The Candidate Screen

February 21st, 2014 4 comments

If you want to reduce your recruiting team’s time-to-hire or time-to-fill, beat out the competition to the best talent and create a trusted advisor relationship with your candidates, the most important part of the talent acquisition life cycle is the candidate screen. Deciding what information to capture on the very first candidate engaging phone call is the most critical part of the life cycle. Setting expectations in terms of compensation, relocation, pre-planned vacations, gathering other candidate needs and finding out why they’re looking are just as important as matching professional skills to a client’s job requirement. If one side feels they are not being represented thoroughly or if all the information wasn’t presented from the beginning, then a fragile trust can easily be broken.

To even out expectations and help market a candidate’s skills to match an open position, screening questions should be designed to pull situational experiences from the candidate that relate to the open position’s responsibilities and requirements. People love to talk about themselves. This strategy works well when a recruiter asks a candidate to talk about (for example) what their role was on a recent project and how that project turned out, how they successfully implemented a new technology or business process or how they led a team through to the ‘other side’ to solve a complex finance issue that saved a company.  When a client receives this information as part of a screen, they’re more inclined to feel a connection with the candidate vs. reading “another resume” and a brief summary from “another recruiter”.

Combine a professional “situational questioning strategy” with personal information giving the client a very clear picture of what they can expect from a candidate professionally and an understanding of what it will take – personally and financially – to get them on-board quickly.  All the information is present and accounted for at the introduction of the candidate to the client.

The goal of a good recruiter is to bring both sides (candidate and the client) together without a lot of selling or managing of either party. When the most important information is shared – and documented – from the beginning of the process a lot of time is saved, there are no surprises at the offer stage and both sides feel great extending and accepting an offer.



Scott Berkson

SVP, People and Business Operations

ParallelHR Solutions, Inc.


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