Long gone are the days when companies resorted to buying a modest ad in the local Sunday paper to fill a role. With the abundance of job search directories and social media platforms to reach potential job candidates, it can be overwhelming to see just how many responses you receive when you list an opening in your company.

What You Need to Know Before Screening a Candidate
What You Need to Know Before Screening a Candidate

It’s important to expect a high volume of applications if you plan on publicly posting a job opportunity. It’s also important to understand how to begin screening all of your potential candidates.

Did they follow your submission instructions?

Answering this question will allow you to weed out many candidates immediately. Sometimes job seekers are so caught up in trying to land a job that they submit their resumes blindly.

Many companies will include specific instructions in their job posting- such as faxing a cover letter or sending their resume to a specific email address. Some companies will even go as far as embedding “hidden” questions within their job posting, so when a candidate submits their application and answers the question, you will know they read the job description from beginning to end.

If a candidate does not submit their application properly, then move onto the next candidate.

Do they have a well-written cover letter?

Almost every professional job listing will require a cover letter along with an application from the candidate. Cover letters are opportunities for potential job candidates to sell themselves by explaining all the extra details that do not fit into resumes.

A formal cover letter should be written with correct grammar and punctuation and should include the following information:

• Name and contact information
• What position they are applying for
• How they found out about the job
• Why they are interested in your company specifically
• A summary of their relevant work experience

If a candidate submits a cover letter that is extremely brief, non-specific to the job or your company, and contains errors, stop right here and move onto the next candidate.

Does their resume show appropriate qualifications?

Resumes come in all shapes and sizes. You are bound to see a mix, from the beautifully designed to the very bland. While taking the time to focus on visual elements, layout and fonts does show initiative and can grab your attention, remember that it’s easy to shine up a resume with fancy detail but that this cannot override the information it contains.

If you’ve made it this far and you can see relevant qualifications, read through their resume thoroughly.