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7 surefire ways to filter unqualified candidates


As a recruiter, your top priority is finding the best candidates out there, but you also know that it’s not an easy task. In today’s marketplace, there are hundreds of candidates applying to fill open positions, but not all of them are qualified. 

And with how easy it has become to apply, recruiters are getting more and more applications to go through. But more doesn’t always mean better. 

In the past, you might have received 20-30 applications for a job, but today, you can easily get hundreds of resumes and CVs, and it can be a difficult undertaking to go through all of them. That’s why we will talk about seven surefire ways you can filter out unqualified candidates as a recruiter.  

Why learning how to filter candidates is a must today

filter unqualified candidates

The market today demands great candidate experience, and companies are aware of this trend. It’s now easier than ever to post a good candidate experience on any of the social media platforms out there.

But that also means that candidates have an easier time sharing their negative experiences as well. When you jump on LinkedIn, you can quite easily find posts in which candidates share their negative experiences with a company’s hiring process.

The tendency for candidates to share their negative experiences is backed by data. According to SHRM, 46% of candidates assess the hiring process they went through as poor or very poor. And 64% of candidates share their negative candidate experience via social media. 

Negative comments might ruin a company’s brand, so there needs to be a focus on providing a good candidate experience in the hiring process. 

Good candidate experience is about being respectful of candidates’ time, not leading them on, and providing feedback promptly even if they didn’t pass the assessment. 

7 ways to filter out unqualified candidates

As a hiring manager, it’s your job to find the best possible candidates as fast as possible using recruitment tools in the hiring process so that you can be cost-effective. The following seven techniques will help you find those candidates. 

7 ways to filter out unqualified candidates

Be precise in your job description

Every job starts with a (detailed) job description. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of companies make mistakes and set themselves up for failure.

Most companies don’t invest a lot of time in understanding the specific needs of the open job, so they don’t know what the exact needs for the job are. The easiest way to see this is in the “years of experience” sections of job descriptions. 

Entry-level jobs shouldn’t require two years of experience. And the amount of experience required for junior and senior positions should be closer to two and five years, respectively, instead of seven and ten years. 

But at the end of the day, skills tests predict job success better than years of experience, so companies need to be extremely careful when writing “years of experience” requirements because they might miss some great potential in the talent pool. 

If you’re hiring a person for a bookkeeping role in your company, then ask a bookkeeper to help you craft a perfect, precise job description. That way, you can exclude all the unnecessary parts from the job description and only include things that candidates really need for the job. 

Ask for a video response

Asking for a video response is a great way to filter unqualified candidates early in the process. 

Given how easy it is to apply for jobs today, most candidates can apply for an open position with just a couple of clicks. But how can you filter out the serious candidates who have studied your company from the ones who have applied only as a long shot? 

The answer might be video responses. Ask candidates a question early in the hiring process, and have them answer in a video format. The first benefit of this method is that it will immediately filter out candidates who are not serious, and the hiring process will end for them. 

Secondly, you can use the video responses you receive from the candidates to gauge more than just their response to the question. With a video, you can see the candidate’s energy levels, motivation, and a little bit of their personality and character.

The candidate’s video can have a completely different impact depending on whether they speak quietly or loudly, whether they have a white background or are out in nature, or whether they show charisma or don’t really seem accustomed to communicating their ideas.

TestGorilla’s pre-employment assessments have a video response feature, and you can even create your own questions with it. 

Use pre-employment skills tests 

One of the best ways to filter out unqualified candidates is by giving them pre-employment skills tests

Someone comes to the interview and has written in their CV that they know how to code in JavaScript? Give them a JavaScript test. The same rule applies if they claim that they are proficient in the Dutch language or that they’re an excellent communicator

You can verify all of this quite quickly with a pre-employment skills test. The best thing about these tests is that they’re time- and cost-effective, you can use them at scale, and they quickly filter out unqualified candidates. 

Why sift through hundreds of resumes to find a proficient Norwegian speaker when you can just give your candidates a test and have the results in only ten minutes?

Check references

Did you know around half of businesses have had experiences with candidates who wrote lies on their resumes? According to a survey done by the Hedd degree verification and fraud service, 49% of large businesses and 48% of subject-matter experts have encountered candidates who lied about their degrees on their resumes. 

This is why a reference check is a tried and tested method to filter out unqualified candidates.

When you have a candidate in front of you with their resume, you don’t know if they actually have the skill set or experience that they have written down. So to verify the information, you should conduct a reference check for the candidates you shortlist. 

A reference check provides you with some basic information, like the candidate’s employment history, the role they had at their previous job(s), their level of education, and their credentials. But sometimes, that’s more than enough to see if all the information the candidate gave to you checks out.

Beware of red flags when doing reference checks. If you only receive stellar comments about the candidate, or there are inconsistencies in the details provided, you might want to perform a deeper inspection and even obtain a criminal background check.

Use a collaborative hiring process

As a recruiter, it’s impossible to be a subject-matter expert for every single position in your company. That’s why using a collaborative hiring process might really help with filtering unqualified candidates. 

When you use a collaborative hiring process, you’re including members of the team the candidate will join if they are hired for the position. And these team members know the most about what the job will entail. 

Not only that, they’re invested in actively seeking out the best possible candidate to work with them on their team, not just the candidate with the best technical skillset. They are looking for someone who can fit in the team, is right for the team’s culture, can add to their diversity, and can complement their strengths instead of showing their weaknesses. 

So when hiring a candidate, make sure that you use the collaborative hiring process, as the existing team members can help you see things that you might miss. 

Have a set of cultural values you hire for

It’s no longer enough to only find a person who fits the open role in terms of their technical skillset. If you want to find a candidate who will be reliable, be a good fit for your company, and stay loyal to it while working toward its mission alongside others in the company, they will need to be the right culture fit.

It’s really hard to work with people who don’t share your values, and a poor value alignment can cause a lot of problems in the workplace. Some companies even have a “no as**ole” rule at their workstations. 

Toxic behavior in the workplace can have a host of negative effects, from loss of productivity to absenteeism to poor employee health and even damage to the company’s reputation. 

So when you’re hiring a candidate, make sure that you also have a set of cultural values that you hire for. 

Use a mix of behavioral and situational questions in the interviews

After you have filtered out candidates with pre-employment tests, video responses, and reference checks, now it’s time for interviews. 

You should use a mix of behavioral and situational questions in interviews to find out if your candidate is the perfect fit for the open role.

Behavioral questions can help you figure out how your candidate has behaved in the past in certain situations in which they had to implement many different skills—from soft skills, such as conflict resolution and communication, to the hard skills that they require to do their job. 

When asking situational questions, look for indications of creativity, persuasion, and emotional intelligence in the candidate. These are some of the most wanted skills in an employee today.

Filter unqualified candidates to find the best one

We have covered the seven surefire ways to filter unqualified candidates in today’s business world. As a recruiter, you receive hundreds of resumes, and you need a cost- and time-effective way to go through all of them and find the best candidate.Pre-employment tests are a quick and easy way to filter out unqualified candidates. If you’re starting your hiring process, you should check out the TestGorilla test library. The library offers you hundreds of pre-employment tests, such as language or software skills tests. Get started today for free and make better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.


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