The Only Candidate Screening Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Candidate screening is possibly one of the slowest and most laborious parts of the recruitment process yet it is essential that it is done and done well. One simple tool that can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of screening candidates is to make use of a candidate screening checklist.

Why use checklists?

The power and value of checklists has been proved many times over. There are numerous famous stories of the dramatic improvements they have made in fields such as healthcare, aviation, and many other fields. When used correctly, they are powerful tools.

The candidate screening process is a complex process and there are many things to consider and remember. Missing even one or two small points could have serious negative consequences. Many in the talent acquisition field say that sifting through applications is one of the most challenging aspects of the job. Any tools that can make the candidate screening process easier will be of great benefit.

Quality screening of candidates will save a huge amount of time and pain. You need all the help you can get and there are some amazing tools to assist you. A simple candidate screening checklist is one of the most effective methods to employ.

What to include in a Candidate Screening Checklist:

You might want to tweak it slightly according to your own candidate screening process but here are the main points to include in your candidate screening checklist.

  1. Is there a cover letter?

    This simple yet critical element of a job application is often overlooked. Any candidate that fails to include a cover letter has already demonstrated either a lack of commitment or a lack of knowledge. Unless the position is a very junior one, you would probably want to instantly exclude that application.

  1. Is the cover letter personalized and specific for the position?

    Any generic cover letter that looks like it has been cut and pasted for a multitude of positions should be treated with suspicion. Instead, try to alter the information you provide to the company and the specific position you’re applying for.

  1. Is there a relevant and powerful personal statement?

    This aspect demonstrates the candidate’s ability to articulate their skills and to stand out. It is of utter-most importance and should be noted and evaluated.

  1. Is there evidence to support their statements?

    The rest of the CV should backup, support and confirm their personal claims. Pay close attention to the consistency of information and how realistic and truthful their claims are.

  1. Do they have relevant experience?

    When screening candidates, you will need to predetermine the level and extent of experience you require for the specific position. Ensure your checklist contains all the necessary checks and balances. The experience needs to be relevant to the position and the years or level of experience needs to fit your requirements.

    You also want to ensure the experience is consistent and there are no unexplained gaps. Check and confirm the dates.

  1. Does the application have enough specific information?

    Be wary of vague details and a lack of specifics. Ensure the candidate has clearly expressed their experience and achievements. You also want to ensure the integrity of their claims. If you have additional questions or are curious about their previous experiences, don’t hesitate to ask and investigate.

  1. Evaluate the academic qualifications

    Are the specific courses and qualifications relevant to the job they are applying for? Many people study and end up working in an unrelated field so this is not always a bad thing but it will depend on your candidate screening process.

  1. Is the proof evident?

    Anyone can say something on paper or online. Where is the proof? Achievements need to be backed up with factual data that can be verified. Always ensure you check the facts expressed on a CV. Fortunately, the internet makes this a lot easier these days. While we would like to assume all people act with integrity there are those individuals that exaggerate or are blatantly misleading.

  1. Is there a good culture fit?

    The most qualified and experienced person is not always a good fit for your company culture and this is something that has to be considered. Instead of just looking for someone with vast working experience and astonishing education, think about how good of a fit will the new person be and vice versa. If there’s no click, the long-term relationship might be compromised.

  1. Check on the work-life balance

    This is a big issue currently and is an important aspect to consider. You do not want clock-watchers but you also do not want workaholics. Balance is essential so include that in your process. A good work-life balance is essential for sustainable and productive employees.

  1. Check references

    This probably sounds fairly basic to anyone in the recruitment industry but with the vast amount of applications received, it does some time become forgotten. This is the reason it should be included in your candidate screening checklist.

  1. Is the CV customized to the company and position?

    Candidates that make no effort to personalize their application for the specific position and company are showing a lack of commitment and dedication. Morever, there are many signs a CV is a generic one and most of the time, for recruiters, this results in an immediate no.

  1. Is the CV well written?

    Following on from that above, anyone that makes basic errors or typos on their CV is displaying a distinct lack of care. There is no excuse for spelling or grammar errors on a job application and anyone doing this should be treated with the utmost concern or eliminated immediately.

Final thoughts

Screening candidates is not easy but doing it correctly will free up time for other important tasks.  A candidate screening checklist will ensure you do not forget important questions or aspects of the application.

You do not have to do it alone. Look at sites such as Jenna that will take much of the pain and frustration out of the process. This will save you time and effort and deliver improved results. Jenna has the knowledge, skills, resources, and technology to make your candidate screening process infinitely better.

2019 Has seen some amazing developments and there is excellent software available that will assist you with the process. Otherwise, a simple form will be better than nothing. Either way, ensure you use the tools available to improve your candidate evaluations so that you have time to deal with the many other essential HR issues.