Have you ever applied for a job but weren’t successful? Or perhaps you are just curious about what actually goes into candidate screening once you’ve handed in an application? Altogether, there are a great many factors that are taken into consideration by an employer during the recruitment process, all of which not only help to ensure that the right candidate gets the job, but also to streamline the process for everyone involved.
To help with screening, employers often use an initial checklist that can be used to quickly and efficiently establish whether an applicant is a suitable candidate or not. On that list will be a number of desired skills that the prospective employee must have in order to advance to the next round – these typically include the necessary qualifications, accreditations and registrations. If a candidate doesn’t have what they are looking for (what was specified in the job listing) they will be the first to be eliminated from the list of contenders.
The other item that will be on top of the list will be the applicant’s most recent employment, job description and roles and responsibilities on their curriculum vitae to establish whether or not they have the relevant experience for the advertised position. While it isn’t always essential to have done the job before, it certainly helps – so remember, if you meet the specification, don’t sell yourself short when detailing your employment and experiences.
A secondary factor that employers look at is how long a candidate has spent in their previous roles. The reason being that most practices prefer not to take on a job hopper – after all, they don’t want to be advertising the role again a few months down the line. Locality can be another important element that affects a candidate’s suitability, especially if the job is in a rural location or hard to get to.
Besides being useful to have staff that live relatively close by, practices have to consider what would happen in the event of adverse weather conditions and a staff member couldn’t commute to work. If a practice can avoid a situation in which they would lose revenue and custom, they will always examine that option.
Then there are personal qualities and the ability to work as a team player to give thought to – if it goes down to the wire and two candidates are on an even playing field in terms of qualifications and experience, these attributes could be the deciding factor between who is selected to fulfil the position.
However, it is important to remember that no two prospective employers are the same, so there will always be variety in what practices are looking for during their candidate screening process. Some companies, for instance, are very relaxed and will consider interviewing anyone that applies, while others are very selective. As such, you can never assume that you know exactly what they are looking for. Time also changes things, so if a practice was up against the clock to fill a vacancy, they would have to be very choosy about whom they select to attend an interview. Depending on their personal preferences, some employers might choose to conduct phone interviews as well as paper screening and interviewing. Though this can vary depending on whether the vacancy is for a permanent or locum position.
In most cases, practices are willing to start a locum contract based on just a phone interview – as long as the candidate has all the necessary skills, qualifications and registrations, they are compliant and good to go. As such, locum screening and recruitment processes can be much easier than those for permanent roles.
Bearing all this in mind, there are a number of preparations that you can make to boost your chances of success during the screening process.
- Having the right curriculum vitae is the biggest foot in the door, so it is crucial that you spend adequate time ensuring that all the necessary information is included in a clear and concise fashion.
- You must also be sure that you have researched the company and the role thoroughly – and when you’ve done that, research some more. The more prepared you are, the higher up on their list you’ll be.
- Don’t underestimate the role of social media in candidate screening – indeed, 80 per cent of employers will Google an applicant’s name then check them out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So whatever you put online, make sure it’s appropriate.
- Draw on your peers’ experiences for insight and top tips.
- Follow up on your application to confirm that it was received – it will show that you’re proactive and enthusiastic about the role.
- Post interview, it can help to contact the employer thanking them for their time and to send a further letter of interest to the practice.
- Employ the services of a specialist recruitment agency such as Dental Elite for expert advice, support and to act as an intermediary between yourself and the employer.
To maximise your chances of success, make sure you prepare for the candidate screening process – the rest is in the employer’s hands!