Sourcing Woes? Look at Streamlining your Screening Process

As the unemployment rate continues to fall, some recruiting teams may find it a bit tougher to source high quality candidates. But is candidate sourcing entirely to blame? Maybe, but probably not. Sourcing may be part of the problem, but it’s likely that your recruiting team’s screening strategy needs to take advantage of current technology and other changes in today’s labor market.

Many aspects affect sourcing, but there are three major screening factors that can choke a torrent of applicants to a mere trickle. Under time pressure, your recruiters make the best of the situation, but you’re often left with underperforming, turnover-prone employees.

These factors, taken one at a time, can have a significant impact on candidate volume and quality. Taken together, they can literally strangle a company’s bid to attract, select, and retain high-performing talent. Virtual interviewing technology is a powerful tool in helping recruiting teams satisfy the expectations of their stakeholders.

Stack the deck.

Resources. Your recruiting team is a finite resource, probably operating under a significant time constraint: “fill a class of 30 by next Friday.” Research conducted by HireIQ suggests that manual screening processes result in an applicant shrinkage rate of 90% or more. To fill each class of 30, for example, a recruiting team must effectively process 300 applicants.  Assuming that the process of an application and resume review, followed-up by a telephone screen might take a total of 45 minutes, most of which is spent trying to reach a candidate on the phone and conducting the initial phone screen. That’s a labor investment of 225 hours – nearly 5 full business weeks. For each class of 30.

Recruiters certainly work hard to select high-quality applicants, but the deck is stacked against them. Recruiters may say, “We interview 100% of our applicants,” but math suggests that is simply not possible – especially in the compressed timeframe of rapidly filling new classes. Even effectively screening two-thirds of applicants is a stretch. The real number is probably closer to 30 or 40%, which leaves many well-qualified applicants on the table, simply because there isn’t enough time to effectively reach ALL applicants in a timely fashion.

Virtual interviewing has proven to be an effective pre-screening tool to help rapidly move candidates into the pipeline quickly and to automatically identify those who are more likely to be successful. This can significantly improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruiting team and deliver a higher-performing employee to its stakeholders.

Instead of 45 minutes per applicant for a manual review and screen, virtual interviewing can take only about 8 minutes. So, the recruiter labor required to effectively screen candidates is slashed to only 40 hours – one business week. This is much more manageable and it has the collateral benefit of moving candidates through the hiring process much faster. Once this bottleneck is removed, recruiters can spend their time on more strategic projects, like sourcing.

Speed matters.

Timing. As the job market continues to strengthen, candidates’ expectations get higher and their patience shrinks dramatically.  With more employment options available, job seekers are impatient, have more applications outstanding, and simply won’t very long for a job offer. Research conducted by Texas Christian University and the University of Arizona concludes that a short hiring process means that the employer gets their pick of high-quality applicants, but it also tends to have a positive impact on the candidate’s impression of the company which translates to higher performance and lower turnover once hired.

Engaging candidates early in their recruitment and keeping them posted on their progress – both positive and negative – means you can keep the good ones on the hook a little longer. According to a 2013 national survey by CareerBuilder, over 75% of applicants never hear a thing from a hiring company. Yet, eighty-two percent of these applicants expect SOME kind of response, even if it’s a perfunctory “thanks, but no thanks.” Candidates who hear nothing assume the worst and will quickly look elsewhere.

Virtual interviewing allows candidates to complete an online interview immediately after submitting their application at any time of the day or night, even at times when the recruiting team isn’t working. No more waiting by the phone for the recruiter call that may never come. It also gets their initial phone screen in front of a recruiter faster. And, since he or she doesn’t need to spend time acting as an outbound telemarketer, the recruiter spends time reviewing recorded interviews and making decisions which applicants to move further down the line.

It also has the benefit of increasing the size of the applicant pool without increasing recruiter labor. Experience shows that over 45% of virtual interviewees complete a virtual screen outside of recruiter working hours. It’s convenient for the candidate and effectively doubles the size of the applicant pool.

Don’t waste time.

Qualification. Hard to believe, but unqualified candidates will apply for your open positions. Your screening process has to be fair and consistent for all to avoid any potential discrimination issues, so your recruiters will waste time – a lot of it – vetting them. Weeding them out early can help your recruiters focus on those applicants who are really qualified and motivated.

Resumes and even online applications are not always good indicators of qualified applicants. Recruiters will waste substantial time screening candidates that are unqualified, despite their self-documented background.

Virtual interviewing can easily weed out these wannabes through the use of questionnaires designed with knockout questions – an undesireable answer to one of these disqualifies the candidate and recruiting never has to bother with trying to contact them. Audio analysis of the emotional content of recorded interviews can identify those applicants who are most likely to succeed and alert the recruiting team to focus on them. In fact, clients report a 67% increase in qualified applicants completing interviews with no additional recruiter labor.

A strengthening labor market means greater competition for high-performing talent. Engaging and moving them through your hiring process quickly will give you the best chance of getting and keeping them. Virtual interviewing technology, when incorporated as part of a company’s recruitment process, can help keep the hiring pipeline full of well-qualified candidates.

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