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The Power and Importance of Candidate Screening

Picture the scenario…..

You’re a temp recruiter and your client calls you at work. “There’s been an accident on site”, they say. “One of your temps was involved.”

Your stomach flips, your hands go clammy and your senses go into full alert mode. You are already in action mode thinking what to do next. Thankfully no-one is seriously hurt, but the HSE are involved and they’re asking questions about the temp and their ability to carry out the role in question. 

It’s your job as the recruiter placing the temps to make sure the necessary checks have been carried out. 

This was a very real situation for one of our clients recently. The recruiter in question was involved in a Health & Safety investigation and they needed to substantiate that the temp was eligible and capable to work in the role. Thankfully they had carried out the necessary background screening checks and they had put the candidate through a literacy and aptitude test to gain a better understanding of their skill base. 

The candidate not only came out with a more than adequate score, showing they were capable of understanding instructions but the recruiter had placed plenty of other temps on site who had followed instructions accordingly and not been involved in incidents. 

It was an H&S near miss but, much as we moan about audit trails and administration, they come into their own on occasions like this. 

As recruiters you need to be able to prove your candidates are eligible to work and appropriately skilled to do so.

Lies and Statistics

Where else is skills testing and screening powerful? Well, it’s not a trade secret that candidates are prone to exaggerating their skill set. In fact some of them are downright fibbers. Seasoned recruiters are usually savvy enough to sniff out a whopper of a lie a mile away. Testing means you don’t have to rely on your gut feel or the CV and experience laid out in front of you. 

A simple google will bring up various surveys but this one, from Career Builder, states that over 50% of hiring managers have caught out candidates lying on their CV. The most common lies are falsification of employment dates and exaggerating or embellishing skills and capabilities.

Think of all the candidates you’ve seen this week, are over half of them pulling the wool over your eyes? Checks and balances are the easy way to give yourself peace of mind and sort the wheat from the chaff. 

Take the blinkers off

Transferable skills is one of those phrases that is bandied around in the industry. “What are your transferable skills?” we ask. We tell candidates to talk these skills up in interviews. Yet we often hark back to experience. The candidate has worked in a contact centre, so it’s a good fit to look at these roles – they’d be top of the list for them. However the candidate might not want another contact centre role, they could be looking at a more commercial role, maybe as a PA or credit controller. 

Skills testing takes away any bias or judgement and doesn’t ask questions about background or experience. You are simply looking at the base line level of skills that the candidate can take to their new role. You will establish that they have good literacy and numeracy, are great with spreadsheets but not so with PowerPoint. Once again, you are building up an unbiased, comprehensive view of your candidate, giving you the edge when it comes to pitching to your clients. 

Recruitment is not an exact science. It’s uncertain and the very nature of humans makes us unpredictable. Having access to skills testing gives some certainty in a precarious world.


Amanda Davies

Managing Director

ISV Software

T: 02380 816600

M: 07887 611711



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