Here are three strategies you can implement to improve your candidate base before you meet anyone.

  1. Ask for a cover letter and resume

I am a stickler for spelling and grammar. I appreciate that society has relaxed its views around it, yet for me, it speaks more to attention to detail than a reliance on texting abbreviations. I will tolerate maybe one mistake. After that, an application would get tossed. If it is a “they’re/their/there” mistake, it gets tossed right away.

Asking for a cover letter and resume also lets you know if a candidate responds in a prompt or slow manner.

Seeing a sample of a candidate’s written work also gives you an idea as to whether the person’s work is sloppy or neat.

  1. Pre-screen with an online survey tool

I have some non-negotiable items in my job requirements. Some of them can be addressed through a few questions asked in a survey that is programmed to eliminate unsuitable candidates. For example, I require a clean criminal background check. If a candidate indicates that a clean background check is not possible, the survey tool immediately disqualifies that person.

  1. Conduct a brief pre-interview over the telephone

This helps you understand how easy it is to reach an applicant. Is voice mail set up? Was the message professional? How long did it take to get a response? How good were the candidate’s telephone skills?

You will get a good read on someone if you spend a few moments going through the three screening strategies above. It will seem like wasted time, however, in the long run, it will save you the time, energy, and expense of making a bad hire.

And if you need some help with your recruiting, send a note to We can help!