Screening Interview: Screening In vs. Screening Out

Esteban Gomez | November 7, 2022

There is a huge upside to giving candidates a way to tell their story in a screening interview (maybe through a one-way video interview) to uncover unexpected gems. That’s called “screening in” and we don’t see it happening enough. Most people are familiar with screening out, or eliminating candidates because they don’t meet certain criteria, but fewer are familiar with screening in. Here are our ideas about how you might benefit from a talent acquisition strategy that involves both techniques.

“Screening Out” Candidates

There is a time and place for screening out. Hiring an accountant and need evidence that the candidate is a licensed CPA? Hiring a broker and need to see a clean background on BrokerCheck? Hiring a teacher and need to see evidence of their Educator License? You get the idea. You may have real, firm, non-negotiable requirements that you have already decided you would not be willing to deviate from.

They are matters of fact and absolutely suitable for use in part of your recruiting process designed for “screening out” candidates that you know you will not accept. If you are using a video interviewing platform for your screening interview, consider using prequalifying questions in your one-way video interviews for this kind of “screening out” need.

“Screening In” Candidates

Under-used and often misunderstood, though, is the idea of screening in a candidate. Suppose you are filling a few spots on your sales team and you traditionally hire candidates that have a degree in sales, communications, business, economics, management or marketing.

You’ve got a broad and most likely a flexible perspective on what degree the candidate has. Sure, if the candidate has a degree in aeronautical engineering and applies for your sales position, you are going to have some questions to discern the reason for a change in career interests.

But that’s where the good part comes. You can uncover some terrific candidates that will get screened out at other companies, that you can screen in as you learn the rational (and probably very interesting) story for how their career interests evolved. A great way to screen candidates is via a one way video interview. In such a screening interview, I like to have at least one broad question along the lines of “What in your background makes you confident that this position and company is the right way for you to advance your career?” A candidate that has an unusual background will almost always take that opportunity to tell their story.

You are probably already screening out candidates — just about every interviewer and company will intuitively be doing that.  Perhaps you can be more efficient in doing so (using prequalifying questions in a digital interview).

However, we’ll bet that you are under-utilizing the opportunity for “screening in” candidates, and that’s a place where one-way video interviews really shine.  Let us know if we can be of any help as you head down the path of screening candidates for your open positions! We have a whole guide to video interviewing here or simply click here to contact us.

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About The Author

Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.


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