Tired of Unqualified Applicants? Here Are 3 Ways to Prescreen Your Candidates

Prescreening candidates lets you learn more about them. Gaining insight into their character, work ethic, history, skills, and personality helps you determine which candidate is most qualified to fill a role. Since you have limited time to select which candidates to meet with, you have to reduce the number down to a select few.

Here are three ways to prescreen candidates.

Cover Letters

Skim cover letters to learn more about a candidate. Along with showing off their writing skills, a cover letter demonstrates how well a candidate follows directions. You might ask them to include why they’re best suited for a role, what excited them about your company, or how they can contribute to your team. If a candidate doesn’t perform as requested, odds are they’ll have difficulty following directions at work. To show respect for your time, the cover letter should be no more than two pages. It should demonstrate how the candidate thinks and what their personality is like. The cover letter needs to be tailored for the position to show the candidate put thought into it.


Scan resumes to determine a candidate’s skills, training, work history, and other qualifications. Pay attention to their level of detail, organization style, professionalism, writing skills, and style. These provide information about the candidate’s abilities and potential fit with your company. The resume should be neatly organized and easy to read and understand. No spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors should be present. Determine whether relevant work experience, along with months and years spent in each role is listed. The resume must be tailored to the position to show a desire for the job. Use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to manage resume submissions.


Schedule a phone or video interview to learn more about a candidate. This lets you evaluate their communication and presentation skills. Ask questions to determine what they know about your company. If they don’t know much about your products or services, they didn’t research your organization before talking with you. This implies that the candidate doesn’t take initiative or use problem-solving skills. Use the same list of questions for every candidate. This lets you evaluate them against each other based on information about the same topics. If you record the interview, let the candidate know. Otherwise, take notes on the candidate’s replies to your questions.

For a video interview, focus on how the candidate behaves and what their body language is like. Include whether they smile a lot and seem confident. Notice whether the environment is quiet and cleaned up or noisy and full of clutter. This shows how seriously the candidate takes your company and the role. If you’re short on time, send the candidate a list of questions to respond to on video and send it to you.

Prescreen Candidates Through Barracuda Staffing

Trust Barracuda Staffing to prescreen candidates for you. We can source and screen talent for you, or screen the candidates you find yourself. Contact us to learn more today.

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