Most of us in the business of hiring know that as many as 50% of all new hires don’t work out.

Sometimes the issue is simply an issue in execution –  a key reference left unchecked, a resume filled with inaccurate or misleading information going unchallenged, a candidate who simply shows up differently on the job than they did during the interview. These kinds of missteps in the hiring process are oftentimes easy fixes for “next time.”

Issues that aren’t so fixable happen when the candidate presents themselves honestly, BUT they just aren’t the right fit for the job – their work habits annoy their coworkers, they can’t seem to meet their bosses’ expectations.  Unfortunately, issues with “fit” are the primary reasons for early term turnovers.

Fixing “fit” issues oftentimes comes down to the need to relook at the hiring process. Did we understand the unique set of skills, hard and soft, required to do the job? What steps did we miss in the screening or evaluation stages of the hiring process that would have improved our assessment of fit?

This blog is all about the importance of candidate screening and presents our bias about the need to dedicate more hiring resources to candidate screening and keep hiring managers out of the screening weeds, able to give their full attention to candidate evaluation and selection – steps in the hiring process that only they can do.

First let’s establish some shared vocabulary around the distinct phases of the hiring process – 1) Screening; 2) Evaluation and Selection; 3) Verification – and who does what. 

Candidate Screening

. include the set of activities designed to filter out candidate “wannabes” so that hiring managers only meet candidates who meet the job’s minimum candidate requirements.  The folks who screen candidates are typically (and hopefully) not hiring managers.

There are many types of tools and interviewing techniques that can be used to screen candidates.  Any activity that helps to identify candidates who are potential hires and eliminates candidates who are not are helpful at this stage in the process.   The specifics of what tolls are used depends on how an employer chooses to organize their hiring process.

Candidate Evaluation and Selection

…includes all the activities that are done, typically by the Hiring Manager, to evaluate the candidate’s “fit” in more depth and elicit information that will help them decide which employee to hire.  This step almost always includes a virtual or in person interview with the hiring manager and in best case scenarios will include job simulation activities and structured interactions with the team.  Companies hiring a high impact employee will often add in depth aptitude testing or panel interviews during this stage of the hiring process.

The focus of this phase in the hiring process is in depth evaluation that will facilitate the right hiring decision.

The Verification Phase of the Hiring Process

includes activities designed to verify that the information collected during candidate screening and evaluation is in fact true. Verification activities might include criminal background checks, checking work or personal references, verifying educational achievements, etc. This phase of the hiring process is typically conducted by someone other than the hiring manager to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.  In the State of Washington, for example, it is illegal for employers to do a criminal background check on an employee without their permission and can’t be done until after offering them the job.

4 Reasons Why Improving Candidate Screening Also Improves Hiring Outcomes

1 – It keeps hiring managers focused on those steps in the hiring process that only they can do.  

A hiring process built around best practices can easily become overwhelming to a hiring manager who is also tasked to keep their daily work and multiple projects in play.  Many of the steps in the process are time consuming, tedious, and boring – particularly candidate screening.   Bog your hiring managers down with responsibilities that would normally fall into the candidate screening bucket and run the risk of burning them out even before they start into the more in-depth steps of candidate evaluation. How many times have we heard – “I  got so tired of looking at resumes, and talking to candidates that I just made a decision. Unfortunately it was the wrong decision?

By segmenting out a comprehensive set of screening activities and assigning those activities to someone other than the hiring manager, you can keep your hiring managers fresh, clear headed – and with enough information to make better hiring decisions.

2 – It makes sure the hiring process is done consistently and without bias.

Let’s face it – busy people doing work outside their core competencies will often take short cuts in how they execute that process – even if it’s a business-critical process like hiring. Making sure that all steps relevant to screening candidates are executed consistently for all candidates and without bias requires staff dedicated to and adept at the screening process.

3 – It provides hiring managers with more and better information about each candidate they spend time with.  

Segmenting, enhancing, and delegating the screening process turns hiring into a team sport – with both HR recruiters and their hiring manager clients playing an important and different role in the hiring outcome.  Not only will the screening phase of the process become more comprehensive and thorough, but hiring managers will get the opportunity to use more tools, more sophisticated techniques to evaluate candidates and make better hiring decisions. Behavioral interviews, for example, can be used during both screening and evaluation but when the behavioral interview questions created by hiring managers can be much more specific to the actual work environment. Hiring managers can take the time to learn more about the person behind the resume.  Candidates will have the chance to discover more about the job behind the job description.

4 – The hiring process moves more quickly and creates a better experience for more job candidates.

By clearly drawing the line between activities designed to screen candidates in or out and activities designed to thoroughly evaluate a qualified candidate, the hiring process moves more quickly and creates a more positive impression with candidates.  A well-designed screening process includes multiple steps with each step filtering candidates in or out based on their suitability for hire.  Candidates always know where they stand in the screening process, and time is spent on candidates in ratio to their “fit” for the job.  There are no black holes.

What Should a Hiring Manager Expect to See from Candidates Generated from a BEST PRACTICES Screening Process?

Pretend your a hiring manager and you are being supported by a robust screening process designed to reduce the number of candidates you see to one or two 2 candidate finalists.  A prescreened candidate in this hiring model…..

Are you start getting the picture of what the “right” screening process might do to make your role in the hiring process more doable?  Less stressful?  

Why can third party recruiters (independent or attached to recruiting agencies) deliver better candidate screening than their in-house Recruiting/HR counterparts?   

That’s a great question and our answer, is, of course,  shamelessly self promoting. That said, we think there good reasons to believe that third party recruiters and recruiting agencies are better equipped to handle the requirements of a rigorous candidate screening process than their in house counterparts. 

Check out this list… 


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 45 years.

A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditionsdirect hire professional recruiting servicesEmployer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

If you’re a hiring manager looking for a service that will actually “make a difference” to who and how you hire, contact us at 425-637-3312 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

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