There is a point in the employment process where you need to do the nitty gritty of applicant processing. As an applicant you know that this will happen, and as a potential employer it is vital that you do what is needed in terms of background checks and applicant information. However, there are two ways of looking at the way applicants are screened and checked. One is to see it as a necessary evil and the other is to actively use it as a way to show the applicant that they are valued and that they will be welcomed into the team.
Cost of a bad hire
It is rare that a simple, rather outdated, process of ‘CV to interview to offer’ is effective anymore. In the IT world, this is even more unlikely as it is usually the case that a specific skill set or experience is required for every role. These skills and experience benchmarks need to be confirmed before a hire, because the cost of a bad hire can be not only financially damaging but in a project based world, potentially have a disastrous knock-on effect on development and delivery dates. In short, you simply must do a full round of background work and screening to make sure that you are considering the right talent. Naturally, you also want to cater for the unlikely event that a candidate is up selling a little too much and confirm they can actually do what they say they can.
The problem is that all of this can be off-putting for the candidate if handled badly. In a skills gap smitten work environment, the last thing you need to do is put off a prospective great addition to the team. This is particularly true where you have attracted semi-passive candidates who are considering a move for improved prospects rather than any particular issue with their current employer. If the process is difficult, a lower initial motivation may result in them simply deciding that the hassle of switching jobs is not worth it.
The screening process
When approaching the process of screening and checking then there are some basic principles to follow that will make things happen smoothly all round.
To start with, keep the process as simple as possible. Over complex or unnecessary processes will potentially lead to confusion and errors on both sides. Decide well in advance on what fixed information is absolutely necessary, such as work permits and qualifications, and what job-related information such as experience of particular workflow practice or platforms, you need.
Once you have the information you want to gather, put it into a series of milestones with realistic timescales and give people specific responsibility for gathering them. Remember that if you need information from outside sources they will not be as motivated as you when it comes to responding, so build time in for a little chasing.
Make the process transparent and clear to the prospective employee and then stick to it. The more you show you are applied to the process of employing someone, the more they will feel as if you care about who you employ. Your screening and background checks show that you are pro-active about getting the right team and candidates will respect that.
Make any actions with the candidate as easy as possible and where possible in a clear workflow methodology. If the prospective employee knows exactly what you are looking for, when and why, they will find the process of applying (and accepting) more attractive.
Finally, be as timely as you can in the process from decision to employ to making the offer. If you are seeking an in-demand candidate then there is a good chance that they will also be in demand elsewhere. The last thing you need is for the current employer or a rival to swoop in and snatch away the ideal candidate.
In the end, it is a clear and thorough process of screening and background checks that will make things easier for everyone. Alternatively, we are always happy to help with some or all of the process and we have the experience needed to ensure you get the best.
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