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📫 #28 - How do you screen?

The #people post
It’s been eight months since I last sent a People Post. 🙏 Sorry for being so lax about providing you with the quality HR content you deserve ⚡. I’ve switched up the format (again!) so, if you don’t like my ramblings about screening, there might be something further down you’ll enjoy more! ⬇

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” - Montesquieu (1689 - 1755)
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
How do we make screening valuable?
Depending on who you talk to, candidate screening is either the best or the worst. I’ve worked with organisations that screen in a bunch of different ways. Most will use a 15-30min call (or, up to 30mins) to make sure the candidate can adequately communicate, can articulate the experience on their CV and gauge “fit” in the organisation.
More often than not, it’s someone from the HR department that will do the screen. (Sometimes that’s even an intern - nothing against interns - but you do need some experience and you don’t really get what you need). When HR do it, I worry it will be too clinical and more like a spotlight interrogation “EXPLAIN THIS THREE WEEK GAP ON YOUR RESUME!”
When I start a hiring process, I like to do the screening myself, but I’d usually just freestyle it and treat the screen as a chat. I assumed I could measure engagement, interest etc by using my honed skills as a conversationalist and get to what I needed.
I was wrong.
I realised I was wrong when I noticed that every single screen was moved to the next stage. It made screening pointless. I was basing my screen on whether I would have a coffee with them or a sidewalk chat. So, I resolved to improve my process and this is what I come up with. I like to fit it into 15 minutes so I’m wasting nobody’s time:
  1. Intro, in which I explain what I’m going to talk about and that there’s time for Q’s at the end.
  2. I talk about the company, how great it is (fortunately, I work for a genuinely great EdTech scale-up, so it’s easy to be excited about it), how I like working there, what our mission is, how we’re doing, etc etc. I’m trying to get the candidate interested and _sell_ the org.
  3. Then I ask why _they_ would be interested in working for _us_. I’m looking for someone to describe how they’ve researched the org, are excited to be a part of it and the mission. If I hear ‘My skillset matches the requirements on the job spec.’, I’ll rush through the next bits. I need someone as genuinely engaged as their colleagues will be.
  4. Then I ask about their last three jobs. I’m digging for _experience_, not just skills and abilities. I want someone who can articulate what makes them different from others. The best answers involve describing situations and outcomes, not processes and tools.
  5. Finally, I ask about career goals - what do you want to achieve in the next one, two, five years? How can my organisation help you achieve those goals. Good answers to this help me to know that the candidate has thought about these things.
At the end, I allow a few minutes for candidate questions.
In 15mins I can:
  • Guage whether they’re interested: have they researched the company, or is it a spray and pray application.
  • What they’re good at: the experience section helps me with that.
  • What kind of aspirations they have and whether I think we might be able to help with that.
  • Whether they can communicate well and which team I think they might be best placed in.
If a majority of boxes are ticked, then I’ll move them to the next round. Frankly, I’m flexible on a lot of points, but the real deal-breaker for more is no engagement in the organisation, no research and no energy for what we do. If that’s lacking, then it’s a really bright red flag for me.
What’s your screening process like?
Apps and Things
Bit of a plug as it’s a sponsored link, but I’ve been using hired.com on and off at a number of organisations.
Get instant access to a curated pool of responsive top tech talent actively seeking their next role.
This looks interesting. If you use work sample tests as part of your recruitment process, this could help streamline that step.
We use interactive assessments, predictive analytics and workflow automation to remodel the selection process making it faster, cheaper and bias-free.
(Got an app, site or something that you’re excited about? Hit reply and let me know and I might feature it here!)
Recommendations From
This section brings you recommendations from cool people. This week, however, they’re from me as I haven’t managed to ask anyone these questions yet!
What are you reading right now?
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. I try not to be moralistic, self-centred or judgemental, but this book explains how it’s often hardwired and what you can do about it.
What’s your favourite app, or website?
My favourite app is Obsidian.md. It’s a markdown file editing tool with superpowers. I keep all my studies in it, links, quotes, thoughts and whatnot and it “magically” links them all together for me. I run my life with his (and Trello).
What quote inspires you?
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. – Rick Warren
What’s your favourite recipe?
Nigella Lawsons Orzotto. It’s a pasta recipe that orzo pasta, peas, cheese, bacon and garlic - what’s not to love. I always eat too much AND go back for seconds.
Bigger Brains Than Me
The web is chock full of people with much bigger brains than I have. I stand on the shoulders of giants:
I try and take criticism on the chin. Unless someone is being mean, it’s usually done with the best intentions. That said, it still hurts
However, the question of how much criticism needs to hurt depends on something which has nothing to do with the specific attack we happen to face: how much we happen to like ourselves. - https://www.theschooloflife.com/
I sit at my desk a lot, or the desk at work. Either way, my hands are mostly typing, mousing or lifting the eighth cup of coffee to my face. Sometimes I like to make things with my hands, like lamps. They’re not good, but the process is wonderful.
Throwing yourself into real activities not only helps keep you grounded, but it is also good for your brain. Pursuing mastery, a kind of gradual progress where tangible results can be traced back to oneself, increases self-reliance and self-confidence. https://www.outsideonline.com/
Classifieds and #people Jobs
#End Post
Thanks for reading. Any feedback is warmly received, hit me up at mike@hashtagpeople.co.uk.
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Mike Pearce
Mike Pearce @the_peoplepost

The #people post

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