Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Talent Advisory, Talent Compliance, Talent Management

How To Source and Screen Candidates Remotely

Posted on August 13, 2021
Written By Aron Vaidya

sourcing and screening candidates remotely


Screening Candidates is one of the most important phases of the recruitment process. Employers opt for the screening process to trim down the list of applicants who will sit for the interview round. The screening process can involve several methods and procedures. Resume analysis, reference interviews, online skill testing, paid trial projects, and online research is the five most used methods of remote screening. Due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, the hiring and recruitment process has suffered severe blows. Thus remote screening process allows the recruiters to practice a safe screening process from remote locations as well.

What Are The Different Ways Of Remote Screening?

Employers follow several practices and methods to ensure safe yet sound hiring. The employers must find a way to go through screening without putting the candidate in any harm’s way. As a result, it is vital to practice remote screening methods. The five most crucial remote screening methods are:

1)           Resume or CV Analysis

2)           Reference Interviews

3)           Online Skill testing

4)           Paid Trial Projects

5)           Online Research

These are the most practiced methods to conduct a remote screening process for any candidate. The remote screening methods should allow the recruiter to get a good look at the candidate’s background. By screening the candidate, recruiters must be able to shortlist the potential hires from the bunch. One must know which of these five methods are to be followed under what circumstances. Thus it is essential to know in detail about them.

Resume Analysis

What Is Resume Or CV Analysis?

Resume Analysis is one of the oldest methods of screening a candidate. The best way to know about the candidate is to parse through the resume very minutely. A resume or CV is usually the document a candidate presents to the employer as a record book of their academic and professional journey so far.

Best Practices: Sourcing and Screening Candidates

The resume contains several details about the candidate, including his background education, prior work experience, jobs, previous payroll, locations, and hobbies. As the candidates prepare the resume themselves, it also portrays how highly they think of themselves. Resumes are to carry concrete data. Therefore any discrepancy found within the resume will point towards the lack of job ethics. Thus it is imperative to know how to analyze a resume properly. The foremost things an employer should look for in the resume are:

1)          Length:

A good resume must not exceed more than two pages in length. A resume needs to be crisp yet informative at the same time. One needs to write an essay in their resume, and it isn’t very sensible to go through the same. If a candidate cannot produce a good resume, then their organizational skills should be questioned. A good resume may require more than one page to accommodate all the job experiences, particularly for a technical job. The recruiter must read through the resume properly to find out the nature of the applicant.

2)          Design- 

Another important aspect of the resume is the design of the document and the layout. Many times candidates think about fitting too much information in their resume and scattering the important ones. Thus it can be painfully frustrating for the employer to read through each line when many more are waiting. A poorly organized resume also speaks poorly of the candidate. A well-organized CV must contain appropriate sections with highlighted keywords and self-descriptions. Right notes on previous jobs and skills must be highlighted. By carefully parsing the design and layout of the CV, the recruiter can learn a lot about the candidate.

3)          Language- 

Often the recruiters discuss the language of the resume. It is one of the crucial parameters to look for in an ideal resume. A resume should not contain explicit language and must highlight one’s grammar and sentence-making skills. Poorly constructed phrases and words often portray a negative image of the candidate in front of the employers. A resume may not contain high-level language, but the candidate’s skills must be adequately decipherable.

4)          Experience- 

After the basics of the resume comes the technical part. The experience details provided by the candidate on their resume must speak volumes about their capabilities. For a specific job role, a recruiter may expect certain first-hand knowledge on the part of the candidate. Thus while parsing the resume, the recruiter may look for that specific experience in the resume. Also, sometimes candidates may provide false experience and information in their resume. It is essential to cross-refer and check before entirely relying on the same.

5)          Tailoring- 

Tailoring refers to the proper fitting of the resume as per the job role. A recruiter must look for all the provided experiences and skills in the resume. The provided information and experiences must tally with the job role in question. If that is not the case, then one must conclude that the candidate has a single resume for all job applications. That will indicate a lack of sincerity on the part of the candidate. Recruiters may not want such a candidate for their company.

