How to prevent potential slipping through the net

When it comes to recruitment and selection, we often hear hiring managers talk about raising the bar and selecting the best. It’s what every recruiter desires: high-performing people for a high-performing organisation. The decision-making process starts with the initial CV or application form screen.

When applicant numbers are low we often have the time to ponder the applications and even see everyone for an initial screen. When numbers are high the dynamics change.

One of the most powerful weapons for handling volume recruitment is the online application process. Done well it adds enormous value to the process; however, if it is badly thought through it can end up being a weapon of mass destruction!

Killer questions
Killer questions are abundant in the world of online application forms. Some are self evident; for example, the right to live and work in the UK is one of the most basic.

But the real world is not always so black and white. How many of us when we are manually screening CVs end up with three piles of candidates? The Yes, the No and… the Maybe. We call these the As, Bs and Cs. Sometimes the Bs can turn out to be the best candidates.

If you are looking to set up an online screening process don’t just rely on killer questions to give you your sifted applicants; set a bar. If it’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’ you are looking for and you set the bar too high, you will lose potentially good applicants. If you set the bar too low you will end up wasting time screening unsuitable applicants.

Making a B line
There are things you should look out for when examining the Bs, such as evidence of fast-tracking in their career. The key is that you need to spend time, weigh up the facts and use your judgement. Technology cannot do that for us.

Looking at the statistics on our clients’ sites we see they offer positions to anywhere between 20-40% of their B candidates.

It’s all about using technology wisely, so that you can add value where it counts — in making an informed decision.


Setting the bar

  • Start by identifying what the best looks like. Then look at the minimum skills or experience An example might be that the ideal person would have managed a department of between 50 to 100 people. But what if they had managed 30 people? Not a star candidate, but one you might want to look at in a bit more detail.
  • Mark the person as a Maybe: a B Through effective screening, the time you save in making As a priority and rejecting the Cs, means there’s more time for you to look closely at the Bs

Lesley Nash

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