The Art of Hiring Smart: Best Practices in Candidate Screening

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Recruitment Tips

best practices candidate screening

In the age of the Internet and advanced technologies, interviewing candidates can still be a daunting challenge for even the most self-confident recruiters.

The recruitment team may become overwhelmed when they feel that they are mainly responsible for interviewing, recommending, and hiring people for dozens of key positions in the company. 

If your organization wants to dramatically enhance their chance of finding great employees, trade-in your gut instincts for a systematic approach to interviewing, testing, and evaluating job candidates. In other words, your company’s recruitment team must be trained in the “art and science of candidate screening.”

Adapting the New Art and Science of Candidate Screening 

Organizations need a systematic approach to interviewing, testing and evaluating job candidates. A typical unstructured interview tells the interviewer almost nothing about the job applicants. 

Similarly, when you ask cliché questions such as, “What are your weaknesses?” – You might as well tell your candidate to lie to you. These kinds of questions inadvertently give your candidate permission to provide cliché answers like, “My weakness is perfectionism.”

Conducting rambling and unfocused interviews with typical cliché questions will not tell you anything about the candidate other than how they seem at face value. A good recruiter needs to know how to dig deeper into the candidate as they provide a glimpse of their own work ethic.

Recruiters need to unravel how these candidates work under pressure, their motivations, how they would handle tough projects, and their dispositions when working alone or with a team. Regular interviews will rarely assess any of these. That’s the reason why these typical by the book interviews are often poor predictors of job success.

The Three-Part Approach to Candidate Screening

To help predict the best performers among the applicants, a focused three-part approach can make the hiring process as standardized and objective as possible. It would also weed out the unqualified applicants and can help predict the best performers from the candidate pool. Here’s how it goes. 


This is the first step of the process when candidates are barraged with tough questions about how they’ve handled specific assignments and problems.

While traditional interviews may provide a narrow and subjective assessment of the candidate, it cannot be denied that an interview is still a brilliant tool when done correctly.

Behavioral interviewing usually involves a group of interviewers that will explain the qualities needed for a position. They will ask the candidates to give past examples of how they’ve demonstrated those qualities.

Behavioral interviews use questions that are rooted in the past with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when,” instead of using hypothetical questions such as, “What would you do if?” This will allow the recruiter to dig deeper into the candidate’s work experience.

The premise of this line of questioning is rooted in the notion that the candidate’s past experience is a superior indicator of what they will do in future jobs. It’s the same idea behind checking references.


Candidates undergo two kinds of tests: cognitive tests, which measure intellectual ability, and personality tests, which are sophisticated enough to allow companies to compare candidates with their top performers directly. 

While behavioral interviews are deemed to be a helpful tool in assessing candidates, they’re even more effective when combined with employment tests. Employment tests can now be administered online. They are given to candidates for evaluating their cognitive abilities and personality traits.

Research shows that cognitive tests have a slightly closer correlation with job success while personality tests are useful both as a basis for interview questions and for subsequent training and development of the potential employee. To achieve the best results, companies should use both kinds of tests or a single test that combines these two elements.


The last step in the screening process is when candidates engage in a work-based approach test where they are asked to do tasks like the ones they would do on the job. 

This approach simulates how the candidates will perform once they are hired. They will be graded on how they handle specific problems on the job. The recruitment team mimics possible real-life scenarios that they will most likely experience while providing assessments on how they resolved these scenarios. These tests will give employers a more balanced view of candidates. It will also give them a much better opportunity for hiring the best people. 

Here are several industry best practices on candidate screening that your recruitment team can emulate from Thrive, an executive recruitment software company:

BEST PRACTICE 1: Create a fairly accurate candidate persona.

The recruitment team is bombarded with dozens of applicants vying for a position in your company. To help recruiters find the best candidate for the job, you should know the specific traits that you are looking for in an ideal candidate.

This is why creating a candidate persona that serves as your ideal applicant can significantly help your business in measuring the actual candidates that are applying for the role. A good candidate persona can also help your organization target the kind of employees that you want to hire based on your brand’s mission, data on current employees, and market research.

BEST PRACTICE 2: Use the power of automation to your advantage. 

Modern recruiters nowadays are not afraid to leverage on the power of data analytics and AI in the recruitment field. A good talent management system that uses AI and automation will help your company screen candidates more effectively.

Automation will help you efficiently screen candidates while comparing skills and educational attainment with pre-defined parameters for open positions based on your company’s candidate personas. This is a nifty tool that can enable you to wade through a sea of candidates by narrowing the list of qualified candidates in an instant. 

BEST PRACTICE 3: Assess skills with a pre-hire skills assessment.

Depending on the industry and the vacant position, your company needs a specific method for your candidate’s skills assessment test. The method varies depending on the job that will be offered. 

There are cases when a candidate’s skills assessment can be as simple as a list of targeted questions. While there are other cases when an actual test is needed to be able to evaluate the skills of a candidate more accurately. 

