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Home > How To: Screen Job Applicants Using Technology

How To: Screen Job Applicants Using Technology

September 15th, 2008 · 16 Comments

by Tanya Gagnon,
Ladies Who Launch member, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ

Do any of these questions sound familiar?

My business is growing and I think I need to hire someone, but how do I find help? How can I be sure I’m not making a big mistake? Can I afford to find help? Can I afford not to find help? How much can I afford to lose on a bad hire?

One of the most important decisions a business owner will make is whether—and how to—hire employees. And for small businesses, there is little room for error, as budgets are tight and owners require the best from their few employees. I am a business owner and have faced these issues regularly. I cannot afford to waste time and money hiring the wrong people. When I hire someone I need the process to be fast, easy, and reliable. That’s why I use technology, both to attract quality applicants and to screen them.

I recently needed a designer. Here’s how I found her …

Use Technology to Attract Quality People

I needed a designer with a fresh perspective. I placed an ad on a local university career Web site, and after a week I received 20 resumes from qualified, motivated design students. This small effort produced plenty of candidates with the qualities I needed. I was able to narrow the group to seven possibilities.

Attracting quality people from the outset reduces screening time. Identify your requirements and use technology to find one or two sources with the most qualified candidates. Then submit detailed ads (make sure you are specific, i.e. it’s okay to say “do not submit attachments” if you don’t want to open resumes and prefer text in the e-mail) to narrow the applicant pool. This step is crucial but often overlooked. Many business owners instead place ads in generic online job sites. But there are too many sites and they’re too general, practically paralyzing employers with choices. Think about the best place to attract candidates for your business and focus your resources there.

Use Technology to Screen Your Candidates

Screening Tip #1: The Internet sees all.

Almost all college students have a profile on either Facebook or MySpace. When I searched these Web sites, five of my seven candidates had profiles, three of which I considered objectionable. I excluded them.

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