The Applicant Manager Blog

How Pre-Screening for Employment Works in Applicant Tracking Software

Posted by The Applicant Manager on Jul 22, 2020 8:00:00 AM

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Hiring talent can be difficult and tedious. After all, it was easy, then everybody would be doing it . . . and they would be doing it correctly. But of course, that is not the case.

And hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, during these recessionary economic conditions, is even more difficult. That’s because, depending upon the industry in which you operate, you may receive a flood of resumes and applications from interested job seekers whose enthusiasm for your jobs are amplified by the fact that they currently do not have one.

The first problem with the resume is that, as we’ve just mentioned, you might be drowning in a flood of them. The second problem is that while resumes can be helpful, that is NOT always the case.

Screen candidates without the resume

Let’s look at some of the limitations of the resume. Sure, the resume tells an applicant’s story. However, it’s a generic story, and on top of that, it’s been specifically designed to portray the applicant in a favorable light. In other words, it’s biased.

Because of this, sometimes a resume will not give you a good idea of whether or not an applicant is a good fit for the position. And if that’s the case, then you have to spend precious time conducting phone interviews to get the answers that you’re seeking. The problem is that screening candidates in this manner can turn into one of the biggest wastes of time in the entire hiring process.

But wait! That’s not even the worst of it. The worst of it is that you might even dismiss a great candidate, solely because they didn’t mention their experience with a specific process that’s key to your open position. That’s an even bigger problem than wasting time, because you’re wasting time and not hiring the right person. That’s the definition of a lose-lose situation.

So how can you fix this mess?

What you need is an automated process that can help turn a lose-lose situation into a win-win one. What does that mean, specifically? It means that the process can both save you time and also help you to source the quality applicants that are a fit for your jobs.

That answer: a well-designed online applicant tracking software, complete with ATS screening questions to help you reach your goals.

What is pre-screening for employment?

So what is pre-screening an applicant for employment? Pre-screening is the act of evaluating and assessing a job applicant or candidate before taking the step of interviewing them. If, and only if, the candidate passes the pre-screening evaluation, will they move to the next step of the process. During that step, hiring managers will contact the applicant by phone and schedule an interview to further gauge their candidacy.

Using ATS screening questions provides you with a number of advantages during the hiring process. In fact, below are three such advantages:

#1—Save time.

We already mentioned this, but it bears repeating because time is money. When you save time, you save money! Pre-screening questions streamline the process of filtering your candidates, meaning you don’t have to waste hours (or days) reviewing unqualified resumes.

#2—Obtain information not provided on the resume.

As we said, the resume has limitations, and setting up custom pre-screening questions can help you to smash through those limitations. You can ask applicants for information typically not found on the resume. For example, are you looking for somebody with a very specific training or certification? Create a pre-screening question around the topic. It’s that easy!

#3—Source and identify the best fit for the position.

This is the ultimate advantage, because it all boils down to talent. Well, it boils down to the right talent. It’s all about finding the best fitting candidate for the job. By including specific pre-screening questions, you can easily see who’s passing the initial stage of the hiring process . . . and who deserves to stay on the slush pile.

Screener questions for the interview

Now that you know why pre-screening candidates is a valuable practice, what kinds of filters can you create? To diversify your search and bring the best fits to the top, we recommend including a mix of the following four types of pre-screening criteria:

#1—Knockout

These are the most basic types of pre-screening questions, and also some of the most important. If an applicant is unable to provide this information, they are immediately knocked out of the running. Examples include eligibility to work in the employer’s country or whether the candidate possesses required certifications.

#2—Drop-down

These come in the form of drop-down menus with a series of selectable answers. As opposed to open text boxes, drop-down menus are advantageous when you’re looking for specific information, such as a desired salary range or a general description of your experience in a certain field. It is far more effective to provide a list of answers you’ve come up with than to give applicants the chance to be vague in an open text box.

#3—Open text

Open text boxes are still useful, however. Sometimes you need highly personalized responses - and text boxes are the way to get them. You can also use text boxes to test an applicant’s level of engagement and ability to communicate effectively.

#4—Check boxes

These come in handy because applicants have the ability to provide multiple answers to a single question. For example, you might provide a list of accounting software tools and ask which ones the applicant has used. Or perhaps you're looking for a multi-lingual translator - whoever checks off the most boxes automatically qualifies as a good candidate!

If you’d like to learn more about The Applicant Manager, we invite you to contact us.

And also consider getting a free demo of The Applicant Manager (or TAM). By replacing manual spreadsheets, paper resumes, and inefficient technology, TAM can streamline your organization’s recruiting and hiring process!