Interview Tips

Whether you have a newfangled HRIS, an old-fashioned spreadsheet; an ATS with an amazing user interface or simply a desk with two stacks of resumes, screening can be a chore. In fact, it’s the first part of the job that demands rejection. Therefore, it should be taken seriously. But like any other part of sourcing, recruiting, attracting and engaging, it can fall victim to a host of “experience” issues. These issues, from simple bias to inefficient mistakes can not only cost candidates jobs for which they may be qualified but create bottlenecks in your own internal processes. Here are 5 Screening mistakes you could be making (without even knowing it) and how to fix them:

1) Desperation…

(In dating and recruiting, it can land you in the wrong person’s bed…)

This is more likely to be a young recruiter’s slip up than an older one. Nearly every job I’ve had since 2007 came with some sense of urgency, but the truth is, while you probably DO need someone “right away”, a smart recruiter will take the time to find the right person (quickly of course!)

When you’re desperate to hire the first person who walks through the door, you spend a lot more money and time than if you’d waited for Mr. (or Mrs.) Right.

2) 6 Seconds in Heaven:

Remember that study that stated that recruiters only spend an average of 6 seconds on every resume? That study only surveyed about 50 or so recruiters, so I won’t link to it here. However, I’d wager that six seconds isn’t long enough to give anyone a fair shake at anything – in fact, it screams bias. I’m a speed reader and I checked how much info I could get out of a 10 second review. It was name (can point to ethnicity), school/degree (really only matters in a select few industries), last job and general experience level (keep age out of it folks!). That’s not enough to go on… (and YES, I timed it).

3) Getting “Chatted Up”:

I am a people person. Many interviewers are. Honestly, interviewing can be a blast when you screen correctly. You get to learn all about new people, tell them about your company (which you hopefully love!) and do a “test run” for cultural fit. All this can lead to something that looks more like a coffee clatch than an interview round. Keep it profesh, and if you can’t, at least make sure that you eventually get around to asking the right questions in the phone/video screen.

4) Believing What You Read:

…can lead you down a bad road. While I don’t recommend distrusting all your applicants, you do need to take resumes and recommendations with a grain of salt. If you fall hook, line and sinker for every overhyped candidate out there, you may find yourself on the interview trail soon. It’s a simple matter of checking (before the interview) who bears looking into a little more closely.

5) Lying About the Job:

Okay, you probably aren’t lying, you’re probably exaggerating, or the ad is incomplete, or it hasn’t been revised since the Carter era. For whatever reason your job advertisement is not full of what we call “truthiness” – this is the biggest (and often first**) mistake of all. With a solid job ad, you can eliminate a lot of headaches for yourself and for candidates. So remember, TALK to hiring authorities, NAIL down the budget and timeline and TELL your audience exactly what you need (TNT Job Ad formula, coming 2014, patent pending).

So what do you think? Are you making these big bad job mistakes? Next time you’re getting ready to go through those big (figurative) stacks, keep this article in mind and finish the job faster, better and with your eyes wide open.

(**Author’s Note: I probably should have put this first, but I wanted to make sure you would read to the bottom. If you didn’t, then you missed it. HAHAHAHAHA!)

About Maren Hogan

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, a consultancy offering marketing strategy and content development.

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