passive candidates

6 best tips for hiring passive candidates

passive candidates

One of the main challenges that recruiters face is that most ideal candidates already have a job. They are not present in the job market, and the traditional way of inviting job applications is not enough to hire them. These are the passive candidates, and they have become the talk of the town. And for a good reason.

A study found that passive candidates tend to perform better. They also tend to stay with an organisation for a longer duration. 

What are passive candidates?

Passive candidates are the ones who are not actively looking for a job change. They are currently employed and perhaps, satisfied in the current workplaces. They may not be visiting job websites or looking for a job on social media. 

However, they form a major chunk of the talent pool. As per a survey by Linkedin, 70% of the global workforce is comprised of passive candidates. The remaining 30% is not always enough to find the ideal candidates. 

There are some specific instances when recruiters want to look at this category of candidates. For example, when an organisation is trying their hands at something new. In such situations, the best way forward is to onboard experienced minds for higher chances of success.

Passive candidates are also considered to be better hires for leadership roles or mission-critical positions.

How can recruiters hire passive candidates?

Organisations cannot hire passive candidates overnight. It is a long-drawn process which requires a carefully-drawn method and continuous efforts in that direction.

Passive candidates can be categorised into two buckets. The ones who are content in their current jobs, and the ones who are not so. The latter category is more accessible and simpler to hire. Here are 6 tips to hire passive candidates –

1. Build a strong employer brand

An employer brand is the way candidates perceive an organisation as an employer. It may include the way a company values its employees, offers opportunities and invests in their growth. From the organisation’s point of view, it is the set of activities that makes them the employer of choice. 

Building a strong employer brand can deliver exceptional results for an organisation. Apart from attracting talent, it is also instrumental in retaining the current workforce. Thus, it should always be a top priority for the HR departments.

Since the passive candidates are not looking for a job change, they may respond coldly to your calls regarding job openings. However, a strong employer brand may motivate them to listen and consider your proposition. Usually, they would like to associate themselves with organisations that resonate their values and beliefs. 

To begin with, you may want to relook at your mission and vision statements. These two things define your organisation’s working style and the way of doing business. It is what all the employees breathe and talk about when they are in the office.

The next step is to align all the employee-related policies and activities to your mission and vision statements. It may include everything from pay packages to the culture to promotions.

Doing good work is not always enough. In today’s time, it is also crucial to spread the word. Apart from putting up on your careers website, you can use different social media channels to your advantage. However, there are no better message-bearers than your employees. They can help you in marketing your narrative like nothing else.

To get them on board, have your CXO’s lead the message. Apart from bringing better engagement, it will help in garnering more trust from your employees. Make sure certain phrases that reflect your employer branding like integrity, merit, community service etc. become a part of the company’s vernacular. 

Lastly, have your employees speak about you on their social media accounts. Showcase their talent and expertise by encouraging them to speak at conferences and public events. When you do this, they will feel more valued and become more loyal to the organisation. As this happens, they will gradually spread a good word about you in their social circles.

2. Understand your current and future staffing needs

Connections play a crucial role in hiring passive candidates. However, these relationships are not built overnight. As a recruiter, you need to keep a tab on the talent in the market and work on building long-lasting relationships.

The number of passive candidates in the market can be huge. For successful hiring, you will need to adopt a focussed approach to attract the right kind of candidates. 

To do this, it may help to assess your current and future staffing needs. The best way would be to have ongoing discussions with the hiring managers and the leaders to anticipate the skills gap. For instance, your organisation in the technology sector could be planning to venture into digital transformation. In that case, you will need the right talent to carry it on. 

Another effective way to identify your target pool of candidates is mapping the structures of your competitors. 

3. Locate passive candidates

This step is perhaps the most significant one in the process of hiring candidates who are not looking for jobs. To source these candidates, you will have to go where they go and do what they do. For instance, you may have to visit networking events and join webinars that they are attending. 

It is best to adopt a multi-pronged approach and make use of other channels to source passive candidates. 

  • Social media channels – Professional networking sites are perhaps the best places to know about and connect with passive candidates. You can take professional packages to source them. For instance, Linkedin offers different packages to help you source the right candidates. Moreover, it is an effective platform for promoting your employer brand. Apart from creating your own employer page, you can also ask your employees to share the content on their personal pages.
  • Employee referrals – CareerBuilder found that employee referrals deliver the best ROIs amongst all other sourcing strategies. 

    Designing and implementing employee referral schemes is not as easy as posting jobs on job boards. It has to be a well-thought process with each step clearly stated for everyone’s understanding. Moreover, it requires approval from senior management so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Technology – As passive candidates will hit your careers website, you will need a stronger way to engage them. They may not be comfortable connecting with a recruiter in the early stages of the hiring process. However, they may still have several questions about the job or the organisation.

You can leverage technology to share the right information and provide answers to their queries. With the upcoming Job discovery bot from Impress, you will be able to engage with the visitors of your careers website. Apart from providing the required information, the bot will also be able to analyse if the visitor is a potential candidate and can also share the relevant job openings with them.

4. Engage the candidates 

It won’t be wrong to say that relation-building is the foundation of hiring passive candidates. These talented people are not looking for jobs, and convincing them is going to take a lot more than attractive pay packages. 

The recruiters need to look at it from a long-term perspective. To start, you can send email messages, send texts or initiate conversations on social media platforms. However, nothing works as well as picking your phone and having a warm yet professional conversation with them. Remember they are not actively looking for a job and could be cold in their response at first. At this point, it is essential to allow them to move at their pace. 

If you are sending emails, try to keep them personal, short and catchy. If you write a generic email, they may shun it as another spam and even unsubscribe.

As you write or call them, remember that a little sincere flattery never hurt anyone. Do not share all the details in the first conversation. Instead, ask them if they would be keen in any upcoming positions that may open up in the next couple of months.

5. Involve the hiring manager

There are good chances that you may have limited knowledge of the role in consideration. If you come across an exceptionally talented candidate, involve the hiring managers for further discussions. The hiring managers may be able to sell the position more realistically. Moreover, the hiring managers may also offer a bigger role as they fit.

6. The interview and offer

Finally, make the application and the interview process easy for the passive candidates. They are not eagerly looking out for a job change, and a sour experience may disengage them forever. 

Similarly, at the time of making the final offer, understand the candidate’s expectations. Try not to offer something that the candidate may decline straightaway. Similarly, do not make the job change sound like a lateral move. Instead, offer something bigger that may be a better move for their career. 


Passive candidates comprise a significant portion of the talent pool. Hiring them is essential for filling the skill gaps and enhancing the overall talent capability.

unconscious bias

8 ways to reduce unconscious bias in hiring

unconscious bias

In these competitive times, organisations strive to stay ahead by building a talented workforce. The recruiters seek to approach passive candidates and onboard the best employees. However, their efforts are often mired by unconscious bias in hiring. If left unchecked, this unconscious bias can paralyse all recruitment efforts. 

There is a lot of talk around workplace diversity in today’s world. And for good reasons. Firstly, a heterogeneous workforce can add to the skills and capabilities of an organisation. Secondly, it can enhance the employer branding of a company. As diverse candidates apply to open positions, the talent pool widens. That, in turn, allows hiring the best of the best. Lastly, diversity boosts innovation and revenue.

However, all the efforts of recruiting a diverse workforce can get wasted due to unconscious bias. 

What is unconscious bias in hiring?

It refers to the judgements that are automatically made when meeting a candidate. One can say that it is the outcome of first impressions and gut feelings. 

