You Don’t Need to Break the Bank to Screen Candidates Better

September 24, 2015

Recruiting and hiring new talent is hard these days.  There’s a lot of noise online and a lot of opportunities to do it wrong.  Nobody wants to make a wrong move and wander into discrimination territory.  And to further complicate matters, labor laws keep evolving.  New technologies promise the world, but they can be extremely expensive and costly to implement.  The landscape of HR is not what it used to be.  What’s a business owner to do?  The good news is there are many fine ways in which you can screen candidates without breaking the bank. Using some good old fashioned effort, your team can screen candidates better.


Screen Candidates Better

When it comes to screening candidates, there are a lot of tools at a hiring manager’s disposal.  But when you don’t have much of a budget, employers can be tempted to dig into the wrong areas.  Let’s discuss how you can screen candidates better without busting your company’s wallet:



  • Google. You can learn a lot about a person when you Google them.  For instance, by Googling myself, I can find all of my articles about recruiting and HR.  I can also find relevant social media profiles and information on my work.  It’s helpful to Google candidates and see what kind of information they share in cyberspace.  You could find out your timid candidate is an eloquent writer and industry thought leader.  This is the kind of information that hiring managers are encouraged to use in their decision-making process, not spending time looking up candidates’ vacation pictures from Puerto Vallarta. All things being equal, using social media profiles outside of LinkedIn to evaluate candidates runs the risk of discrimination or bias depending on what your team finds.
  • Video Interviews. Often, on demand recordable video interviews or “Oneway” video interviews are one of the strongest applicant screening tools you can use.  These tools are quite effective because they allow a hiring manager to send a previously prepared set of timed questions to all candidates.  This allows the hiring manager to evaluate everyone on the same questions.  Because they’re recorded, they can also be shared among the team.  This injects more diverse viewpoints into the hiring process, minimizing the chances of discrimination.
  • Check References. You’d be surprised how often businesses fail to check a candidate’s references.  In some studies, I’ve seen it as high as 65% of small businesses that fail to do any reference checks on employees.  What if you’re missing some critical information?  It’s worth the extra time to call a candidate’s references to find out what they have to say about the candidate.  It’s also worth it to call previous employers to find out if they’d hire the candidate again.  Obviously, the candidate may not have alerted their current employer that they’re looking.  Unless they’ve only worked at one company, you should be able to call a couple of companies to find out what kind of employee they were.
  • Test Your Candidate.  You’d be surprised how often candidates lie on their resumes.  How do you know if a candidate really speaks 9 languages?  Can they really do advanced engineering equations?  How do they code websites?  It’s a great idea to offer a test during your interview process.  In the tech world, these kinds of hands on tests are quite common.  Often, interviewers hand them a marker and a white board and ask system engineers and coders to write out complex algorithms.  Interviewers find out rather quickly whether the candidate has any skills in that area.
  • Offer Candidates a Paid Project.  Want to know whether you’d enjoy working with a candidate or if they might turn out to be a bad fit? Offer candidates a paid project.  The benefit is you get work done that you needed done and you get to evaluate a candidate’s work style. Short term projects offer deep insights into how a candidate organizes and structures their day, whether they can deliver on time and on budget, and how they communicate with others.  Paid projects are an excellent way to screen candidates because they are similar to an active interview.

When it comes to screening candidates, there’s no substitute for putting in the extra effort.  Hiring managers and recruiters don’t have to spend big money to find out whether a candidate is a good fit for the position or the organization.  While many emerging technologies offer keen insight into a candidate’s decision-making process, these can become expensive and a little confusing for some hiring managers.  You can keep it simple and screen candidates better using these recommendations.

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