How to Help your Agencies Avoid These 10 Candidate Screening Mistakes

I recently came across a Resoomay infographic detailing the top ten screening mistakes by recruiters (see below), which got me thinking about a few ways companies could improve how they work with direct hire agencies to get better candidate screening in the door.

Essentially, the greatest opportunities lie in working with specialists who understand your positions, interviewing for culture fit (as well as skill fit) and checking references for all candidates. See more suggestions below:

  1. Candidate screening with exaggerated resumes: 79% of business owners say they have hired candidates with mismatched skill sets, despite claims made on their resumes. To avoid this, make your must-have skills known to your recruiter, and make sure they fact check that the candidate has those skills.

    They should ask for examples of when and how each candidate has used those skills, along with work samples and/or results (when applicable). While this won’t ensure that the candidate isn’t lying on their resume and in person, it can help your recruiter find potential red flags early in the screening process. Then, when it’s time for reference checks, your or your agency should fact check the skills and results your candidate said they demonstrated at each employer.

    If you can’t find a reference for a must-have skill, you may have an exaggerated resume on your hands.

  2. Not asking the right questions in interviews: Oftentimes, interview questions don’t dig deep enough into the candidates’ skills and experience to prove that they have what it takes to succeed. This is where a specialist recruiter can come in handy – they know what the candidates need to succeed, will have the right questions to ask, and will recognize the right answers.
  3. Interviewing respondents whose temperaments or personalities are wrong for the job: Getting cultural fit wrong can lead to higher turnover in the long run, and screening for it can be just as important as screening for skills and experience. Help your recruiter understand your company culture, and what traits your most successful employees have.

    For instance, do you have a really collaborative culture, where employees are encouraged to speak up and challenge the way things are done? If so, someone with a shy personality may be uncomfortable working at your company and may not succeed – even if they have all the right skills and experience. So make sure that your recruiter screens for personality, too, and you could reduce turnover costs by up to 200%.

  4. Relying only on the interview: An interview increases the chance of finding the best candidate by only 2% – so don’t discount the rest of your hiring process.

    For starters, your recruiter should be actively sourcing both active and passive candidates to increase your chances of finding the best candidate. Each candidate should be carefully screened, using some of the other tips offered in this post, and should be sold on the position.

  5. Not checking references: As many as 25% of employers never check references. Going back to the point about exaggerated resumes, it’s clear why so many mismatched skill sets are not identified until after the candidate has been hired. References provide the opportunity to fact-check things you candidates have said on their resume and in interviews – so make sure that either you or your recruiter are checking references.
  6. Discounting an “overqualified person for the position: As the infographic states, seldom is there a complete match for the job. So why would you discount the candidate who has all that you’re looking for, and more? Let your recruiter know if there is opportunity to increase the salary or update the position title for a more senior hire, if someone fantastic is found.
  7. Lack of communication among hiring authorities: Communication is often the most cited complaint among agencies, candidates, and employers because – as it seems – nobody can get enough of it during the hiring process. It’s critical that you communicate regularly with internal stakeholders, and that you pass important messages along to your agencies in a timely manner (so they, in turn, can communicate with your candidates) – hiring your top choice candidates may depend on it.
  8. Succumbing to the “I need someone right now” syndrome: While you do want to move as quickly as possible to make sure you get your top choice candidate, you don’t want to rush things to the point that you skip critical steps. Even if you needed someone yesterday, don’t skimp on screening for candidates that will be truly qualified – it could end up costing you more than it was worth later on. Instead, focus on reviewing candidates as your agency submits them, and communicate regularly to keep the process moving along.
  9. Failing to provide a detailed and accurate job description: A well-written job description can actually help you screen candidates if it’s detailed enough. Be sure to include a clear job title, information about your company culture, a clear representation of job responsibilities, and a clear distinction between must-have skills and experience and nice-to haves.

    With a detailed job description, unqualified candidates will self-select out because they know that pursuing the opportunity won’t be worth their time, and the most qualified candidates will be eager to apply if they know the position will be a great fit for their skills and interests. This can also be a great sales tool for your agencies who need to sell the job to candidates!

  10. Not selling the job/company: Finally, remember that your candidates are screening you as much as you are screening them. They want to find the best possible job for their skills and interests, so make sure that both your agencies and your internal interviewers know how your company is different and are selling candidates on your opportunity.
2017-08-03T05:18:27+00:00 March 25th, 2015|

About the Author:

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and Bright.com, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she's not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe with her husband, traveling abroad, or enjoying a night in with friends and a good bottle of wine. She's a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Socio-Economic and Political Global Studies.