A manager revealed that his company had 25,000 applicants for a basic engineering job, but none was considered qualified. What's wrong with this picture?
It would be easy to blame the candidate screening software program utilized by the HR department of the company in question. That is partly right.
But Peter Cappelli, author Why Good People Can't Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It, says that the output of a software program is only as good as the data that is entered into it. Hiring managers don't often take the time to enter the data that will screen in the right way. He says that software programs often toss out perfectly qualified people because the job qualifications are laughably unrealistic or simply not needed for the positions. Some managers will randomly ask for some stat, like "eight years' experience," when all those years aren't really necessary (and, in the case of something like the Cloud, not even possible).
Sometimes the job requirements themselves are poorly written or the hiring manager doesn't take the time to activate or deactivate certain settings in the software itself.
Screening software best practices
If you think moving to a screening app is just about taking an antiquated paper system and simply throwing it online, you'd be wrong. Use the screening app to evaluate criterion in a certain way and then rank the candidates based on a wider range of qualifications.
Think about using some of your existing high performers to fill out job-applicant software questions. If any of them get eliminated early on from consideration you know that something is up. Check the wording of the questions or any settings within the app.
Take advantage of some of the lesser known features of screening software, like notifications for job hunters, letting them know that their application was received. Some even have features that keep candidates updated on their status during the process. Some hiring managers might not care about the candidates' experience but it's a good way to keep your company from getting ripped in some online forum.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.