March 24, 2016
How to find the best fitting screening criteria.

Is the screening criteria fitting the position and team you are hiring for?

How to sort candidates based on screening criteria like education, job experience and personality.

by Christian Høeg

Imagine you have received a big pile of applications for the job post you are currently hiring for. Where do you begin? By screening candidates on education, previous job experience or personality? Or are you going to spend hours and hours reading through every single motivational letter?

Determining the initial screening method is paramount when you have a significant amount of applications. It will reduce the time spent on underqualified applicants that should never have been brought forward within the interview process in the first place.

Decide on the screening criteria together with the team and manager you are hiring for and get that pile of applications thinner, and for the right reasons!

Screening criteria - education

Screening criteria – educational background.

Positions like accountants, lawyers, nurses, or pilots require a degree in a specific field. By screening candidates based on the educational level from a certain school, college or university you will be provided with insight on the academic competences that you can assume the candidate may have. Include screening criteria such as the average grade in certain subject, if you are hiring for recent graduates with similar educational backgrounds among the candidates.

Some companies even brand themselves on hiring exclusively from Ivy League Universities. If you’re proudly representing a company that only hires Harvard graduates, you sort out candidates based on this screening criteria. Nevertheless, you need to determine whether education matters at all and at what level. If you are hiring someone for customer support, a sales associate, waiter or stewardess, other qualities, such as personal attributes, are often more important than their level of education.

Screening criteria - experience

Screening criteria – previous job experience.

If you are recruiting a senior manager for a position in a medium or large sized company, you may consider seniority and level of experience as important factors. Conversely, when recruiting students straight out of the college, years of experience in a certain field are less essential.

Become informed about your applicants’ previous work experience, the skills they have acquired, and how these skills apply to the position for which you are hiring. Say you are hiring a key-account manager to run strategy projects at Deloitte. Looking at similar consultancies might have given the applicant a great level of knowledge about clients and deliverables.

It’s also essential to know exactly what the important skill-sets are. Are you looking for a frontend developer? Well, then certain programming languages are important. Are you looking for a marketing specialist? Then previous successful campaigns or SEO skills are definitely necessary.

Screening criteria - personality

Screening criteria – personality profile.

Positions with customer contact require a certain type of personality. Whether the important traits are outgoing, helpful, content or service-minded, the screening criteria should be the personality profile, which determines if the candidate is screened for the next round. These factors affect not only how the candidate will perform in the position but also the rest of the team and the corporate culture.

If you find a personality profile important, then make sure you know which personality traits are needed for the job!

While the right personality traits should be pinpointed by the person responsible for hiring, consider involving other members of the team for which you are hiring. Involving the team in this process can actually be quite advantageous, since the team is often more interested in the personality traits than the educational background of the person.

The best skills, the right education and/or a personality match?

Managers always want the strongest and best candidates for a job. Obviously! Therefore, make sure to sort applicants using the right screening criteria. It might be strongly headed toward one or the other, or it might be a balance. Nevertheless, a good starting point means that you have a better chance of finding the right people.

Remember Steve Jobs? It was his personality that changed the world, not his business skills.

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