Screening applications

Telephone screening

A relatively inexpensive way to carry out an initial sifting process, particularly suitable for vacancies with a high proportion of telephone work or customer service. Telephone screening may rule out any bias, for example on a candidate’s appearance. It also begins the process of developing a relationship with the candidate before interview – but should not be a replacement for a face-to-face interview following the sift.

Online screening

Often using a questionnaire, online screening is used to score applicants on pre-selected criteria, e.g. levels of literacy or numeracy, rejecting those who do not reach the required level. Online psychometric tests can measure behavioural or personality aspects to provide insights into candidate match with the job and organisation culture not available via CVs or interviews (see also article 38).

Social media screening – although used by up to an estimated 50% of employers, it is not considered best practice and should be approached ! with great care. The majority of candidates consider Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as social or ‘personal’, whereas LinkedIn is considered to be more ‘professional’ and better suited for use in recruiting. However, do candidates expect prospective employers to check out their online profile? If not, you may damage your reputation and may even violate the data protection regulations.

CV screening

CV-matching software searches CVs for keywords – such as leadership – while CV parsing software can also convert CVs into structured information, matching them with skills profiles, job and person specifications. While a good CV will include all the relevant keywords, be also aware that clued-up, but perhaps less suitable candidates are equally likely to know about sought-after keywords and create CVs accordingly. 

Blind CVs

The use of ‘blind CVs’ (or application forms), which cover up certain information to counter potential recruiter bias – e.g. towards educational background – are becoming more commonplace and may lead to a more diverse workforce (see also article 29).

Competency profiling

A process of matching candidates to the profile of your most competent employee, identifying specific skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. This can be the first stage in selection, followed by an interview or assessment.