Improving Screening and Interviewing for High-Volume Hiring

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It’s a familiar refrain: there’s a lack of well qualified candidates to choose from and therefore, it’s harder to fill classes. Many companies cite the low unemployment rate as the reason. But is perceived lack of qualified candidates directly attributable to the low unemployment rate, or is the screening process itself partly to blame?

But based on our own observations of HireIQ customer prescreening and virtual interviewing processes – and current industry trends – we have to ask: Could the companies’ problem actually come from bottlenecks in the hiring process, instead of shortages in the labor market? And could recruiters better fill their pipelines if they expanded their sources of candidates? A look at industry hiring averages, slowdowns (or stoppages) in applicant advancement, and inadequate hiring processes reveals some truths that recruiters should be reckoning with. We discuss a few of them here.

Applicant dropouts: from the expected to the very regrettable

Candidates leave the hiring process for a variety of reasons: their salary requirements, location preferences, job offers, waning interest . . . Companies intentionally reduce the hiring pipeline because other applicants lack adequate skills, have questionable work histories, fail background checks, and so forth . . . All are to be expected. Unfortunately, we routinely see another reason why applicants fall by the wayside – including some of the most highly qualified candidates in the bunch. They get tied up in a process bottleneck and simply exit the scene.

Manual screening clogs up the works 

Often, too few candidates are processed early in the hiring cycle because of inefficient screening techniques. As shown in the table below, pre-screening consumes the largest relative portion of the hiring process, requiring 10 business days on average to complete. During that time, the cumulative applicant loss rate can soar to 68% of the candidate pool. Take a look at what you’re asking of candidates in the pre-screening process. Are you forcing everyone to answer 60 questions? Even for an entry-level position?

As the table indicates, excessive pre-screening requirements may cause contact centers to lose a great many applicants early in the hiring process. This drop-off can and should be avoided, especially when only five out of 100 applicants are expected to advance through the hiring process, accept a job offer and show up for the first day of work!









Application Submission



85% of Applicant Pool

Resume Review



76% of Applicant Pool

Pre-screening Process



32% of Applicant Pool

Live Interviews



10% of Applicant Pool

Background Check/Drug Test



8% of Applicant Pool




6% of Applicant Pool

First Day on Job!

5% of Applicant Pool

Virtual interviewing and why it’s preferred

Companies that still rely on manual screening and live interviews can see dramatic improvements by taking advantage of current technologies to address today’s labor situations.

Virtual interviewing, for example, can be completed in as few as eight minutes per applicant, versus the average of 45 minutes required for a manual review and screen. For this reason, the automated interview is particularly efficient when there aren’t enough recruiters to reach 100% of the applicant pool.

As an added bonus, the virtual interviews can take place at the candidate’s convenience, any time of day or night – with no scheduling or calling required from a recruiter. The recorded interviews are available for review 24/7, further condensing the hiring process. And make no mistake. Speed is critical.

According to Personnel Psychology (“The Effect of Job Offer Timing on Offer Acceptance, Performance, and Turnover”), companies with a relatively quick hiring process are more likely to attract high-quality candidates who will become engaged, high-performing employees. So, as technology trims valuable time from the critical early stages of the hiring process, it is reducing a candidate’s susceptibility to accepting offers from other potential employers.

It’s time for a reality check

One of the most prevalent causes for sluggish hiring cycles and skimpy applicant pipelines is the screening/interviewing portion of the hiring process, not the current reduction in unemployment levels.

Using HireIQ software in the early stages of the hiring process, one customer realized a 75% improvement in applicant:hire ratio. The company moved from a disappointing 25:1 ratio (with just 4% of their applicants accepting offers and showing up for work) to a remarkable 14:1 ratio. The recruiting team was ecstatic. Other customers tell us that their process improvements are resulting in applicant:hire ratios of 12:1 to 18:1.Taking your screening and interviewing methods to the best-practice level can help you improve the recruitment process and result in higher numbers of first-rate hires.

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