More often than not, it is the result of one’s past associations, beliefs, experiences and culture. This bias comes so naturally that people may not even realise what they are doing. For instance, hiring managers often hire a person who they think will be a good fit in their team outings. However, such decisions can lead to grave imbalances in the hiring process. 

This bias in hiring can be two types – negative and positive. In the latter form, the mind forms positive associations. For instance, the hiring manager may prefer to hire from a particular university. However, all the graduates from there may not be equally talented. On the other hand, a negative bias is when the mind dislikes something on the resume. A classic example is not hiring women in certain functions or positions. 

Checking and preventing this bias in hiring is crucial for three reasons. Firstly, to give an equal chance to everyone. Secondly, to be fair and inclusive while evaluating a candidate. Lastly, and most importantly, to stop workplace discrimination.  

How to reduce unconscious bias in hiring?

At times, organisations need to take a step back and relook at the current state of things. Here are 8 ways to remove unconscious bias in hiring.

1. Have conversations around bias in hiring

As the name suggests, people are not aware that they are a party to unconscious bias. To start, organisations need to start having discussions around it. Creating awareness programs and educating the employees about hiring bias is one way of doing this. 

More often than not, people responsible for hiring do not know what biases are. They are not aware of the fact that they are creating irregularities in hiring due to their preferences. Unless there is a conversation, there is no way to contain it. 

One cannot deny the value of first impressions during interviews. However, it is crucial to differentiate it from preconceived biases. The hiring managers need to take chances beyond these first impressions. For instance, an introvert who takes time to connect may be excellent at the job. 

Of course, it will take significant time and effort for people to separate facts from emotions. Talking about it is the first step that companies can take.

2. Mandate structured interviews

Unstructured interviews can often go in undesirable directions. Moreover, they lead to inconsistent interviews. The interviewers may not give a fair and equal chance to everyone. 

To remove bias in hiring, it is necessary to have a standard interview process. The recruiters can design a set of questions for evaluating the candidates. Of course, the interviewers can build up on the answers to probe.

It is also essential to educate the interviewers to focus on KPIs while assessing the candidates. This step can minimise their biases from the process. 

The recruiters can also work on a scorecard to log the performance of the candidates. A scorecard can be immensely useful in removing bias in hiring. As the interviewers score the candidates on various parameters, it will bring in more objectivity. Also, it can help in comparing the performances of multiple candidates and making better decisions.

3. Adopt collaborative hiring

Leaving the decision to hire employees on one person can cripple the hiring process. To recruit people from all walks of life, embrace a collaborative approach. Diversity will breed diversity.

When there are several people involved, the hiring outcome will be more diverse. Inter-departmental interviews can also help in hiring culturally-fit candidates.

However, it is advisable to not over-complicate the interview process. Having too many rounds may put off the candidates. 

4. Relook at the job descriptions

Words have equal power to destroy as they have to build relationships. Most people in the corporate world choose their words and language carefully. Apart from avoiding any confusions, it saves them from unpleasant situations. 

The words in the job descriptions can convey a lot about how an organisation values diversity. Are the recruiters unwittingly mentioning age or gender in the job descriptions? If yes, they could be putting off more candidates than they can imagine. 

It is advisable to make the JDs as inclusive as possible. Proof-read them for any mention of age or stereotypical words that imply a specific gender. For instance, women may not like words such as ‘competitive’ or ‘salesman’. Replacing them with ‘collaborative’ and ‘salesperson’ will make a greater impact.

5. Remove bias from the shortlisting process

One cannot remove bias in hiring if the shortlisting process allows demographic differences. The best way to do this is by blinding the personal information of the candidates. It may be tough to implement if the recruiters scan the resumes manually.

Automating the shortlisting process is a foolproof way of achieving this. When software evaluates candidates, it focuses more on the relevant skills. 

Impress offers an effective solution to shortlist qualified candidates while removing bias in hiring. The chatbot uses preset questions to evaluate the candidates to the next round. It is based on the concepts of data intelligence and machine learning. Thus, it only scores the candidates on their skills and experience required for the job.

Moreover, Impress uses a system where it assigns unique numbers to identify the candidates instead of displaying the names. Hence, the chances of aligning with the biases of the recruiters are zilch. 

6. Use work samples and simulations

Interviews can never assess the true potential of candidates. A lot depends upon how the meeting goes. For instance, a qualified candidate could be having a bad day and may not answer well. 

Sample tests allow the interviewers to predict how the candidates will perform in their jobs. Moreover, these tests can bring objectivity into the hiring process and remove all biases. Additionally, hiring managers can compare candidates and make better decisions.

However, it is crucial to use only scientifically validated tests. Unvalidated tests can lead to more biases than the ones in the system. 

7. Make diversity an organisational priority

How can organisations ensure that they have removed bias in hiring? One can always go to the good old route of data cuts to assess the success of diversity initiatives. 

How can organisations align hiring managers and recruiters with the diversity goals? The best way is to give diversity targets. By doing this, one is consciously pushing the interviewers to meet people who do not belong to their preferred circle. They may be uncomfortable at first. However, meeting and talking to a diverse set of people may open them up to a new world of possibilities.

To make it more clear, organisations can give them targets to hire from minorities, women and people of varied age groups.

8. Widen the reach

Organizations need to assess if they are limiting their scope by advertising jobs at only a few places. When recruiters do not diversify ads, they may not be able to achieve diversity in their talent pool. For instance, hiring from universities that they haven’t visited in the past can allow them to meet better candidates.

Recruiters can also educate their managers to hire for transferable skills. It will enhance the overall capability of the organisation. In current times, technology changes quickly. Thus, it may help to hire for agility as opposed to specific skills. When the hiring managers do this, they also create an ecosystem where the candidates can apply for diverse roles. And we all know the benefits of hiring from within the system.

Most companies have similar irregularities in their hiring systems. As organisations think differently and take such steps, they could also enjoy the first-mover advantage.  

Can one truly remove unconscious bias from the organisation?

As the name suggests, hiring managers are not aware that they are biased in making hiring decisions. Giving them targets can get the ball rolling. However, there is no sure shot way to eradicate it from the system. It is important to start somewhere. Have constant conversations and educate the employees. When they acknowledge it, they will take steps to contain it.

digital candidate experience

How to enhance candidate experience during COVID-19?

digital candidate experience

WHO, in a statement, has said that coronavirus is here to stay and we will have to learn to live with the virus. In view of this, several countries are lifting lockdowns and opening up their economies. As everyone is adjusting to a new normal, organisations are also embracing new working styles. However, running their business, as usual, is not going to be as simple. It will come with unique challenges and problems. For instance, a good candidate experience will be a new learning curve for the recruiters.

Several tech giants have welcomed the remote working culture. They have even announced their plans of making it permanent. Most other organisations are contemplating a longer duration of work from home. In this scenario, virtual recruitment is going to become the norm. Due to this, recruitment teams will have to revise their strategies. They will have to work on enhancing their remote working capabilities.

In the past, positive candidate experience has helped the recruiters in attracting top talent. Recruiters have worked hard and deployed tools to ensure a seamless experience to the candidates. If there is one thing that can make or break a candidate’s decision to join an organisation, it is this.

What is the candidate experience?

In simple words, it is the perception that an applicant builds during the hiring process. It is the perception of how an organisation treats its employees, and a peek into the company’s culture. It includes everything right from the job application process to interviews to onboarding. The candidates tend to link their time as a future employee to this experience.

If they are content with their hiring experience, their chances to join the organisation increases. Even if the interaction doesn’t result in a job offer, it leaves a positive impression on them. Linkedin found in a survey that 64% of candidates who had a good experience would take their relationship ahead – despite not getting a job.