6)          Cover letter- 

Many recruiters ask for a cover letter along with a resume. This acts as an instruction for the job applicants. Recruiters can later check how well the instruction is getting followed. This will give the employers an idea about the professionalism of the candidates. Also, the cover letters provide the recruiters with a specific idea about the applicants and their personalities.

What Are The Drawbacks Of The Resume Analysis Method?

There is also an inevitable drawback of following this method for remote screening. Although resume analysis gives a prominent picture of the applicants, it does take up a lot of time. There can be thousands of applicants submitting their resumes for one particular job opening. To go through all of them will involve a lot of time. Thus the screening process will be stretched beyond expected time limits. This, in turn, may delay the recruitment process.

Another drawback of the resume analysis method is that those may not represent the actual qualities of the candidate. Many candidates opt for resume maker services to get hold of proper professional resumes. That will only showcase the helper’s skills who helped construct the resume and not the candidate. Thus having a single-paged crisp informative resume doesn’t necessarily indicate an organized applicant.

Reference Interviews

What Is The Process Of Reference Interviews?

In many technical and high responsibility job roles often candidates are asked to submit references who can vouch for their work and job experiences. This is an important step to conduct background screening, a key part of talent sourcing. But many times, it is found that the references which are submitted do not get interview calls. This can be due to a shortage of time or any other reasons. Often the candidates are unaware of the references they submitted got interview calls or not. But for the sake of remote screening, interviewing the references can come in very handy.

References, when checked, are not conveyed to the candidates. Also, sometimes, due to a shortage of time, thorough interviews of references are not possible. But to ensure proper remote screening, this method is beneficial. The most important thing about talking to a reference is understanding the relationship they share with the candidate. Naturally, the method of the interview will also vary according to the given relationship of the references. One will not interview the former boss in the same way one will go about a childhood friend. Situation wise questions can be different to suit the purpose of the interview.

What Sort Of Questions Can Be Asked To The References?

The manner and pattern of the questions will vary according to the person in question. In any case, it is most likely to get hold of as much background information about the candidate as possible. Recruiters may ask about the candidate’s previous job, behavior in the previous workplace, and other things. It is good to know about the roles and responsibilities the candidate used to have in their last workplace.

The relationship between the candidate and the recruiter will also be important for the screening process. One will get a good idea about the candidate’s problem-solving skills, socializing with others, and task management. Also, it is good to know about the reason for quitting the previous job and the reference’s impression of the candidate. While interviewing a previous boss, a recruiter may ask whether he will re-hire the candidate. This will show the goodwill of the candidate in his previous workplace.

online skill testing

What Is The Method Of Online Skill Testing?

Both the methods above of resume analysis and reference interviews may often fail to project the true skill set of the candidate. As already pointed out, resumes might be drafted by a third party and may also fail to emphasize the skills and qualities of the candidate.

The reverse can be true also where the false emphasis is drawn on skills that the candidate isn’t comfortable in. In many scenarios, based solely on resume analysis, one cannot predict the candidate’s capabilities. Reference interviews can also turn out to be biased. Often, candidates may provide references of close friends and colleagues who will only speak well about the candidate. Thus recruiters often shift to a more modern technology-based analysis.

Online Skill Testing involves checking the candidates’ skills in a direct online test. The test may be software generated and manually reviewed later. This will allow the recruiter to get a hands-on impression of the candidate’s qualities and skills in their resume. Also, this can become a handy way to look for the required skillsets in the candidates, which are essential for the job role. A recruiter who is recruiting for developer job roles can conduct an online coding test to check the coding knowledge of the candidates. In this way, they can get more practical analysis and easily shortlist the potential hires.

Certain companies provide online testing platforms for various recruiters. They are:

  • Talent Assessment Platform by eSkill
  • Testing Library by SkillRobo
  • Test Bank by Interview Mocha
  • Knowledge Aptitude Tests by Test Up

What Are The Drawbacks Of Online Skill Testing?

