How Quality Is Your Candidate Screening Process?

Having a well-organized screening process put in place can make a difference between making a bad hiring decision and paying extra costs for this and finding the perfect fit for your software development project. A quality candidate screening process is crucial for any business success. While many IT staffing agencies claim to have a thorough screening process, only few can boast tangible results to prove their due diligence.

We've explored Intersog screening best practices as well as current industry trends to find a proper recipe of a screening process that works.

Let's first see what research has to say about a quality screening process.

  • According to TEKsystems research, 81% of IT professionals and 95% of IT decision makers admit that the more thorough the screening process, the higher the chance of hiring a person who'll make important contributions to your project and make a perfect fit for your corporate culture and mission.
  • Top 3 biggest investments in recruiter's time are in-person interview, technical assessment and vetting (reference check, prior convictions or jail time, credit references, verification of professional licenses and certifications, etc)
  • As found by a recent CareerBuilder survey, 24% of U.S. employers claim that a single bad hire costs the company over $50,000 (each wrong hire means recruiters have to do their job from scratch again which adds up cost).

How to Verify Your Screening Process is Correct?

First ask yourself a question: "How accurate are resumes you're considering for inclusion in a shortlist?"

Today, IT job seekers realize the market is hectic and feel pressure to differentiate themselves from others. This may result in a questionable tactic of putting untruthful or incomplete information to the resume. TEKsystem has found that 35% of IT leaders and 39% of IT professionals say most IT resumes they receive on a regular basis contain outright lies. Additionally, 77% of IT leaders and 63% of IT specialists say most IT resumes strongly exaggerate applicant's work experience. Along the lines, 64% of IT professionals and 78% of leaders admit most IT resumes are filled with buzzwords that are irrelevant to the actual work experience of job seekers.

Two out of five IT leaders agree that inadequate screening process results in hiring unqualified developers, which has a drastic impact on overall business performance.

So, if you feel like adding a person to your wish-list based on their resume only, beware of making a wrong decision. Reference check and additional investigation may be needed to make sure you consider hiring the right talent.

It's recommended you secure at least 2 references per each shortlisted candidate. When performed correctly, reference checks provide recruiters with a better picture of a job candidate's employment history and how they've performed in the past, and what things to consider when creating this or that applicant's job development roadmap. While only 14% of IT professionals believe their next employer will really check their previous job references, 41% of IT leaders say they do perform such checks to validate each candidate's skills. However, over 40% of background checks include information about specific soft skills.

Additionally, many IT leaders confirm that over 50% of references they obtain are not from past supervisors. When performing your reference check, try to reach out to the former direct manager or team lead of a specialist you're about to hire to make sure you'll get the most comprehensive and objective picture.

To validate the candidate's skills and knowledge, two interviews are normally conducted: an in-person interview and a technical assessment interview.

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In-person Interview

An in-person, or face-to-face interview helps recruiters get non-verbal insights into how well this or that candidate will perform in the role needed by your organization. That's when a recruiter can and should apply their knowledge of human psychology, as they need to pay special attention to candidate's facial expression, gestures and posture, how they handle spacial boundaries, etc. However, according to TEKsystem, only 50% of recruiters in the United States conduct an in-person interview before submitting a candidate to project owners.

Technical Assessment

Another important screening step is a technical assessment that measures candidate's proficiency for specific technical skills, confirms the skills indicated in a CV and identifies areas where a candidate still lacks competency. However, only 45% of IT professionals and 49% of leaders say staffing agencies perform a technical assessment before submitting candidates to the client.

Five Steps to Make Your Screening Process Rock

1. Maximize the screening experience of job seekers

Note that candidates will start having an impression of your company and the project they're aiming to join in the beginning of your screening process. So, you should design your screening process from the applicant's perspective not to lose talented specialists. In fact, 74% of IT professionals surveyed by TEKsystem believe the employer's screening process affects their decision to join the company or withdraw themselves from candidacy.

Don't forget that the average IT job applicant knows 10 other IT specialists with the same or similar skill sets. As word of mouth is really strong these days, news about the applicant's negative or possible screening experience can travel fast and have a negative impact on how other job seekers in the market perceive your organization. So, make sure you, as a recruitment consultant, are well prepared for each stage of screening (don't ask too many generic questions, test their out-of-the-box thinking, etc). Great screening processes always consider the needs of job candidates and the employer alike.

2. Make your job description as detailed as possible

Many IT professionals wish they could have a 75% clearer picture about the job posted before applying for it. So, they want you to share lots of job details so that they can decide if they match the job role or not. In particular, details most job descriptions are missing today are: work / life balance, career growth opportunities, access to on-job or external training and new skills acquisition, team dynamics and software development environment, financial benefits, etc.

While hiring managers find it difficult to share many details about the opening with each and every potential candidate, great recruiters should be able to do this and should lead applicants to making informed decisions.

3. Streamline your job application process

According to CareerBuilder, 63% of applicants complain about a lengthy and cumbersome job application process at many organizations. Do assess your current process and if you find that it takes the average applicant more than 20 minutes to complete your application, shorten it! Otherwise you're at risk of losing valuable candidates who're just too lazy to spend a lot of their time completing a questionnaire with no guaranteed result. As many as 46% of IT professionals admit they won't apply for the job if the application process is too time consuming. So, make sure your application captures the most important aspects and doesn't go overboard.

4. Streamline your interview process

You as an employer will most likely want to involve as many project stakeholders to the interview with a candidate as possible. However, this practice adds up more time to the interview. Job seekers, especially the millennials, are looking to have short interviews. So, instead of putting your whole board of directors to the interview team, work closely with your hiring manager to block off interview days in advance and let your candidate have several short interviews rather than one long. However, if you only have 2-3 persons on your interview team, don't divide your interview process in chunks, but rather have them all interview a candidate. This will allow job seekers to get different perspectives and insights into the job role.

5. Always provide feedback to each and every job applicant

We all want feedback for our efforts. Applying to a job opportunity requires making some efforts and it can really hurt if we don't receive any feedback for completing an application. If you can't afford to invest time into customizing your feedback for each particular candidate, especially those who failed the screening, try to automate your process using tools like Mailchimp. You can pre-design your feedback template for various scenarios and launch personalized email campaigns to deliver the right message to this or that group of applicants (i.e., those who passed the screening, who failed it or who are considered for an additional interview).


Qualified IT talent is the key asset and the driving force of any organization. Great recruiters know how to find the best IT specialists for your software development project, how to engage and retain them. But just like software development itself, IT screening should be considered as a corporate function. Like any process to be effective, screening should be streamlined and aligned with best practices in IT staffing. If you feel a gap in this domain, hire professional IT staffing advisory like Intersog to help you structure your process and get the best candidates for your project and, thus, best value for your money.

Check out our currently available IT talent in our featured list and feel free to request their resumes or place your IT staffing request here!

Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals. You can contact him directly on LinkedIn.

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