Why is the candidate experience important during COVID 19?

These are tough and uncertain times for everyone. Candidates may not be keen on taking chances with their career. They may want to stick with their current jobs where they have proved themselves. They will prefer security over uncertainty. Given the high anxiety and stress of people, recruiters will have to go an extra mile. They will have to work hard to engage passive talent. They will have to work even harder to convince them to join. 

With a seamless candidate experience and frequent communication, attracting talent may become easier.

4 Steps to enhance candidate experience during COVID-19

1. Communicate and keep in touch 

Strong communication was always essential for ensuring a positive experience. It will become even more crucial now and will probably be the single most criteria for getting candidates to join. In these unpredictable times, no one wants to wait to know the hiring status. They want more transparency and clarity. 

Here are a few ways to resolve this.

  • Partner with the PR team of your organisation to ensure that the right communication is sent out. For instance, if your organisation is planning to hire, send out a clear message about it. Moreover, make sure that this is done across channels and media. When the organisation sends a consistent message, it leaves a lasting impact.
  • Ensure there is a strong communication plan to keep the candidates in the loop. It means informing them even if they are not selected for the position. They will appreciate your honesty much more than waiting and chasing you for status updates. 

    Secondly, be thoughtful about the candidates and express your empathy. Try to engage them with conversations beyond work. For instance, you can ask them how they are dealing with the COVID situation. 
  • If you are a large organisation or are planning to recruit in large numbers, you will need to automate the communication. It may not be possible to share the updates manually with all the candidates. Secondly, the team of recruiters may not be able to send out a consistent message. 

Technology can help in resolving this situation. The chatbot offered by Impress can enhance the candidate experience by manifolds. Firstly, it can answer all kinds of candidate queries in real-time. It can become one common resource to provide all kinds of information. For instance, it can provide the right answers relating to work culture or the job position. 

With the presence of this feature, candidates won’t have to wait for the recruiter to answer their phone call.

Secondly, it can share regular status updates with the candidates. This feature will ensure that the candidates know what’s happening instead of waiting for the recruiters to get back. They will receive the communication directly in their mailbox.

2. Change your recruitment process for candidates’ safety

In the near future, the old tradition of face to face interviews will not be feasible. All organisations will have to revamp their hiring process and move to digital hiring. It will ensure the safety of both the employees as well as the applicants. 

As crucial as it is to adapt to a new life, it is equally vital to inform the candidates about this change. Firstly, they are not used to digital interviews. Even the tenured ones may feel anxious before their video interviews. 

To alleviate their concerns, share the complete details of your interview process. Send a list of dos’ and don’ts’ to win brownie points. They will appreciate your efforts and even learn some crucial aspects of video interviews that they may have missed. 

The platform offered by Impress can conduct the first level of screening. It can interview the candidates and ensure that only the qualified ones move to the next round. It helps in improving the employer branding as there are no chances of mismatch between the candidate’s skills and the job. Moreover, it can be integrated with all the leading video interview platforms to provide a seamless experience to the candidates.

3. Empathise and add a human touch to the hiring process

The world needs more empathy at this point. Your applicants are no different. The best way to empathise with them is to think like them. Be empathetic if they want to postpone their interview dates. Maybe their anxiety is getting the better of them. As recruiters, you may have to become more flexible to accommodate their requests.

The best way to build a human connection is by talking to them on the phone. Emotions can get lost in emails and text. Let them know when you will be available so that they can call. Send out a positive message and encourage them to ask questions. They may have fears about job security in the current times. This simple act from you will go a long way in delivering a positive candidate experience. 

4. Make onboarding effective

During these virtual times, onboarding new employees can be challenging. Earlier, face-to-face meetings and casual conversations would give employees a taste of the company culture. Moreover, they could walk up to their colleagues and get instant resolutions to their queries. Due to remote working, understanding a company’s processes and way of doing things may become more difficult. Make it your priority to resolve these challenges.

Collect all the pictures and videos that you have of team meetings, outings and events. You can also ask your employees to share this material to make an interesting deck for the new employees. 

To provide a smooth onboarding experience, you will have to move your onboarding online. Did you have a one-day induction program that introduced the new employees to various policies and processes? You can make it a virtual program with live video sessions. Make sure that you keep it as interactive as possible. 

Of course, you can share all the necessary documents but letting the employees explore may spoil their onboarding. Instead, assign a successful team to walk them through and answer their queries. Assigning a buddy will also be helpful in the current scenario. Also, give them a virtual tour of your office to make the bond stronger. 

Finally, encourage the current employees to have informal conversations with the new joiners. It will foster a healthy environment, and they will get to know each other. If your onboarding process involved a team lunch, ask them to have a virtual lunch for better integrations. Ask them to dedicate the last five minutes of their calls for an informal talk and personal updates.

The goal is to make the welcome special so that the new employees feel valued from day one.

Final thoughts

The coronavirus has disrupted our usual way of doing things. While remote hiring is new for everyone, all organisations are trying their best. While some initiatives may fail, several others will succeed. A few companies are sharing their learning for others’ benefit. You can pick up clues from what others are doing to give candidates a positive experience. 

How to digitise your graduate recruitment program?

Graduate recruitment is a crucial part of a firm’s hiring strategy. As employees move to higher positions or leave, several roles become vacant. Organisations prefer to fill these roles with young graduates for several reasons.

Why is graduate recruitment important for organisations?

Young blood helps organisations stay relevant and connect better with the new-age customers. Fresh graduates inject vigour and new ideas into their system. Moreover, this young workforce is enthusiastic and ambitious. They are eager to start their careers, participate and contribute. 

Graduates are adaptable. Organisations can mould them as per their culture and requirements. They are savvy and have spent a long time learning the latest technology and skills. As they blend into the existing workforce, they can pass their knowledge to others.

Organisations are perennially seeking leaders. With a long term view, organisations can groom promising graduates and prepare them for future roles. Graduates who get the right opportunities tend to stick with their first organisations. 

Lastly, filling the vacant roles with fresh graduates is a cost-efficient hiring strategy.

How do organisations hire graduates?

Most firms have an elaborate graduate recruitment program. It comprises of campus visits and exhibitions at career fairs. These visits are followed by the selection process, which generally includes case studies, group discussions and interviews. 

Graduate recruitment plans also entail campus branding strategies. Large organisations normally have a separate team to manage campus recruitment. This team engages promising students through a host of activities during the academic year. Campus talks, competitions and internship placements to engage the students.

The new age workforce is a demanding segment when it comes to choosing their employers. They have strong opinions about the way they view their career. They want to associate with organisations that have a similar vision and mission.

To click with these young minds, companies have a separate onboarding program for the graduates. It often includes outbound and inbound activities. Meetings with business heads, buddy programs and a comprehensive training plan are some of the initiatives of graduate onboarding.

How has the COVID-19 impacted graduate recruitment?

The current pandemic of coronavirus has brought the world to a grinding halt. With restrictions on mass gatherings and movements, there seems no end in sight. At least, until a cure is made available to the masses.

With the financial disruption caused due to the current pandemic, one may expect graduate recruitment to slow down. However, an analogy with the 2008 recession reveals that it may not be the case. Sectors like retail, supply chains, IT, and healthcare will still want to hire young employees. 

Moreover, most companies are putting out statements that they do not view any imminent changes in their graduate recruitment numbers.

In this scenario, graduate recruitment in its traditional form, will not suffice. It is also not known if classes will resume on the campuses. Even if they do, there are fewer possibilities for companies visiting colleges.

