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Screening Questions: Essential Or Waste of Space?
Posted on June 29th 2014
When the time comes to advertise a new vacancy for your business, there are lots of things you need to consider to ensure you get the best candidates applying and you receive relevant, qualified applications that have a genuine interest in your business.
Job title, salary, job description, location – you name it, they can all affect the type of person your advert attracts and the type of candidates that want to apply so it’s worth considering each one carefully.
In addition to all that, there’s another important element you need to consider when it comes to advertising your vacancy – screening questions.
The theory behind screening questions is pretty simple – you create a set of specific questions related to the vacancy that appear when the potential candidate clicks the ‘apply’ button. These questions can range from “Do you have the right to work in the UK?” to “Do you have relevant eCommerce experience” – and are used to effectively ‘screen’ the candidate’s eligibility – the idea being that any unqualified or irrelevant candidates won’t be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions so will be deterred from applying for your vacancy.
Now, as screening questions can help to cut out irrelevant applications, it goes without saying that they can help to save your business time and money – but just like everything else, they come with both pros and cons.
What am I talking about? Well, depending on the advertising platform, setting up screening questions can be extremely complicated, laborious and time consuming – and on top of that, there’s no guarantees they’ll even work. Why? Because unfortunately there’s no lie-detector attached to these questions.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy for a candidate to click ‘yes’ to every screening question that appears, whether they’re being truthful or not. Similarly, other candidates might believe they have an outside chance of securing the job so again, will be determined to apply, regardless of any screening questions you put their way which might suggest otherwise.
With screening questions, you can normally only provide a couple or possible answers – and unfortunately all a candidate has to do is click the right answer to be taken the next stage of the application. There’s nowhere for them to submit proof that they’ve answered these questions truthfully and no platform which allows them to back up their answers.
While screening questions can work to deter the majority of unsuitable candidates from applying, there’s always that small number of unsuitable candidates that will lie and apply anyway – and unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about that.
In terms of whether screening questions are worth the effort, just like everything else with job advertising, it all comes down to your business and individual needs.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, if you’ve got a super niche job and you’re looking for a very particular candidate, screening questions might be worth the effort – particularly if the role is quite senior and you’re looking to deter more junior candidates from applying. However, if the role is pretty standard and you’re not looking for anything extra special or unusual from a candidate, screening questions might not be worth your time and effort.
Think about it; even with screening questions, you’re still going to have to put some time and effort into sorting through applications – because there will always be a couple of irrelevant applications that get sent through – so giving screening questions a miss at the start and using the time you save then to sort through applications properly at the end of the process might be a more effective use of your time and resources.
As ever, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this one. Have you used screening questions and found them to be effective? Or do you think they’re a waste of time and should be scrapped? Leave me a comment below.