Whether it’s the former or the latter, organizations need to streamline their skills assessment processes so that they can narrow down the candidates more quickly and improve their candidate’s overall hiring experience. 

BEST PRACTICE 4: Use social media wisely.

Nowadays, it’s somehow a standard practice to use social media to source candidates. Using social media to screen candidates gets a little bit tricky, but it’s worth your time. Your organization needs a formal written policy regarding the use of social media for background screening. Keep in mind that the company should remain consistent in the way they apply their social media screening policy across all levels of the organizational chart.

Your recruitment team also needs to be briefed regarding the legal implications of using information obtained on social media. Being aware of the dos and don’ts will help your team stay compliant with all legal regulations.

It would be best if you also remain vigilant on everything you see and read online. Don’t dwell on isolated incidents in the candidate’s profile and learn how to use social media to figure out the general patterns of a candidate’s behavior and skills.

BEST PRACTICE 5: Be well-prepared enough to cut time to hire.

Do everything you can to cut the time involved in the hiring process but don’t sacrifice the time it takes to do your due diligence in candidate screening.

Perform background checks in accordance with all applicable regulations and spend some time examining the results. Do your due diligence by checking the candidate’s references. Establish rapport with the candidates before their formal interview by reaching out to them and communicating frequently.

Be well-prepared for the interview by going through all of the candidate’s information during the initial screening process. Ask well-designed questions specific to the candidate’s experience. Be mindful enough to look out for their inherent social skills as well as professional skills during the interview. These simple suggestions will help your recruitment team narrow down the qualified applicants more efficiently and eventually improve the organization’s overall hiring process.  

Screening candidates is a crucial aspect of the recruitment process

Being able to effectively screen candidates is both an art and science that recruiters need to learn and hone over time. Using a focused approach to candidate screening and adapting to the industry’s best practices will help you find the best candidate for your organization.

Sysgen RPO is here to help your company revolutionize the way you source talent and make it easier for your candidates to apply for your vacancies. By leveraging on the latest trends and best practices in candidate screening, we can help you find the best candidates for the open positions in your company.



5 Candidate Screening Best Practices – Thrive TRM. (2016). Thrive TRM. Retrieved 19 March 2019, from

Clifford, S. (2006). The New Science of Hiring. Inc, 28(8), 90. Retrieved from

Falcone, P. (2001). Tech Interviews for The Non-Techies. HR Magazine, 46(10), 133. Retrieved from

 International Entrepreneurship. (2019). Google Books. Retrieved 23 March 2019, from

Jo Rebustillo


Jo started her recruitment career in 2007. Since then, she has worked with several RPO and BPO companies in different capacities. She has worked as a Recruiter covering requisitions in US, AU, EU and APAC handling volume, non-IT and IT. She has led several teams as a Recruitment Manager, Account Manager, Service Delivery and Business Development. She has also led teams in different industries such as Media and Advertising, IT, Outsourcing, BPO, Manufacturing, Military, Healthcare and Sciences. She has built teams based on their strengths and developed leaders with strong ethical values as well as aiming to beat the average. She strongly believes in integrity, strive for growth, persistence and kindness as hallmarks of a successful person and company.

Nikita Magpantay


Niki is a dynamic human resource professional with a focus on talent acquisition and HR business partnership, bringing her extensive expertise gained over 6 years. She is a versatile Recruiter specializing in diverse sectors including technical, banking and finance, logistics, sales, healthcare, and volume hiring. Niki, as an experienced HR Business Partner has proven success in aligning HR initiatives with business objectives, contributing to organizational growth. She seeks to foster positive employee relations and implementing effective engagement initiatives and business strategies while ensuring adherence to labor policies. Adept at combining a friendly demeanor with a dedicated result-oriented approach helps her bring a unique blend of empathy and strategic acumen to the workplace.

Intejar “Ram” Julkiram


With 9 years of background in RPO, Ram is adept at managing and optimizing the recruitment process for clients, ensuring a seamless and efficient experience. His skills include a deep understanding of both the IT and non-IT industries, enabling him to provide tailored recruitment solutions for the team.

Shara Jane Bonifacio


Shara Bonifacio boasts a rich and diverse career spanning more than 10 years within various industries in recruitment. As a highly skilled and effective communicator adept at engaging with people across multiple platforms, her passion lies in building lasting relationships. She excels not only in connecting with candidates but also in fostering strong ties with clients and stakeholders.

Throughout her career in industries such as Financial Services, Insurance Brokerage, Information Technology, Pharmaceutical, and Healthcare, Shara has showcased her results-driven mindset. Her penchant for challenges motivates her to continuously strive for excellence and growth.

Shara's leadership experience is a testament to her ability to guide and inspire teams, ensuring collective success and achieving organizational goals.