Most of the skills tests that are available online are focused on technical roles. This is an excellent platform to screen candidates for developers roles. But when looking for HR, managerial, and other competitive positions, online skill testing tools don’t always come in handy. In addition to this, availing of such online skill testing software will cost money. This will add to the recruitment cost, which is not viable. Again incorporating such a system with an in-house hiring process can be pretty lengthy and bothersome.

What Is The Process Of Paid Trial Projects?

One of the best ways to assess a candidate is to put him in a real working environment under scrutiny and check out how things work. Most of the time, verbal communications and skills assessments are not enough to ultimately judge the candidate’s true working potential. Sometimes a candidate is ready to go the extra mile to compensate for his lack of experience and yield good results. Thus recruiters often put the candidates in project-based contractual labor to prove themselves worthy of the job role. In this way, the candidates will get a chance to showcase their talents to the recruiters.

It is good to hire candidates temporarily for a specific time limit while keeping them under probation. Recruiters will check how well they are performing and decide accordingly. Hiring part-time candidates for limited time- based projects can be very fruitful as they can prove their worth by working in a real-time environment. However, sometimes candidates may reject the idea of working under probation on a trial basis.

This will also show how dedicated the candidate is towards the job role. While some may differ from the opinion of part-time work, others will take it as an opportunity to shine. Recruiters also need to ensure that the candidates are adequately rewarded for the labor they are putting in for the company. Having unpaid labor for trial may often fail to motivate the candidate. They might feel like working, and this will fail to showcase their true potential.

What Is The Drawback Of Paid Trial Projects?

The main drawback of this form of remote screening is that it cannot be performed for a large group of applicants. Recruiters can only hire a limited number of trial workers who they consider to be potential hires. From this list of trial workers, employers may choose to hire performing candidates based on their performances permanently. But the same process of screening cannot be replicated for all the applicants for a job role. The initial number of applicants is usually relatively high. Thus this process can be treated as one of the last resorts of screening.

What Is The Process Of Online Research?

Online research or traditional background checks are always one of the best ways to screen a candidate. By running a thorough background check about the candidate, recruiters may know about many hidden facts and information that may have been avoided earlier. Most of the time, candidates will positively prepare themselves and showcase the best version of themselves for the screening rounds.

The resume can look pretty, references may speak highly of the candidate, but all of these can be pretentious. This screening process will represent the version of the candidate which they want the recruiter to see. So judging solely by these methods may later prove consequential for the employer.

Thus most of the recruiters believe in conducting a thorough background check on their candidates before finalizing them. In this way, one will grasp the actual person who is applying for the job. Nowadays, thanks to social media presence, screening a candidate is relatively easy. A recruiter may investigate a candidate’s social media profiles and online presence. While hiring for a developer’s role, recruiters often check on platforms like Github to get an actual impression of the candidate’s skill.

Most of the time, the recruiter looks for the social and behavioral aspects of the candidate while going through their social media profiles. The recruiter may use the information provided on the resume to Google up the candidates and look for their social media presence. The critical question is what the recruiters should look for while leveraging the candidate’s social media. Recruiters often look for inappropriate posts and photos that may promote alcohol abuse, drinking, and unprofessional behavior. They may also look for comments on racism and other public defamation like speaking ill of previous employment or others. Sometimes recruiters also reject a candidate because of inappropriate online profile pictures. The reason for scrutiny may vary from person to person. But one must be careful not to discriminate against the applicants based on race, culture, gender, and looks after scrutinizing them online.


All these five methods of remote screening are widely practiced by several recruiters and are known to produce good results. But regardless of the methods in question, the main idea is to recruit a candidate after proper screening. This will also save the organization from making hasty decisions to regret later. By screening a candidate properly, the recruiter can ensure safe and secure hiring for the company.

If you need support sourcing and screening candidates, get in touch with our experts with a click of the button below. QX Global Group, serving as a top talent sourcing agency, offers resume sourcing services to staffing agencies in the US, UK and other EU geographies.

Originally published Aug 13, 2021 08:08:53, updated Feb 05 2024

Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Talent Advisory, Talent Compliance, Talent Management

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