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Is Your Applicant Screening Process Closing the Door on Great New Hires?

Is Your Applicant Screening Process Closing the Door on Great New Hires?

When it comes to recruiting, the purpose of screening applicants is to identify the most suitable candidates – and separate them from those that don’t make the cut. Surprisingly however, many organizations — and especially smaller and mid-sized firms with fewer in-house resources than large enterprises — are doing the opposite: instead of filtering in the best and brightest, they’re closing the door on them.

Obviously, this is wholly unintentional and very costly. Yet as noted, it happens frequently, and many workplaces it’s the norm instead of the exception. Below, we highlight three key reasons why organizations find themselves facing this dilemma:

  1. Underestimating the Time Commitment

Many organizations dramatically underestimate the time commitment required to effectively source and screen candidates. A qualified HR professional (or a team for larger recruitment campaigns) will always be required to evaluate resumes, recommend or select shortlisted candidates, and ultimately screen them via phone or in-person. All of these activities take time, and while there are ways to be more efficient, there are no short-cuts.

At the same time, good candidates earn this designation because they’re coveted and in-demand. Organizations that underestimate the time commitment invariably take too long to schedule interviews, and often lose top talent to the competition.


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  1. Lacking In-House Expertise

Even if organizations are willing and able to make the significant time investment, they may lack the in-house expertise required to effectively screen candidates. This skillset includes:

  • Creating effective job ads for each specific opportunity, and ensuring that they’re compelling, informative and realistic. Asking for too much or sharing too little will turn off the best candidates.
  • Posting ads on suitable websites. Each website has its own submission guidelines, rules and best practices for attracting top quality candidates.
  • Establishing criterion to rank candidates. This includes weighting “must-have” requirements and “nice-to-have” aptitudes and experiences.
  • Evaluating resumes. On today’s recruiting landscape, many resumes are loaded with keywords that are designed to score well with applicant tracking systems, but are submitted by candidates who clearly do not have the requisite background, skills or experiences.
  • Screening shortlisted candidates, which is NOT the same as interviewing. The purpose of screening is to assess the viability of scheduling an interview. A screening conversation requires a very different set of skills than interviewing. If this critical step is mishandled, then instead of sparking a strong relationship with a potentially great new hire, organizations can make a bad first impression – and never get the chance to make amends.
  1. Lacking a Candidate-Friendly ATS

Some organizations aren’t aware that their ATS (applicant tracking system) isn’t an asset: it’s a liability. That’s because it’s unfriendly, difficult to use, time consuming, tedious, and sometimes riddled with bugs and compatibility problems. And while some candidates may tolerate these drawbacks and slog their way through the process, it’s unlikely that the best candidates will stick around — because much like customers, they have other options and will lean towards a simpler, more streamlined application experience.

Learn More

At PIVOTAL, our Enhanced Posting and Screening Service (EPSS) is an innovative, professional and cost-effective solution that:

  • Dramatically reduces your administrative and time burden when posting job ads and screening candidates.
  • Significantly increases your chances of identifying high-quality candidates to interview and potentially hire.
  • Is led by a trained HR expert who serves as your designated point of contact throughout the process.
  • Uses an advanced Applicant Tracking System that provides you with powerful insights, yet is simple, fast and easy-to-use by candidates.
  • Is available in various packages and bundles to fit your needs and budget.

To learn more, contact us today.

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