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If you are looking for some guidelines on virtual applicant screening for assembling a high quality virtual bench, here is a process that can be used to great effect in the real world of screening applicants for your small business.

  1. List Your Ad

You can list your ad on a service like oDesk, vWorker or JobStreet in as broad or specific terms as you like. It is a good idea to include three unique questions at the bottom of the ad, which can then be used by you to screen out those who have not paid sufficient attention and have ignored the questions.

  1. Collect Resumes

You then collect the applications and resumes that people send you in response. If your ad has been written outlining several positive aspects, like it being a full time, long-term position, you are likely to get many responses from which you can make your choice.

  1. Pre-screen applicants and Send a Questionnaire

If some of the applications have ignored your questions, you can discard them. Others may put themselves out of the running by answering in poor English. Those who you have left should be sent a questionnaire.

  1. Collect Returned Questionnaires

Some applicants will state that their salary expectations far exceed what you are prepared to pay. These can be excluded. Next, go through how well the rest of the questions have been answered and choose the best of these.

  1. Assign Tasks and set Up Trial

The tasks you assign to narrow the field even further can be relatively simple. Give the candidates a chance to shine and give them some ‘underhand throws.’ An external service such as ExpertRating can manage these trials for you if you don’t want to do this part yourself.

These tasks will help you discover your prospective employee’s real world capabilities. In screening applicants, it won’t tell you everything you need to know, as more will be discovered if they get through to the interview stage. However, if they say they have, let’s say good copywriting skills,  you will be able to find out by reading the articles they produce for you whether they are competent and can produce good work in a timely fashion. You should be left with approximately four to five people who successfully complete the tasks.

  1. Conduct Interviews

Now is your chance to actually meet with your last few chosen candidates. Style your interview along the lines laid down by Brad Smart in his book Topgrading. He gives some great suggestions for pertinent questions to ask and the way the interview should be run. These interviews would normally be held using Skype, and should be recorded for your further consideration, especially when you ask for employment background screening companies to help you know more about them.

  1. Hire!

It should be a fairly easy process to discover who is going to perform the best for your company. The people you don’t choose could be placed on a virtual bench to be assigned one off tasks which come up from time to time.

Go through this process in screening applicants whenever you need a new employee and you should find A players every time.

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