Here are some of the of the biggest complaints that I hear from good candidates when I ask them about screening interviews:
- They are poorly conducted and the screener is often late in calling or misses the appointment
- The screener does not have day to day knowledge of the job duties
- The screener asks random questions from a list that doesn’t pertain to the candidate’s resume
- The screener admits in the call that they haven’t really had time to review their resume
- The screener asks flat, random, and lack luster questions
- The screener leaves the candidate hanging by telling them that the company will get back to them if they want to move things forward, but won’t comment on a time table even when asked
There is no timely follow up after the screening interview leaving the candidate wondering if the employer is a viable prospect
The net result is that any one of these items can put a bad taste in the candidate’s mouth right off the bat, and in this tight market, you can’t afford to not make a great first impression! Sadly, I have found, that Hiring Managers and/or owners are not aware that they are losing top people due to poorly managed and constructed phone screening interviews.
Whether you like it or not, candidates are judging you and your firm from the moment you make the first contact with them. They are evaluating the speed with which you respond to their inquiries, as well as the tone and quality of the communication; is it friendly, welcoming, or the dreaded “we received your application, we will get back to you if we are interested”?
My advice is to put yourself in your applicant’s shoes and think about the “message” that your firm is sending during the first screening interview. Ask yourself, the following questions:
- Is our front end screening process in line with our corporate culture and values, or are we projecting the wrong message to candidates and losing them in the process?
- Are we letting them know we are interested and are we aggressively following up with our top candidates and moving them quickly into a face to face meeting?
- Do we have knowledgeable people who know the job and how it fits into our organization, doing the initial screening interview, and are they asking good logical questions to allow for meaningful Q & A?
By re-thinking your screening interview, you will increase your chances of attracting top talent and most importantly, keeping them interested as you go through your interview process.
In my next post, I will be discussing the first face to face interview and how to make it more meaningful and effective for all involved.