Given the situation, adapting to a digitalised hiring process is the need of the hour.

What are the best practices for digitising graduate recruitment?

In the wake of COVID-19, employers have been agile and swift in their response. With almost all functions working from home, we are witnessing a significant transformation in the working style. 

Most organisations have already moved to digital recruitment and selection processes. However, graduate recruitment requires a specific focus on certain areas. Here is how to go about it.

Virtual Screening and shortlisting

Meeting the students in person makes it easier for visiting managers to make the hiring decision. Group discussions are also a crucial part of the campus hiring programs. It allows the managers to assess candidates on skills like communication, leadership, conflict management and negotiation. Moreover, case studies help in understanding their technical expertise and problem resolution capabilities.

In the current scenario, HR teams can use tools like recruitment chatbots to screen and shortlist the candidates. Impress is one such AI-powered tool that comes with several features. Let’s look at them in detail.

  1. Impress allows the recruiters to set their selection criteria. Moreover, they can give weightage to different aspects such as GPA, industry projects and various other aspects. The chatbot can evaluate the students based on their answers and filter the qualified candidates.

  2. The recruiters get an option to move the candidates to the next evaluation stage if they meet the qualification criteria.

  3. Impress can connect with third-party tools for behavioural and sentimental assessments.
  4. Impress can also connect with third-party automated video assessment tools. These video assessment platforms allow the recruiters to feed the interview questions. Some of them also evaluate the candidates on their body language and communication skills. 

  5. Lastly but most importantly, graduates often hesitate in asking direct questions related to salary, roles, culture etc. Impress chatbot can resolve this problem by answering such sensitive questions. Candidates will be more comfortable to direct these queries to a chatbot rather than a recruiter.

Virtual interviews

The shortlisting process can be followed by video discussions. However, it may help to take an empathetic approach while evaluating the graduates. A video interview is a new practice, and the pressure of fewer jobs may make them nervous. Organisations can send communication regarding video interview etiquettes to alleviate their fears. The recruiters can set the tone of the interview by addressing their worries at the start of the interview. Such little things can go a long way in enhancing the candidate experience.


As the graduates will be joining the virtual workforce, HR teams will have to change their induction programs. Full-day classroom training will become a thing of the past. So will a multi-week induction program.

However, the HR teams will still have to ensure that the new joiners get an elevated experience. One way is to provide free access to all information and policies. Secondly, buddy programs will allow the graduates to observe the culture and workplace practices more closely. Lastly, virtual tours of the office spaces can create a sense of attachment. Gamification of the induction process is also an idea worth exploring. 

Making them a part of the daily meetings and regular check-ins can help them come up to speed. Cross-functional webinars will help them understand the organisational structure and interdependencies.

Connecting the employees on an internal social platform will allow them to ask questions. The new joiners can discuss their problem statements with the more experienced colleagues.

The candidates will have a myriad of questions regarding their joining dates and confirmation of jobs. Constant communication will engage the candidates and send a message that they are being taken care of.

Employer Branding

With a limitation on campus visits, organisations will find it hard to create a buzz amongst the students. Here is how HR teams can attract students through a virtual strategy. 

  1. Large scale virtual contests can engage students and expose them to the corporate world through real-time case studies.
  2. Video footage of the existing employees about their experience can leave a lasting impression on young minds.
  3. There will be a surge of video interview practise tools. If the organisation has such capabilities, they can offer such platforms or products to help the students.
  4. Organisations can offer their internal library and knowledge resources to enhance students’ learning.
  5. Companies can team up to organise virtual career fairs to attract the students and inform them about their roles.
  6. In a normal situation, candidates get to meet the recruiters who can address their queries. Impress platform that can manage these aspects in the current scenario. Recruiters can enable the platform to take questions about culture, growth prospects and career trajectories. 

Imparting skills

Onboarding is generally the time when new joiners learn and pick up skills from their colleagues. Due to the physical distance between employees, it will become tougher to bring the new joiners up to speed.

To accelerate this process, organisations can partner with virtual academies. They can offer courses relevant to their roles and positions. Apart from this, several Ivy League colleges are offering free courses at this time. The HR teams can work together with the hiring managers to identify the right courses for this segment. 


Graduate recruitment in 2020 is going to witness a significant transformation. It will be challenging for organisations to attract the youngest entrants of the workforce. 

However, digitising graduate recruitment can be a way for organisations to ensure that their graduate programs are not on lockdown in 2020.

How can leaders resolve recruitment challenges during COVID-19?

tips for leaders to resolve recruitment challenges.

If there is one thing that the current pandemic of COVID-19 has taught us, it is that the show must go on. The world is following social distancing, implementing lockdowns and restricting travel. In this scenario, organisations are finding new ways to carry their operations as usual. This situation has brought several recruiter challenges to the already high-pressure job of recruitment. Hiring has traditionally been a high-human-interaction job and thrives on face-to-face conversations. 

Due to the impact of COVID-19, recruitment will slow down in some industries. However, online shopping giants, retail stores, technology and healthcare will see a spike in their hiring numbers. In other sectors, recruiters may still have to close the open positions. They may still have to prepare a pipeline for critical positions.

This phase of COVID-19 is also a good time for leaders to reset their recruitment functions. It is an opportunity when they can prepare their teams to work in a virtual environment. It will help the teams to traverse the physical boundaries and even lower the costs in the long run. Moreover, it will bring more flexibility to the hiring process and engage more candidates.

Let’s look at a possible action plan that recruitment functions can adapt to manage recruitment challenges.

Prioritise the tasks at hand

The COVID-19 pandemic was so sudden that nobody could prepare for it. Organisations had to move their operations to the virtual environment almost overnight. Recruiters can manage the situation effectively by targeting the immediate tasks at hand. For instance, they can prioritise the candidates who are set to join shortly. As the future is still unclear, holding their onboarding to an indefinite time is also not an option. Moreover, there must be candidates who were far ahead in the interviewing process. The line managers could still be keen on hiring and onboarding them at the earliest. 

Leaders can enhance the output of their recruitment functions by addressing these recruitment challenges. 

Equip the recruiters to work from home

If the recruiters have never worked from home before, they may not be prepared to do so. To begin with, they may not have the right wifi setup and other tools. A few companies are offering allowances to address such recruitment challenges. The team leaders can share tutorials to help the recruiters maintain their productivity when working from home. They can also ask the recruiters to take breaks as the boundaries between personal and professional life may start to blur.

The time also demands organisations to be sensitive to the needs of their employees. For instance, recruiters may have children at home who may need attention during the day. The team leaders can offer time slots so that they can give equal attention to their personal needs. 

Lastly, recruiters thrive on human interaction and conversations. This sudden lull of activity and social distancing can get to them. The team leaders can encourage their teams to stay connected. Apart from frequent calls, offline IM thread, sharing personal pictures, virtual pizza parties can help in engaging the team.

Conducting video interviews

One of the main recruitment challenges is moving to video interviews. Recruiters and line managers are used to meeting candidates in person for most hiring positions. It is during these interviews that they have evaluated candidates and made their hiring decisions in the past. They are not going to be comfortable with virtual hiring overnight. 

In light of this, recruiters may have to unlearn and relearn a few aspects of interviewing. Team leaders can start by encouraging recruiters to take an empathetic approach. All the rules of in-person interviews may not apply for video interviews. There are good chances that candidates are also not comfortable with the distance. Moreover, they may not have a disturbance-free environment for interviews. With a sensitive outlook, recruiters can resolve these challenges more efficiently.