Evangeline “Gigi” Tilaon


Gigi, an inspiring leader, possesses nearly 5 years of expertise in the art of Talent Acquisition and boasts a distinguished 15-year legacy of visionary leadership. She is renowned for her unwavering dependability and boundless supportiveness, qualities that radiate through every endeavor she undertakes. Gigi's leadership style is characterized by remarkable transparency and hands-on engagement, underlined by a profound trust in her team's exceptional talents. She confronts challenges with fearless determination, inspiring her team to achieve greatness. As a passionate outdoor enthusiast and a nurturing fur parent, Gigi advocates for a work-life equilibrium with extraordinary grace and enthusiasm.

Randy Owen Roman


Randy brings extensive experience in the recruitment industry, spanning over 5 years. During his tenure, he has successfully managed a diverse portfolio of clients across multiple sectors, including IT, Financial, Retail, Light Industrial, BPO, Market Intelligence, and Healthcare. Randy is passionate about the outdoors and finds joy in activities like hiking and exploring nature. Equally, he appreciates the arts, indulging in music, movies, and series. As a leader, Randy exemplifies fairness and empowerment, consistently guiding and inspiring his team to surpass expectations.

Avielle Bernardino


Avielle, with 7 years of Healthcare Recruitment, is not just a leader. She is a mentor and an architect of streamlined offshore program planning. She has an innate ability to optimize processes, ensuring they align seamlessly with our clients' and program-defined standards. She empowers her peers, nurturing exceptional performance and maintaining a high level of service quality. This dedication to efficiency has set a new benchmark within our organization. She actively participates in strategic planning initiatives, driving a culture of continuous improvement. This proactive approach ensures we stay ahead in a rapidly evolving industry.

Kris Florblanco


Kris, with over six years in IT Recruitment and three years of team leadership, is known for dependability and supportiveness. Transparent and hands-on, she places trust in her team. An outdoor enthusiast, Kris faces challenges head-on to keep her team up and running.

Grace Marasigan


Grace, an empowering leader with six years in Talent Acquisition, is passionate about innovation and improvement. Balancing work quality and agility across various industries, her compassionate approach extends to her personal life as a committed vegan.

Ly Poticar


Ly brings 2 decades of expertise in the Recruitment and Staffing industry, covering various business verticals in both local and global recruitment. He has successfully led growth projects for SMBs and offshore expansion initiatives for Shared Services and other global enterprises. He seeks to continuously evolve his recruitment practices and client partnership agenda to provide innovative solutions and be a step ahead of the market trends. Ly has recruitment experience in the talent market for the following majors, as well as emerging industries: Tech – hardware/software/mobile/consulting/Web3, Online Gaming & Media, Digital Marketing, Finance – corporate/banking and fintech, Construction & Engineering, Energy, BPO, Manufacturing & Logistics.

Lara Belo


Lara brings a decade of invaluable experience in the field of IT recruitment, catering to diverse and niche IT roles. With adeptness in team management, she has led successful recruitment teams. She guides her team in effectively sourcing, tailoring recruitment strategies, and connecting top-tier IT professionals with optimal career opportunities nationwide.

Her extensive background in business development and client relations has not only led to the acquisition of new accounts that have expanded over time but also positioned her as a trusted partner for numerous clients.

Ezalyn Caberto


Eza is an accomplished RPO leader. She has a proven experience in building and leading high-performance recruitment teams.

Eza is also experienced and active in offshore RPO's management, recruiting, and consulting aspects. She has implemented several successful offshore recruiting accounts that have grown over time.

Eza is also a successful mentor who has produced budding leaders in her field. As a mentor, she has a strong focus on supporting emerging millennial team players.

Candy Poblete


Candy has been an HR Practitioner for 10 years. Her extensive experience in managing end-to-end HR facets came from various industries. She’s a champion in handling employee relations and labor relations. As a strategic thinker, she is adept at aligning HR policies and practices with the company’s goals and objectives, safeguarding the organization from legal complications, and providing employees with a secure and fair environment.

Anna Katrina Roa


Katrina, a De La Salle University graduate with a BSC in Accounting, plays a vital role in maintaining the company's financial health. She generates reports, manages budgets, and oversees the accounting department.

With over two (2) decades of experience in the recruitment industry, she is well-versed in its financial dynamics. Her expertise allows her to adeptly address the unique financial needs of recruitment businesses, making her an invaluable asset to the organization.

Jimmy P. Roa


Jimmy is a business executive in the field of BPO, RPO, IT Staffing, Technical Recruiting, Virtual Recruiting, Remote Staffing, and CAD Outsourcing. Having been involved in these industries for the past 30 years, Jimmy knows what works and what doesn’t. Aside from being the CEO of Sysgen RPO, he is also CEO of Sysgen – an IT Staffing firm which he founded in 1991.

Keen to working with clients who are willing to practice the “One-team Concept”, Jimmy has been mainly responsible in growing the Sysgen Group to what it is now.

He believes that clients are partners and that a true alliance is essential in achieving overall goals of cost savings and process improvement.