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18th Apr, 2024

Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

There are few things more important in the world of work than hiring the right people. 

A candidate with the correct qualifications and attitude can transform a company, helping to boost morale, productivity and ultimately the organisation’s bottom line. 

Part of making sure you hire the perfect candidate is having a strong pre-employment screening process. 

From making sure a potential recruit has the right skills and qualifications, to checking they are who they say they are, screening is an essential part of the recruitment process. 

What is CV screening? 

CV screening is the process of determining if a candidate is qualified for the role they are applying for based on factors presented within their CV, such as their education, qualifications, experience and skills. 

The aim of CV screening is to decide which candidates to move forward to the interview stage. 

This process can be a time-consuming task, with the sheer volume of candidates swamping even the most experienced hiring managers. However, getting CV screening right is really important in helping you streamline the recruitment process and find the best people for your team and business. 

Organisations that can conduct candidate screening fast will not only recruit the best people, they will save time, money and reduce the risk of making a bad hire. 

Screening job applicants is one of the first steps taken during the hiring process, working to both narrow down the number of candidates being considered for a job and to single out those with interesting profiles. 

Five tips for candidate screening 

Getting the screening process in recruitment correct has huge implications for organisations. Making a poor hiring decision can have costly implications for employers in terms of both time and money. 

It is estimated that the cost of losing a new recruit in their first year can be as much as 3.5 times their annual salary, with the cost of a fresh recruitment process, training, onboarding and wasted salary quickly adding up.  

Worse, making a poor hire can also impact organisations in terms of wasted senior management time, resulting in low morale among your team, good employees leaving due to the bad hire affecting their work, and potential damage to your organisation’s reputation. 

Conversely, a successful hire can boost productivity, improve the work environment, and reduce overall staff turnover. 

We’ve put together five top tips to help your organisation get the best results: 

1. Know what you are looking for 

Before writing your job specification you need to ensure you fully understand the requirements and skills needed for the role. From this you can create a well thought out job specification and advert, and by doing so ensure the CVs you receive match your requirements, making screening a lot easier. 

Not doing this will result in an unsuitable candidate pool and a drain on your resources. 

2. Get your candidate screening criteria right 

As well as outlining what your perfect candidate looks like, it is vital to create some screening criteria to process suitable, and filter out, unsuitable applicants. Must haves could include qualifications, years of experience, or skills, as well as practical needs such as a driving licence and salary expectations. 

This will enable organisations to quickly select a relevant list of qualified applicants that can be taken to interview. 

3. Use technology 

Pre-employment screening can be made much faster and more efficient by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) rather than doing candidate screening manually – especially when hiring for a number of roles. 

An ATS will allow hiring managers to enter key search terms and use filters - for example; education level, languages, location or technical skills. Using killer questions – ones which eliminate people who don’t meet certain criteria - will remove any candidates who don’t fit the bill, further narrowing down applicant numbers. 

A properly implemented ATS will allow organisations to dedicate more time to core responsibilities, including sourcing and hiring exceptional candidates. It will also streamline CV screening and overall recruitment process, improving diversity and making cost savings. 

4. Communicate throughout the process 

Throughout the screening process, it is important to maintain clear lines of communication with candidates. As potential employees, they will also be making judgements about your organisation, and you do not want to risk losing the perfect applicant because of shortcomings in the recruitment process. 

Even something as simple as confirmation of receipt of a CV can make a huge difference. Again, an ATS can help streamline such vital communication. Any communication is good communication, and applicants will appreciate the feedback. 

5. Remove bias from the process  

When conducting pre-employment and CV screening, a blind review approach can be used to eliminate candidate’s personal information. By doing this, hiring managers will be left with only the specific criteria that the role requires rather than any information that may potentially lead to bias, such as age or gender. 

Using a blind review process encourages recruiters to take an objective view of applicants and helps ensure only suitable candidates are shortlisted for interview. 

Leveraging technology 

Data-driven candidate screening is growing in importance and is vital to the creation of a fast, efficient process. 

The amount of time taken screening CVs can put incredible pressure on hiring managers carrying out volume recruitment.  

In today’s market, top talent does not stay available for long, and spending days screening CVs, many of which may be entirely unsuitable, is a luxury recruiters cannot afford when bringing in multiple candidates. 

When it comes to pre-employment screening, an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is a must-have tool for talent acquisition teams. By organising and sorting all the CVs received for each role, it saves hiring managers time and money, helping them screen out unsuitable or unqualified applicants quickly. 

Technology in the screening process can manage everything from posting job openings to conducting right to work checks, creating a more time-efficient hiring workflow and allowing hiring managers to concentrate on other, specific aspects of talent acquisition. 

It also has the ability to improve candidate communication, with an ATS providing an important and timely link between recruiters and candidates. Automated email responses and interview scheduling help ensure potential recruits are kept informed throughout the recruitment process and have a positive experience of interacting with your company. 

Leveraging technology can also bring about cost savings. Automating repetitive tasks reduces the time-to-hire and boosts efficiency, as well as helping organisations to recruit the very best people at the first time of asking. 

The future of candidate screening 

While screening can be time-consuming, it is essential to have the correct processes in place. 

In the worst case, hiring the wrong person could make your organisation vulnerable to everything from employee fraud, employing people who don’t have the right to work in the UK, absenteeism, poor performance, and reputational damage. 

As well as having an effective CV screening policy, carrying out thorough background and criminal record checks and conducting the correct right to work checks are essential to avoiding such situations. 

Verifying a candidate’s qualifications, employment history and identity will ensure your organisation makes the right hiring decisions. 

In collaboration with our sister company Reed Screening, Reed Talent Solutions can offer a seamless and positive screening service. With onboarding of candidates often taking days, or even weeks and months, it is important to have a holistic provider onboard which can work with your organisation throughout the entire process

Reed Talent Solutions’ onboarding and screening process works to ensure new employees remain engaged and energised, ready to hit the ground running in their new roles

Reed Screening has a dedicated team of more than 150 screening experts, available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to provide effective and reliable CV screening and offering thousands of pre-employment checks to ensure an organisation has peace of mind and is protected from reputational and financial risk. 

We are committed to embracing new technologies such as generative AI and gender decoding in order to stay at the forefront of screening developments, while our collaboration with the Better Hiring Institute means we have been able to offer our expertise to help develop new Better Hiring Toolkits to help organisations across a number of sectors embrace our goal of making UK hiring the fastest, fairest and safest in the world.  

If you need help with your screening requirements or with any other element of futureproofing your talent acquisition strategy, speak to one of our experts. 

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