The team leaders can also share the best practices of video interviews with their teams. Additionally, the recruiters can be encouraged to share their learnings on a common platform. Apart from engaging them, it will help in fostering a long-term virtual hiring culture in the organisation.

Work closely with hiring managers

Building better relationships with hiring managers is a crucial part of a recruiter’s life. The new situation of COVID-19 demands them to collaborate even more than before. Hiring managers may not be comfortable with interviewing people remotely. They may need hand-holding and some encouragement from the recruiters. 

Hiring managers can also play a crucial role in the acceptance of offers. Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, candidates may not be willing to leave their current jobs. The hiring managers can take them in confidence and assure them of job security.

Leveraging technology

In the absence of walk-in interviews and job fairs, volume recruitment can add to recruiter challenges. COVID-19 may have also affected the plans of visiting campuses for hiring freshers. Even if the organisations cut these numbers by half, the recruiter could still be up against a huge challenge. They may have to spend several days doing what could have been achieved in one or two days. Moreover, their follow-ups and manual tasks can increase by manifolds.

To overcome these problems, leaders can evaluate technology-powered tools. For instance, recruitment chatbots can substantially reduce the efforts of recruiters. Moreover, they can enhance the output of the hiring process, both quantitatively and qualitatively. 

Recruiters have to spend a lot of time answering calls and queries of candidates. Recruitment chatbots can be programmed to manage these questions. Their most useful feature is that they can be used to conduct the first level of assessment. Recruiters can feed interview questions into the chatbots. As the candidates apply to the open position, the chatbots will administer the questions. Impress’s recruitment chatbot is an intuitive platform. Many organizations use the platform for remote recruitment and for creation of virtual graduate recruitment experiences.

Positive candidate experience

Maintaining a good candidate experience is one of the recruiter’s challenges that need priority during COVID-19. In-person meetings can have positive influences on the candidate. However, at a time when every conversation is going to be virtual, it is going to be hard.

The fundamental rules of a positive candidate experience will remain the same. There could be some candidates who would have entered the recruitment funnel just before this pandemic. It is advisable to inform them of any changes in your hiring plans. The recruiters can ensure a positive experience by adapting an empathetic approach. For instance, overlook the appearances of kids or pets during the interview.

These simple steps may seem unnecessary now but will reap results in the long run.


A survey by Glassdoor found that positive onboarding experience can improve retention by 82%. Maintaining the same level of onboarding experience is going to be challenging in these times. However, there are a few steps that the recruiters can take to deliver the best in this situation.

  • Ensure that the IT accesses, usernames, emails etc. are configured before the day of joining.
  • A new employee is going to have several queries and will need resources to understand the processes and systems. The recruiters can assign mentors who can help the employees in this regard.
  • Recruiters can organise virtual events like one-day video-conferences. It can help in giving a virtual experience of the organisational culture. The recruiters can manage the first few days by arranging calls with team leads and inter-departmental colleagues.
  • To give a view of the organisational culture, recruiters can use story-telling. New employees get to experience the culture through casual conversations and professional interactions in the office. In the absence of these, recruiters can use several incidents to weave stories around the company’s culture.

Upskill the recruiters

What will the recruiters do if your organisation has implemented a hiring freeze? It is a valid question that many leaders will be asking themselves.

If the leaders see the business picking up in the next few months, they can utilise the recruiters for workforce planning. The recruiters can have detailed conversations with the line managers and evaluate their future needs.

Besides, it is a good time for the recruiters to upskill themselves. Leaders can encourage recruiters to take courses. For instance, data analysis, behavioural interviews and story-telling can help them to become the masters of their profession. 


COVID-19 has resulted in an unpredictable situation. The real impact will come to the surface after things have settled down. Organisations will have to reassess their hiring systems and processes to take a more empathetic approach. It will be a good time to assess how technology can empower and resolve recruiter challenges.

Leaders can also use the current experience as a test-run for virtual hiring. They can understand the bottlenecks and brainstorm ideas for adopting remote hiring as a standard practice.


Remote recruitment on the rise in the time of COVID-19


The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. Who would have thought that the world would come to a grinding halt like this? As we grapple with staying within the confines of our home, enterprises are at a crossroad. Although organisations have been working on disaster management for years, an emergency of this scale was unthinkable.Whilst HR teams lead change from the forefront, they continue to grapple with issues spanning new policies, remote recruitment and change management.

The current scenario poses an extraordinary challenge for organisations and leaders. Apart from maintaining business continuity, they also have to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Most organisations do not have the necessary  infrastructure to support work-from-home capabilities at such a large scale. They are going back to the board to prepare for the uncertain future that is staring at us. 

However, challenging situations like this lead to innovative approaches. This is the time to devise and flesh out new ways of working. Organisations will seek to enhance their technological capabilities to optimise business performance.

As all business functions reel under the impact of Covid-19, recruitment is not immune as well. In fact, it is one of the areas that will witness significant change. As interviews have traditionally happened face-to-face, recruitment leaders will now have to start seeking alternate approaches including remote and digital hiring.

One may argue that this difficult period may see a reduction in the number of hires being made. While it may be right for some businesses, several sectors like retail, healthcare and non-profit will experience a spike in their hiring volume. In the near future, hiring demand across industries like communications, online learning, logistics, transport and delivery services could be so high and variable that it may become difficult to manage without technology.

With recruiters and hiring managers looking to work from home, organisations will need better capabilities and collaboration tools to be resilient and continue business as usual. The current situation also calls for higher automation and digital operations. In this article, let’s look at how recruitment teams can gear themselves for remote recruitment.

What is remote recruitment?

Remote recruitment is a practice in which recruiters screen and interview job applicants without having to come face-to-face with them (mostly). 

Remote recruitment, in this context, should not be confused with recruiting remote employees. As the name suggests, remote employees do not work from a dedicated office location and generally are not hired on the payroll of the employer.

What are some best practices for remote recruitment?

1. Structured and comprehensive screening

As the hiring process goes digital, organisations need to be more stringent with their screening process. Technology, enabled by AI, can offer outcome-oriented results in this scenario.

Recruitment chatbots powered by AI technology can help in more ways than one. 

Firstly, these chatbots can evaluate the candidates and ask relevant questions based on the role outlined in the job posting. Customisable chatbots allow the recruiters to feed different sets of questions for different jobs. They can help to proactively create a pipeline of candidates for different roles to ensure recruiters and hiring managers do not lose out on valuable talent and operational time. 

Secondly, with smart intelligence, these chatbots can score the candidates after evaluating them. Instead of going through individual responses, recruiters can only look at the final scores to progress candidates to the next level of the hiring process.

Lastly, chatbots are less prone to errors and help in reducing unconscious bias during the hiring process. It becomes a challenge for the organisations to hire quality candidates if the recruiter or line manager has certain preferences or bias. With algorithms evaluating and screening applicants, hiring managers can be assured of receiving better quality shortlists.

2. Engagement with the candidates

Engaging prospective candidates has always been a challenge for organizations. Often recruiters are buried under the operational work and find little time for this cause. In the current scenario, when they will not be able to meet face to face, establishing that connection and remote visibility will become all the more challenging.

AI-powered recruitment chatbots can once again resolve this situation. Conversational AI is specifically built to hold meaningful discussions and imitate human interactions. By using such tools, organisations can engage candidates from the first instance of their contact. The chatbots can be programmed to answer candidate queries so that they can get easy access to all kinds of information. Besides, chatbots can also update them about their application status and close the loop.

Chatbots can provide all these features and make remote recruitment a smooth and streamlined process. 


