Cheat Sheet on Vetting IT Candidates

April 04, 2019

Hiring IT professionals sounds as simple as posting job vacancy ads on LinkedIn or Indeed and waiting for job applications to pour in. However, when candidate resumes start to come, most likely you’d feel inundated by the number of candidates to vet. It could be anywhere from tens to hundreds per position.

This being said, when a single job vacancy receives 200 resumes, and 70 to 80 percent of them are unqualified, recruiters often fall into the so-called “screening fatigue.” Identifying less-than-qualified candidates from their resumes alone would require a lot of time and attention.

In this article, we’ll discuss the 11 steps to vetting IT candidates successfully.

1. Be purposeful with the job posting.

As the hiring manager, you’d need to ensure that the job description and the candidate requirements are in alignment. They must be described out clearly to ensure that what the organization expects from a candidate is something that would fit the expectations. This would require an understanding of the various levels of seniority and skill sets relevant to their experiences.

2. Post a job vacancy on your site.

To entice candidates, you’d need to encourage job applications. After posting it on the “careers” page of your company site, you’ll start receiving resumes and cover letters. Be clear about the job descriptions and requirements. If the position requires familiarity with specific tools and platforms, list them too.

3. Candidates apply through an ATS (applicant tracking systems) software.

Connect your job ad with a reputable ATS (applicant tracking systems) cloud-based apps, such as Greenhouse, Newton, Workable, Jobvite, JazzHR, and BambooHR to help filter in candidates with the required skill sets and filter out those who aren’t suitable. The main advantages of using ATS are automating, streamlining, and improving the hiring process, thus improving the time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and quality-of-hire.

4. Screen resume and cover letter.

The next step is screening the resumes and cover letters from candidates who have gone through the automated ATS that served as the gatekeeper. While the automation helps, this part requires in-depth evaluation by the HR staffer and the hiring manager, which consumes many man hours if the number of candidates is higher than expected. And sometimes it could be challenging to discern fraudulent or inflated resumes, which add to the overall time-consuming effort.

5. Review social media accounts.

Once you’ve filtered in the good candidates and evaluated their resumes for specific skills, the next logical step is reviewing their social trails. Start with their social media accounts, so you’d be able to grasp some idea on how they communicate online, as it’s also a part of their personality and communicating style. The preference would be professional and respectful communications.

6. Phone interview.

You’ve screened their resumes and cover letters, and have reviewed their social media accounts. Assuming all look favorable and the skill sets are as expected or even beyond expectation, the following step would be screening by phone. E-mail them to schedule for a good 30 to 45 minutes of a phone interview with each candidate. You can start by introducing the company and what the job entails. The conversation should focus on how the candidate would be able to contribute meaningfully to the position and the company as a whole.

7. Verify credentials.

If the candidate claims to have been graduated from certain certification programs, verify them by contacting the related institutions. For instance, PEGA certified consultants can be easily verified by contacting Pega Academy for their attendance records and passing grades. While this step is frequently overlooked, it’s crucial to painting a more comprehensive picture of the candidate.

8. Coding skill challenge.

Candidates can say that they’re skilled and experienced in certain areas, but when it’s time to show how skillful they are with an actual assignment, the only way to move forward is by doing it well. You’d be surprised at the large percentage, which can be up to 70 to 80 percent, of candidates don’t even start, let alone finish, the coding challenge, despite mentioning that they have years of working experiences in the field.

9. In-person or video interview.

Whenever possible, have the candidate come to the office for a face-to-face interview. If he or she’s not in the vicinity, a video interview with Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangout is another viable option. The main purpose of an in-person or video interview is for the hiring manager to gauge the personality, the communication, and other soft skills of the candidate, including the body language, ability to focus, and emotion snapshot. It ties the resume, the cover letter, and the claimed skill sets together.

10. Reference check.

Once you’re satisfied with the candidate’s overall evaluation result and have confirmed his or her personality traits and other non-technical skills, performing a reference check with past employers would be the subsequent step. You can verify his or her attendance, overall work style, and workplace attitude. Satisfied past employers are likely willing to provide a positive reference for high-performing former employees.

11. Background check.

Depending on the position, a background check can be performed partially or comprehensively. The benefits of conducting a comprehensive background check include uncovering past problems, reducing legal and employment risks, discover fraudulent claims, and past employer success rates. A necessary background check is likely to include Social Security Number scan, county criminal record check, employment history verification, and education verification. Additional checks may consist of a credit check, federal criminal record check, homeland security search, license verification, DMV report, sex offender registry check, statewide criminal records check, and workers compensation history check.

In conclusion, hiring top candidates requires more than merely posting a job vacancy ad on LinkedIn or Indeed. The HR and the hiring manager must be dedicated enough to scan, screen, and vet all the applicants with the latest ATS and using proven hiring methods to ensure a successful hire. Sometimes, it would take weeks or months from start to finish.

If you have limited time and resources, consider using the services of a recruitment solution like Flashii. We’ll screen and vet the most suitable candidates for you within days, not weeks or months.

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