, you’ve probably felt frustrated when you look for new employees, and a new hire's abilities don't match the skill set they list on their resume. Using modern screening methods, you can avoid past hiring pitfalls like no-call, no-shows and the loss of time spent interviewing candidates that are poor fits.

Conduct screening over text instead of over the phone

A recent customer of ours decided to completely alter the way they approach initial outreach with promising candidates. Instead of spending hours working on scheduling screening phone interviews, they now hold text-based interviews to guarantee that an applicant meets their baseline before they have them come in person. Utilizing text to speed up the hiring process can help you avoid costs associated with having open jobs, and can help get you the answers you need right away.

Texting is the most effective method for you to get clear answers right away, which makes it perfect for the screening process.

  • Use text to get interest confirmation - you want to hire people that are excited about the job, starting off the conversation by asking them why they applied for the position obligates the candidate to show you that they are engaged, and can help you as a hiring manager understand their background.
  • Text can help employers screen based on skills and qualifications, experience, and pay.
  • There’s no sense in pursuing a candidate if they are expecting a paycheck that isn’t realistic, and a quick message before you schedule an interview will get you the answer before you spend time setting up an interview.
  • Similarly, knowing that someone’s abilities matches your expectations isn’t always clear from their resume. A text confirming that they have the certifications you need takes ten seconds to write and minutes to respond to.
  • For roles that require a higher level of skill, text can work for competency-based questions.

A recent customer was hiring for a HVAC role, and they needed to know that the person they hire can do the job. A simple question like “Name the four components that make a refrigeration system complete?” elicits a response that demonstrates understanding

Confirm the interview

Most medical providers have recognized the value of confirming appointments. A simple confirmation call or text has been shown to reduce the no-show rate by 62%. Unfortunately, many employers haven’t adopted this practice into their hiring methods. Similar to a doctor’s appointment, interviewers can reduce the amount of wasted time they experience by texting their candidates a day before to confirm the appointment. Team Engine (and some other interview scheduling tools) can help automate these confirmations, taking work off your plate and saving you time.

When it comes to blue collar work, there are oftentimes multiple employers that can get a new hire working in the shop or in the field the same day they apply, so constant engagement helps you avoid reschedules, which can give candidate’s time to get a job somewhere else.

3 Tips to follow when interviewing

  1. A common mistake hiring managers make during the interview is getting too forward with the opportunity. When asking questions, don’t refer to the candidate as if they already have the position. There have been countless times when an employer can make it sound like the job offer is a done deal, which can result in applicants feeling disengaged and less likely to put effort into their answers.
  2. Spend more time listening than talking. Your pre-interview screening should answer all the easy questions, so give the candidates time to provide longer answers in the interview. Confirm that they have done their due diligence and that they did some research about your company prior to the interview, and work on getting an idea of how well their skill set fits your role.
  3. Ask more technical, competency based questions than experiential ones. More often than not, job seekers are looking for a job that will push their skillset and grow their experience. You don’t need someone that has done the job before, you need a worker that can get the job done. Confirm they have the know-how for the job first, and then push to see how much their past jobs fit the current position.

Adjusting your approach to applicant screening will increase your employee retention rate. If you're curious how, read this article on reducing employee turnover through better applicant screening or use our screening process outline as a guide.

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