3. Regular communication

As teams start working in distributed locations, it can be tough to establish good team dynamics. To resolve this and to be in constant touch, teams should come together at least once a week. Teams can make use of any of the several collaboration tools, available today, to stay in touch. Such a platform will allow the team members to share their challenges, updates and keep track of new developments. Apart from conferencing tools, these tools help with project management and tracking activities.

As crucial as it is to equip the recruitment teams and hiring managers for this change, it is equally essential to prepare the candidates. It is an equally new experience for them as well. It may help to prepare documents or videos for remote interview etiquettes and do’s and don’ts.

4. Video interviews

The conventional face-to-face interviews can be replaced with video interviews. While the recruiters may choose to hold individual interviews for niche positions, it may not be possible for high volume recruitment. In such cases, automated video interviews may be the right solution.

These are again intelligent tools that can be programmed with interview questions. They offer flexibility to the candidates as they can choose the time and location of their interviews. Some of these advanced tools can evaluate candidates’ body language apart from the answers to filter the qualified candidates.

Impress platform allows easy integration with these video interviewing tools. Moreover, it can give scores to the candidates and rank them on their performance. The recruiters can review the scores and promote the qualified candidates to the next stage.

For all the later stages, the interviewers can hold telephonic or video rounds, as they deem fit. They may want to create a staggered panel to remove any kinds of doubts from the hiring process. For instance, if a recruiter is unsure about a candidate, there should be a mechanism to get a higher authority into the hiring process. It will further tighten and streamline remote recruitment while ensuring the quality of candidates.

5. Analytics

As the world is stepping into a zone that has not been chartered before, data has the power of unleashing new information and aid decision making. Analytics tools will furnish insights to identify roles which qualify for dynamic and virtual working or require workplace adjustments to that teams and hires can quickly transition to this new style of working.

From identifying the best sources of sourcing candidates to enhancing the recruitment metrics, data will enable you to arrive at the right answers and controls.

6. Remote Onboarding

In what may seem like one of the toughest challenges of remote hiring, onboarding may take some time and lots of effort to turnaround.

When employees join a new workplace, they learn the ways of working through their colleagues and pick up cues or norm practices from the workplace environment.

However, in the current situation, when most of the workforce has a virtual presence, new employees need self-learning tools and resources. There is a need to document every process for providing easy access to new employees. Online presentations and internal systems training can also help new employees to self-start their work.

Frequent and regular meetings with their line manager and colleagues can further help the new employee to settle more comfortably.

The onboarding process can also move from a standard process to a reaction-based or need-based process. In simple terms, it allows the new employee to take charge of the onboarding process. Of course, it comes with providing the essentials like a laptop, accounts and accesses. As the employee learns, there should be a query system to ask and get answers to all the questions along the way.


Amidst the advisories of staying home and staying safe, the business needs to continue as usual; albeit from remote locations. In the current scenario, as remote working becomes a reality at scale, many organisations will have to change the fundamentals of working. It will begin with changing mindsets, speed up digital readiness and will culminate with running businesses in the virtual and digital world. 

The world of recruitment will also see a new wave of remote hiring as organisations will continue adding to their workforces. 


Should you be measuring Time to Hire?

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Imagine a situation where your organisation is gearing up for a new product launch or is on the verge of a new marketing campaign. Just a few days before the D day, a crucial member of the team hands over the resignation. Not only that, but the person also plans to take a team along. In a matter of a few days, you get the other resignations as well. As an HR manager, there are only limited options that you can explore. However, most of you will agree that the best way out is to start looking for replacements. Time is of the essence, and that is why the time to hire is an essential recruitment metric.

Employee turnover and consequent replacement is a common problem that features in the priority list of HR departments worldwide. Attriting employees causes all the more concern if they are a part of crucial company projects. In other cases, inadequate talent numbers may hamper the company’s growth plans.

No wonder, recruitment has become an integral support system that can propel businesses in the right direction. All the budgeting, planning, and strategies may be futile if the company cannot hire the right people at the right time. As crucial as it is to drive hiring, it is equally important to track its efficiency using recruitment metrics. 

In simple words, recruitment metrics are a set of measurements that can determine the success of hiring at an organisation. Tracking these parameters on a regular basis can also help in diagnosing the problem areas. Suitable action points can result in streamlining and optimising the hiring processes. For instance, data may reveal the quality of candidates hired from a particular agency. If it is found to be reasonably positive, the organisation may decide to partner more closely with them for future positions. 

Although there are different parameters for assessing the overall recruitment process, time to hire is perhaps the most common one. Let’s dive deeper into this metric and understand how it can help in improving the hiring processes within an organisation.

What is time to hire?

Time to hire measures the number of days from the point when a candidate enters your pipeline to the moment when the applicant receives the offer letter.

It is easy to confuse it with time to fill, and some people may even tend to use the terms interchangeably. However, the two are quite distinct and refer to different aspects of the hiring process.

Time to fill defines the time between the time when a recruiter posts a job opening until the time when a candidate accepts the offer. 

Due to this fundamental difference, both these terms have separate and distinct uses. For instance, time to hire indicates the efficiency of the recruitment process and how fast the recruiters move when they see a qualified resume. On the other hand, time to fill is a metric that is most useful in business planning. Business leaders can look at the past data to determine realistic and reasonable timelines for their new plans.

Should you measure time to hire?

The most obvious answer is yes, but it is not as simplistic. Especially if you work in an environment where speed is of utmost importance. For instance, technology businesses cannot jeopardise their projects because of the insufficiency of talent. 

A lengthy screening or interview process may also cause disengagement with the applicants. They may lose interest in the position if they do not hear from the company for a long time.  

However, recruiters and organisations should be looking at the bigger picture instead of one particular metric alone. Instead of looking at the time to hire in isolation, they should be asking if they are overlooking quality at any moment. Similarly, they should evaluate the possibilities of rushed decision-making in hiring.

Thus, we suggest taking a multi-pronged approach while evaluating time to hire. 

How to measure time to hire?

Here is a simple formula that you can use to calculate this metric.

For greater efficiencies, it is advisable to break this formula into multiple stages. The time taken in each step will help in diagnosing the specific gaps and problems in your hiring process. For instance, the offer approval process may be taking too long, or the organisation may have too many interview rounds.

What is the best way to represent time to hire?

For better judgment, it is advisable to represent the time taken in each stage as percentages. It will help you in determining the gaps and taking the necessary actions for strengthening your recruitment process.

Furthermore, a few positions in your organisation may be more challenging to crack. For better understanding, you can filter out the data for different roles and departments. It will help in knowing the jobs that are hard to fill. The recruitment function can then devise appropriate strategies to tackle the problem at hand.

How to improve the time to hire?

Ensuring the swiftness of response and a reasonable time to hire depends a lot upon the recruiter’s actions. Unfortunately, recruiters have a lot of logistical and manual tasks that slow down their productive outputs. They are deluged with operational tasks such as generating offer letters, scheduling interviews and screening the applications. Then where does the answer lie, you ask?

Well, the real solution lies in using technology to speed up your recruitment process. It will also allow the recruiters to contribute more to the qualitative aspects of their job. 

Here is how you can automate the application process and reduce your time to hire.

  • Faster and efficient screening of applications – A recruiter on an average may receive hundreds of applications in a month. The recruiter may not be able to give equal time to all the candidates or may concentrate only on the first few resumes.

