The Power of Screening-In Candidates

Pitfalls of screening-out candidates

So, you are a recruiter looking for a new hire for a challenging and creative role. You have hundreds of resumes to review, and you need to narrow them down quickly. How do you do it?

If you are like most recruiters, you probably use a screening process that eliminates candidates based on a set of predefined criteria. For example, you might look for a certain degree, a specific number of years of experience, or a particular skill set. You might also use keywords, filters, or algorithms to sort through the resumes and rank them.

This approach might seem efficient and objective, but it has its shortcomings: it can miss out on great candidates who don’t fit the mold. By screening candidates out, you might be overlooking talented people who have the potential to excel in the role, but don’t have the exact qualifications or credentials you are looking for. You might also be excluding candidates who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, which can enrich your team and your organization.

According to a study by Harvard Business School , screening candidates out can lead to a 27% reduction in the quality of the talent pool, and a 12% decrease in the diversity of the candidates. Screening candidates out can also harm your employer brand, by creating a negative impression on the candidates who are rejected, and discouraging them from applying again.

The solution: screening them in!

So, how can you avoid missing out on great talent and find the best fit for your role and your organization? The answer is simple: screen candidates in, not out.

Screening candidates in is a hiring strategy that focuses on finding the potential and fit of candidates, rather than eliminating them based on a narrow set of criteria. Instead of looking only at the skills and qualifications listed on the resume, screening candidates in involves looking at the whole person, their complementary skills, their personality, their values, and their potential to grow and learn. This way, you can discover hidden gems and diversify your talent pool.

For example, let’s say you are looking for a graphic designer for your marketing team. You might receive a resume from a candidate who has a degree in psychology, and has worked as a counselor for a few years. At first glance, you might be tempted to screen this candidate out, because they don’t have a formal education or experience in graphic design. However, if you screen them in, you might find out that they have a passion for design, and have taught themselves how to use various software and tools. You might also find out that they have a keen eye for aesthetics, a strong sense of empathy, and a creative flair. These are all valuable skills that can make them a great graphic designer, and a great fit for your team.

It improves the quality and quantity of the talent pool, by attracting and retaining candidates who have the potential to grow and learn, rather than those who already meet all the requirements. According to a study by CareerBuilder, 60% of employers struggle to fill positions because they can’t find candidates with the right skills, and 55% of candidates say they have quit or considered quitting a job because they didn’t have enough opportunities to learn new skills.

Another example of how screening candidates in can help expand the talent pool is when hiring for data science roles. Data science is a relatively new field that has emerged in the past decade, and requires a combination of technical, analytical, and business skills. However, many job descriptions ask for unrealistic or unnecessary qualifications, such as having 10 years of experience as a data scientist, having a PhD in a specific discipline, or being proficient in a long list of tools and languages. This can screen out many qualified and diverse candidates who have relevant skills and experience from other domains, such as statistics, engineering, or economics. Instead, if employers screen candidates in based on their ability to apply data science methods to solve problems, their curiosity and willingness to learn new technologies, and their communication and collaboration skills, they can find more suitable and talented candidates for their roles.

Screening candidates in has many benefits for employers and candidates alike. Some of the advantages are:

  • It reduces bias and discrimination in the hiring process, by avoiding the use of arbitrary filters and stereotypes that can exclude qualified and diverse candidates. According to a study by McKinsey, companies with more diverse teams have 35% higher financial returns than the industry average.
  • It increases the chances of finding the best fit for the role and the organization, by considering the culture, values, and goals of both parties. According to a study by glassdoor , 77% of candidates consider the culture fit before applying for a job, and 65% of employers say that culture fit is a key factor in hiring decisions.
  • It enhances the candidate experience, by making them feel valued, respected, and appreciated for their unique contributions. According to a study by CareerBuilder , 78% of candidates say that the candidate experience is an indicator of how the company values its employees.
  • It improves the retention and performance of employees, by providing them with opportunities for growth, development, and engagement. According to a study by Gallup , employees who are engaged and have the opportunity to learn and grow are 59% less likely to look for a job elsewhere, and 21% more productive than their peers.

How can AI help in screening-in

Screening candidates in might sound like a daunting and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be. AI can be a powerful tool for screening candidates in, if used ethically and responsibly. AI can use natural language capabilities to analyze resumes and cover letters, and extract relevant information about the candidates’ skills, experiences, achievements, and interests. AI can also compare the candidates’ profiles with the job requirements and the organizational culture, and rank them based on their fit and potential. AI can also provide feedback and suggestions to the candidates, and help them improve their applications and showcase their strengths. AI can also help employers save time and resources, by automating the screening process and reducing the workload of human recruiters.

For example, let’s say you are using an AI tool to screen candidates in for a sales role. The AI tool can scan the resumes and cover letters of the candidates, and identify their relevant skills, such as communication, negotiation, persuasion, and problem-solving. The AI tool can also assess their personality traits, such as extraversion, agreeableness, and openness. The AI tool can then compare these skills and traits with the job description and the company values, and rank the candidates based on their fit and potential. The AI tool can also give feedback and tips to the candidates, such as how to highlight their achievements, how to tailor their resume to the role, and how to prepare for the interview. The AI tool can also help the human recruiters by providing them with a shortlist of the best candidates, and a summary of their strengths and areas for improvement.

However, AI is not a substitute for human judgment and interaction. AI should be used as a complement, not a replacement, for human recruiters. AI should also be transparent, fair, and accountable, and follow the ethical and legal standards of the hiring process. AI should be regularly monitored, evaluated, and updated, to ensure its accuracy, reliability, and validity.

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