Recruiting Techniques for Screening Applicants


Every successful recruit happens as a result of planning and observation. Recruiters should plan out exactly what skills, education and personality traits they want from each candidate. For example, if you cannot be flexible on a requirement then make it very clear in your job description that unqualified résumés will not be considered. Filtering job applicants based upon quantifiable data is the easy part. Either the applicant’s résumé lists the degree, years of experience and certifications or it does not. The challenging part for recruiters can be the process of measuring candidate traits that are a matter of opinion.

How a candidate communicates on the phone and in writing is difficult to compare against other candidates. It is never apples to apples. Recruiters must have finely tuned instincts to reveal the subtle advantages presented by one candidate over another. Here are some helpful tips that can make this delicate art form slightly more scientific.

Written communication

At first glance many applicants will appear to have a command of the written word. This is a result of years of refining resumes, letters of interest and first and second rounds of e-mails. The majority of all first round communication has been thoroughly read by others and edited to near perfection, but may not accurately represent the applicant’s ability. To get to the real “on the spot” ability, a recruiter may have to correspond with an applicant at least three times before the true candidate is revealed. Writing without preparation or editing is not easy, but often it is critical to succeed in an e-mail driven workplace. Getting a candidate to “let down the walls” when writing is an advanced recruiting technique. Once a candidate is writing in their own hand, they may suddenly become more casual; allow grammatical errors or even typos. Recruiters may notice that the use words of a well read mind quickly fade away. Here is your evidence that the candidate really writes this way instead of the way they wrote to you initially. This will separate a pile of résumés into highly desirable, average and not a fit. Every recruit will go on to make an impact on your company. Why not recruit the best every time?

Phone etiquette

This skill set was once a business workplace standard. Everyone could do it. With e-mail, text messaging and social media, fewer applicants are demonstrating proper phone etiquette. If a significant part of the job is telephone communication, then recruiters should be screening for phone skills during the entire recruitment process. Listening skills will go a long way to sorting out the phone pros from the rest. Since most candidates will be communicating with recruiters from mobile phones, it is important to observe the candidates awareness about background noise and signal clarity. If a candidate takes the time to make sure you can understand them clearly it is a good sign. Those candidates that are sensitive to background noise are exceptionally gifted. Many will not think twice to allow recruiters to hear other conversations or TV sets in the background. This reveals less effective communicators. Recruiters can listen for the common use of “uh”, “um”, “ya know?”, “like” and other awkward pause fillers. The conversation should feel comfortable and natural with a professional tone. Distractions are common so listen for the candidate’s attention to stray. The pros remain focused. Does the candidate communicate respectfully and politely? Do they say “please” and “thank you”? These things may seem insignificant but they do have an impact on every dialog. Hire those who will make you proud to be a recruiter.

The point to remember is that we do more work today via phone, e-mail and text than we ever have. With every passing day more and more professional communication is done using technology the next talent shortage just might be a lack of professionals that comfortably communicate in person.

For more information on this or other recruitment topics,
Please contact Stan at Stan@ADS4HR.com 813.236.4858 ext 2#