    Technology can resolve this situation by screening all the applications and determining the most qualified candidates. Recruitment chatbots by Impress can effectively screen all the resumes. The chatbots are customisable and can be programmed to ask relevant questions depending upon the advertised job. Moreover, it can handle candidate queries and speed up the application process.
  • Faster interview rounds – The interview process can slow down if the hiring manager doesn’t meet the right person. Technology can speed up the process by conducting the first round of interviews of the applicants. Automated and online video interviews are an excellent example to do this. The most exceptional advantage is that the system evaluates every candidate who applies for the position. Moreover, it removes biases from the screening process and gives fair and accurate results. Some of the more advanced solutions also evaluate a candidate on the body language for a more nuanced result.

    The platform offered by Impress links to all the major video assessment platforms. It allows flexibility to the candidates and enables them to appear for the evaluation at a time and place of their convenience. The recruiters can go through the interviews at a later stage and assess if the candidate is right for the position.

  • Faster interview scheduling – Most of the time, interview scheduling delays the hiring process. It can be an arduous task to manage multiple calendars to find a suitable time slot. Some organisations mandate inter-departmental interviews to find the right organisational-fit. Technology can effectively transform this situation by automating the interview scheduling process.

  • Faster offer generation – After most of the process has been automated, the recruiters will have more time to negotiate the offer with the candidates. More often than not, it takes a long time to get the right approvals from the rewards team if the recruiter has to take an exception. 

    Automation of the offer generation stage can reduce this problem. The system can be programmed with multiple templates to handle different salary structures. Moreover, the workflow allows taking all the necessary approvals for releasing the offer letters. Frequent alerts and reminders help in freeing up the time of the recruiters.

In conclusion

Time to hire is a crucial index to assess the performance of your recruitment function. It can tell you what is right and what is not. As important as it is to measure time to hire, it is equally vital to get a complete picture by understanding where the other metrics stand.

To sum it up, automation can effectively improve this metric and fill the gaps in your hiring process. The best practices stated in this article are useful for measuring the metric correctly. They will also help in reducing it to optimise your hiring process. 

By following them, you can ensure that hiring function responds to the business needs with precision and the right controls.

shortlisitng process

Step-by-step guide for an efficient shortlisting process

shortlisting process

Businesses look up to the recruiters not just for filling their open positions. They need support and constant dialogue in the shortlisting process. They want to hire only the right candidates- those who will perform well in their jobs and have a cultural alignment with the organization.

As per a survey by Careerbuilder, companies can lose almost $15,000 for every bad hire. Apart from the monetary impact, every bad hire can cause ripple effects in the organisation. Firstly, bad hires can lower the engagement levels of their teams and the organisation at large. Secondly, they can reduce the bar of performance for their team members who are otherwise trying to chase excellence at the workplace. Lastly, they may also disrupt the harmony as they leave.

Apart from impacting an organisation, a wrong hiring decision can equally affect the new employee. For instance, if the job description is not well-written, the candidate may feel there is a mismatch of skill-sets and expectations. Similarly, the candidate may feel disconnected from the organisation culture or may not relate to the organisational values. All of this may cause disengagement, and the employee may soon start to seek out.

Despite knowing these multiple consequences of hiring a wrong person, the survey found that almost three in four employers have made this mistake in the past. Here are the reasons why it may happen.

  • The recruiter and the business may be in a rush to fill a crucial position. We are all aware of the situation when a role stays open for a long time. The pressure to onboard someone quickly may get tremendous.
  • The candidate may be too good at making impressions and may have come across as qualified and reliable.
  • The hiring manager may have taken a chance on their gut feeling and hired a nice person. At times, the managers know that the candidate is not skilled but hope that the person will pick up when hired.
  • Often, candidates exaggerate their workplace responsibilities and achievements. They may pick up examples from their current peers’ work-life and quote them as their own.
  • It is as crucial to hire for attitude as it is to hire for skills. Sometimes, hiring managers override the warning signs that the candidate may not be a good organisation-fit.
  • Incomplete or lenient background checks may also result in hiring the wrong person.

Before we head to the right shortlisting process, we need to understand the situations and behaviours that identify a bad hire.

What is a bad hire?

It is obvious to think that a bad hire is a candidate who cannot perform in the job as per the expectations. Moreover, if the skill sets of the new employee do not match that of the role, it is a clear case of wrong hiring.

However, the definition of a bad hire is more elaborate than this. If the new employee has difficulties blending into the culture of the organisations and collaborating with team members, it could be due to a wrong hiring decision. In other instances, if the new employee is irregular to work or has a negative attitude, it can also be categorised as a wrong hiring call.

Most of these problems can be solved by following a stringent shortlisting process and recruitment procedure. Here is a step-by-step guide to shortlisting the right candidates.

What is shortlisting?

In simple terms, shortlisting is the process of identifying the candidates who meet your eligibility criteria. It is the stage that comes after you have advertised your job and received applications. You screen every application and shortlist the candidates that you would like to meet. 

For some recruiters, it is the hardest part of their jobs. Firstly, there is a shortage of skills in the market and finding that perfect candidate is a tough task. Secondly, there are certain legalities and internal policies associated with shortlisting candidates. For instance, the diversity initiative of the organisation may call for more female or LGBTQ candidates. Lastly, they need to be well-versed with the requirements of every position that they are trying to fill. Everyone’s time is of utmost importance, and passing an unqualified candidate to the interview stage can cause inefficiencies in the recruitment procedure. 

What are the stages in shortlisting?

As per Glassdoor, each job posting may attract as many as 250 resumes. The total number of applications with a recruiter may run into thousands. Having a process can be useful for shortlisting candidates for interviews, and streamline recruitment. Here are the steps you can follow to make shortlisting easier and efficient.

Elaborate on the person specification

Before you begin with anything, it is essential to picture your ideal candidate. You can consider a high-performing employee working in a similar role for reference. It may be useful to note down the skills and qualifications that will help future employees to excel in the given position.

Identify the MEP criteria

As you work on the person specification and note the crucial skills, attribute and behaviours; mark each of them as M, E or P. M stands for Mandatory which is the minimum criteria that each candidate has to have to qualify for the role. E is for Essential or the qualities the candidate has to exhibit in the selection process. P is for Preferred, which are the nice-to-have attributes. While they are not the fundamental capabilities that you are looking for, having them can win some brownie points.

Look for warning signals

As crucial as it is to identify the qualifying criteria, it is equally important to look for red flags. You may make a list so that you don’t skip any of these when screening the resumes. Firstly, look for grammatical errors and language inconsistencies in the resume. Secondly, it is always helpful to look at the timeline from the first job to the current one. You will get to know if the candidate has changed too many jobs. It is advisable to avoid job-hoppers, especially for mission-critical roles.

While scanning the resume, make a note of employment gaps or other inconsistencies that you may come across. You can ask the candidate about it during the interview.

Decide the number of candidates you will meet

Consider how many candidates you will be able to realistically interview. If you select too many applicants, the recruitment procedure will become lengthy and inefficient. If the number is too low, you are not giving enough opportunities to the hiring manager for hiring the best talent.

At times, hiring managers delay hiring as they want to meet more and more people. In such scenarios, it may help to be strict with the number of interviews. However, always be open to meeting more people instead of being too rigid about it.

Use technology 

With hundreds and thousands of applications, it may not be possible to manually sift through every resume. In this scenario, the best alternative is to use technology and fast-track the process. The tool offered by Impress can help in efficiently shortlisting qualified candidates and also remove any biases while shortlisting candidates for interviews.

The product is customisable, and you can key in various criteria for different positions. It allows you to ask additional questions to make the shortlisting process more effective. After conducting the primary assessments, the product can give scores to the candidates based on your selection criteria. Once you automate the shortlisting process, you will meet only the right candidates. You can click here to request a demo.

shortlisting process

Use video interviews

Another way of perfecting your shortlisting process is by using video interviews. These tools allow you to feed the questions and view the interviews at a convenient time. Moreover, you can get a score and ranking of the candidates for easy shortlisting. Impress allows you to integrate their assessment tool with most video interview platforms. 

