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Candidate screening

What is candidate screening?

One of the three S's of recruitment that comes after applicants have been sourced from the applicant pool is candidate screening. Screening is the process of evaluating job applications, scanning resumes and selecting suitable candidates that match with the job description. The process of determining whether a candidate is qualified for the role is based on their educational qualifications, experience, and skill sets.  

Despite the advancements in recruitment technology, candidate screening is the most time-intensive process of hiring. On average, the hiring decision takes about 23 hours of screening time. However, due to the narrow window of opportunity on the candidate market, the screening process needs to be considerably reduced to increase candidate retention.  

Candidate screening

How do you conduct the candidate screening process?

The process of candidate screening involves three basic steps - all depending on the role’s minimum and preferred qualifications. These qualifications must be a part of the job description and may cover topics such as:

  • Work experience
  • Educations
  • Skills  
  • Personality traits
  • Competencies

Step 1: Candidate screening based on minimum qualifications

These are the minimum requirements that a candidate must qualify for in order to be able to do the job. An example of a minimum qualification is whether the candidate has a mastery over the language required to execute his role.  

This type of qualification is often quite definitive, because if the candidate has it, then he can move forward. But if he doesn’t, he gets screened out of the process. Candidates that meet the minimum qualifications can move on to the second step of the screening proces.  

Step 2: Candidate screening based on preferred qualifications

Preferred qualifications meet the requirements of the job at a deeper, more qualitative level. For instance, a preferred qualification is whether a candidate has prior experience in a leadership capacity. They are additional and preferable attributes that candidates bring to the table.  

After meeting both minimum and preferred qualifications, they can move on to the shortlisting step of the candidate screening process.

Step 3: Shortlisting candidates based on the both qualifications

Shortlisting candidates for the interview stage depend on your recruitment needs. The general rule of thumb with high volume candidates is that of they meet the minimum qualifications, they move forward tot he interview stage. If the recruitment volume is low, generally only the top few candidates that meet both minimum and preferred qualifications move to the interview process.

Recruiters can determine the number of candidates to be shortlisted using their recruitment conversion rates. Based on on recruiting data, the average recruitment conversion rates are:

  • 12% application to interview
  • 17% interview to offer letter
  • 89% offer letter to acceptance

This means that for every 100 candidate screenings, recruiters need to shortlist 12 candidates to interview, of which 2 will receive an offer later, an 1 will accept the letter, resulting in one successful hire.  

Benefits of candidate screening

Manually screening hundreds or thousands of resumes is a time-consuming administrative activity - a necessary functions that must be fulfilled. Therefore, AI for recruiting, an emerging facet of HR technology, was introduced to meet the needs of recruiters and reduce - or even remove - time consuming activities. The best AI programming is intended to coordinate consistently with the recruiter’s hiring stack so it doesn't upset their workflow nor the candidate’s workflow.  

1. AI-enabled candidate screening

This AI-driven software is designed to integrate with an ATS to automate the candidate screening process. By doing so, AI is changing the role of the recruiter by automating a time-consuming and repetitive task, and allows them to divert their energies towards vetting the shortlisted candidates.  

This intelligent software uses AI to learn the job qualification base on the job description and learns what a good candidate looks like based on historical hiring decisions. It also analyses the current employee database to analyse which candidates progress based on their performance and tenure.  

AI candidate screening software may also learn more about candidates by pooling public data sources about their previous employers as well as their public social media profiles.  

2. High volume management

AI for candidate screening solves the problem high volume management. It does this while computing a whole lot of data ignorer to make accurate decisions about which candidate to move forward to the next stage.  

By automating such a time-consuming task, recruiters can use their time in more valuable ways, whether it’s sourcing, engaging, or interviewing candidates to better determine whether they will be a good fit for the job and the company culture.  

3. Improve quality of hire

Automated candidate screening increases quality of hire by reducing false positives because candidates can’t trick the ATS through keyword stuffing. It also reduces false negatives because candidates with good qualifications no longer slip through the keyword filters.

The candidate screening software learns how to predict the quality of hire by learning about the organisation’s historical hiring decisions and current employee performance.  


With the immense volume of candidate screening tools in the market, it is important to determine the best practices that fits a particular organization before making a decision in selecting an Ai-driven tool. With candidate screening processes, it is important to design a structured method that is a balance of human values and AI abilities, thus driving a successful employer brand and attracting top talent.