Oct 2, 2015
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Data published by Glassdoor in June shows that the amount of time required for the interview process has grown since 2009 — and screening processes may be the cause.

The report indicated that skills tests and other screening tactics have a significant effect on the length of the interview process.

These screening tactics are becoming more and more common, but are they effective?

The success of these strategies lies, in part, with the hiring managers and HR professionals who use them. Are HR professionals really listening to the screening results, or is it just another step in a lengthy process?

If you fear your screening tactics aren’t working, here are a few signs that listening is a part of the problem and what you can do to pay better attention:

Sign #1: You’re using multiple screening tactics

Your hiring process is getting out of hand. You have candidates complete a one-way video interview before moving on to a phone interview. Then, you perform a skills assessment and personality test — all before the official interview.

It takes you forever to fill a position, and candidates are getting fed up with the drawn out process.

Using so many various screening tactics is a sign that none of them are really effective. Instead of getting all the information you need from one tool, you’re getting bits and pieces from multiple sources.

Do this instead: Choose one screening tactic and commit to it. Pay attention to the answers job candidates give and evaluate what works and doesn’t work with the tactic. Keep improving the screening process until you have one highly effective screening strategy.

Sign #2: You’re replaying video interviews

Using one-way video interviews was supposed to speed up your hiring process, but it’s slowing it down. You’re replaying every video response for every candidate.

Think about when you read — when you start to lose focus, you end up reading the same sentence over and over again. The ability to replay answers is one of the top advantages of one-way video interviews, but if you’re constantly clicking “play again,” that could be a sign that you weren’t paying attention the first time around.

It’s easy to get distracted when a candidate isn’t sitting right in front of you. While watching video interviews, you’re checking email, answering texts, and looking over your to-do list.

Do this instead: Put everything else aside and focus on the interviews. Close other tabs on your browser, put your phone out of reach, and clear your schedule. If you’re not paying attention, the screening process is useless.

Sign #3: Every interview is the same

Your phone and two-way video interviews are boring. You read a question, the candidate answers, and you move on to the next one. After a while, the candidates all begin to sound the same.

You’re not learning anything new or interesting to help you make a decision.

When all of your interviews blend into each other, you’re not really listening. Instead of listening to a candidate’s answers and engaging them in a real conversation, you’re simply reading questions off of a list. You’re missing the opportunity to ask candidates to expand on their answers and get to know them as individuals.

Do this instead: Get rid of your script and be present in each screening interview. Go into each interview with a general idea of what you want to talk about and what questions to ask. Without your handy list of questions, you will be forced to listen to the candidate, engage them, and participate in a conversation.

Sign #4: You can’t find the right candidate

You’ve narrowed down the candidate pool through your screening process, and it’s now time for the final round of interviews. But, none of them turn out to be a great fit for the role.

The candidate with the right skills, experience, and personality does exist, but you may have already eliminated them during the screening stage. Considering 27 percent of the 6,000 hiring professionals surveyed by CareerBuilder said a single bad hire cost more than $50,000, you can’t afford not to listen during the screening process.

The problem may not be that you’re not listening, but that you don’t know what to listen for, and that’s leading your elimination process astray.

Do this instead: Before screening candidates, specify exactly what you’re looking for. Are you using the process to get a sense of their skills, learn more about their past experiences and resume, or get to know their personality?

Decide which qualities are most important for the job at hand and focus on those in the screening process. With a specific goal in mind, you will be more likely to listen to what a candidate is saying in order to find the trait you’re looking for.

What distracts you in your screening process? How do you focus on the candidate?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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