Such innovative products are powered by artificial intelligence and can learn as you use them. By automating your shortlisting process, you will get more time to contribute to other aspects of your job. For instance, you will get more bandwidth to meet the hiring managers and build better relationships with them. You will also get more time to go on the floor and understand the nuances of each role of the business that you are supporting.

Examine the cultural fit

In today’s time, it is essential to evaluate if a candidate is fit to work in the organisational culture. While it is impossible to discern the competencies from the application, you can administer psychometric tests before meeting the person. However, always take them with a pinch of salt. Most psychometric tests indicate the preference of exhibiting particular behaviours. Once you have the report, you can probe more during the face to face meetings.

In summation

The right shortlisting process is the backbone of your recruitment. You can streamline the recruitment procedure and deliver higher efficiencies if you have a process in place. With the right checks and controls, you will be able to avoid bad hires and improve your recruitment metrics.

resume screening checklist

How to create a resume screening checklist

resume screening checklist

It is safe to say that talent is the most valuable resource of any organisation. It is what helps them to realise their goals of innovation and leading the markets. Due to this reason, the quality of hire is as crucial as the time of hire. Recruiters work round the clock to meet the talent requirements and attract the best candidates. The hardest part of a recruiter’s job is to screen hundreds of resumes and identify the most qualified candidates. Having a resume screening checklist is the best solution that can help them in saving time and effort.

As per a survey by SHRM, 68% of recruiters said they were facing difficulty in filling the open positions. The main reason they cited was the lack of relevant work experience and skills. Although an open position can attract close to 250 applications, most of them are not relevant. Moreover, a recruiter regularly receives resumes for unadvertised jobs which further makes screening difficult. For recruiters, it is not just about finding qualified candidates at the right time from those heaps of applications. They also have to ensure the organisational-fit of the candidates. Assessing the skills, competencies, behaviours and beliefs adds to the complexity of hiring.

Furthermore, the number of applications with a recruiter can reach exorbitant levels when the organisation is hiring aggressively. It can also stress the resources of the recruitment function as sifting through the high volume of resumes is no mean task. 

In this scenario, having a pre-screening process and a resume screening checklist can help the recruiters in enhancing their efficiency. Apart from reducing the turnaround time, it can also help in being consistent in their responses and advancing only the best resumes to the next stage. By eliminating unsuitable applicants at an early stage of recruitment, recruiters can streamline the recruitment process and garner more support from the line managers.

The right resume screening checklist also allows the recruiters to understand the employment ethics of the candidates. Hiring a star candidate who is a job-hopper will only reduce the quality of hire, which is a crucial metric for recruitment. Here is a simple resume screening checklist that can help in identifying the best candidates in the least amount of time.

Start with clear job descriptions and specifications

In an ideal scenario, all jobs must have separate and sharp JDs and candidate specifications. They should be distinct even when the job titles are similar. Firstly, it helps the candidates in assessing whether the job is right for them and vice-versa. Secondly, recruiters can use it as a reference document to match candidate skills and competencies as mentioned in the resume.

As part of the next step, the recruiter can create a list of must-have and nice-to-have skills, competencies and behaviours. An easier way to prepare this list is by studying the traits and behaviours of successful employees. It is a one-time activity that will come handy in future sourcing and screening processes.

The must-have list will help you in eliminating the ineligible candidates. It can contain all the minimum criteria that you think are required for performing well at the job. It can consist of educational qualifications, certifications, skills and the type of experience. While creating this list, it will help to keep it open. For instance, instead of being too particular about the number of years of experience, it may help to understand the type of experience the person carries. 

The nice-to-have list is what will help in differentiating the candidates once you have narrowed down your choices. It can include certifications and skills that will enable the candidate to perform better in the job. You can rank the resumes on the number of such attributes. 

Once you have made these lists, it will become easier to scan through the resume and look for these keywords. Apart from making your task quicker, this list will also help in shortlisting only the qualified candidates.

Look for accomplishments

To make their resumes wordy, a lot of candidates tend to include unnecessary information. They may also include buzzwords or important terms to attract attention. While there is nothing wrong with that, you can look for achievements to shortlist only the best candidates. 

Most individuals tend to write their daily tasks and activities in their resumes. While there is nothing wrong with that, you should try to look for successes. The star candidates will mention their achievements, and this is where you can make a difference in the shortlisting. For instance, a marketing professional may write that the job includes networking with channel partners. The star performers will mention how many channel partners were successfully onboarded by their efforts.

A deeper understanding of the roles will come handy here. It will help to study the duties of the current employees in these roles. You can make a note of them to ask pointed questions during the interview.

Remember the best resumes are the ones that speak with lots of data and figures. It shows the candidate is confident to talk about past experiences. These figures can also become conversation starters during the interview process.

Study the gaps

It is advisable to look at the employment timeline as the first thing while scanning a resume. It will help you in understanding the employment history and the overall work ethics of the candidate. While breaks are not always negative, too many gaps have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

An organisation spends a lot of time and resources in training an employee. It also takes time for a new employee to settle comfortably in the new culture and become productive. As a matter of fact, it takes between 1 to 2 years to become fully productive at a job. Losing an employee around this time means loss of resources for your organisation. Moreover, it will also impact the quality of hire metrics and the overall productivity of the recruitment function.

Understand the resume

It is suggested to take a good look at the resume to understand the consistency of the writing. Try to look at the overall presentation and any grammatical or spelling mistakes. As a rule of thumb, the candidates should avoid writing in a direct first-person voice. An implied language sounds much more professional.

Read the personal statement to know if it is passionate and relevant to the job. If there is a cover letter, read it in detail to understand what the candidate is trying to say. If it is general and could hold true for any job, it is not well-written. The cover letter should be specific to the position, and the candidate should be able to articulate the expertise in the role. 

It may also help to find evidence of a career that has plateaued or any indications of responsibilities being reduced or career changes. While such signs are not always red flags, you may want to probe these during the interview. 

Use technology

Manual screening is useful only when the recruitment numbers are reasonable. During volume hiring, recruiters may have hundreds of openings and receive thousands of applications. Using technology is the best way to screen qualified candidates at such times.

AI in recruitment can simplify this task and also automate the resume screening checklist. Impress offers chatbots that can effectively resolve this situation. The best feature is that Impress chatbots are customisable. The team has worked in the past to offer custom solutions to target organisation-specific problems. 

Impress chatbots can perform the first-level assessment of the candidates. You can customise it to ask specific questions and evaluate the candidates based on the responses. The platform can also be linked to video assessment tools and give an overall score to the candidate.

This technology is reliable and can offer accurate results. It can drastically reduce the screening time of candidates and fasten the hiring process. That too, without compromising the quality of hire.

Note the warning signs

As a recruiter, you will be adding more value to the process by identifying the reg flags. Make a note of these warnings when you assess a resume. There are good chances that you may forget them when you are working on several resumes at once. The hiring manager will also appreciate your efforts as it will help them in finding an eligible candidate. 


In today’s time, the job of a recruiter is much more than scheduling interviews and negotiating offers. Organisations expect recruiters to contribute more strategically and assist the line managers in hiring qualified candidates. With a resume screening checklist, recruiters can enhance the quality of hire. It will particularly come handy when an organisation has to hire for mission-critical roles. Technology can simplify this task and also enhance the efficiency of the recruitment department.