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Sharpening Your Screening Interviews

HR Advisor feature article | August 2008

Many employers adopt some sort of interview process.  Unfortunately, many employers also abbreviate the process by hastily moving from the resume review stage right into the hiring interview stage. 

In between those two stages, however, the prudent employer will conduct screening interviews to separate the truly qualified job candidates from the unqualified candidates.

There are four basic tips to help managers make the screening interview stage an integral part of a successful employee selection process:

1. Know Your Business Needs.  Before placing that ad or starting the search, you hopefully already developed a job description that defines what your business needs are. The job description should be specific about the job duties, the necessary skills set, the type of required experience / education, and any other information to help you identity the ideal job candidate.

2. Review the Resume.  Get familiar with the candidate’s resume before the phone or in-person screening interview. Make a checklist of standard questions to ask each candidate and any notes specific to the resume in question. Have all this information with you to briefly look over just before the interview to help confirm your mental map for the discussion.

3. Figure Out the Fit.  During the screening interview, exercise sound judgment in assessing the candidate’s personality traits. Pay attention to the candidate’s overall attitude, behavior, and knowledge toward the company and any employees the candidate may have met already. For example, how well does the candidate respond during the interview? 

4. Watch the Warnings.  With the resume at hand, be sure to verify statements made on the resume, and isolate any apparently exaggerated or seemingly falsified information. For example, how the candidate phrased his or her familiarity of certain computer office programs on the resume may be questionable. In turn, ask the candidate to provide a concrete example. 

By verifying the integrity of each candidate’s resume through the screening interview process, you will gain a clearer perspective of the how to better define your pool of truly qualified candidates towards selecting your next great employee.

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