A hiring manager sits down for a first round interview with a vetted candidate, but as the conversation unfolds, it becomes clear that the individual is not the right fit for the role. Then the same thing happens with the next candidate.
The culprit? Poor candidate vetting.
Talent vetting may seem like a small part of the recruiting process, but it’s far from trivial. From accelerating time to hire, to increasing offer acceptance rates, candidate vetting impacts hiring in multiple ways. But what exactly is talent vetting?
Vetting candidates is the process of screening and pre-qualifying candidates before moving them forward into the full interview process. It’s also the key moment for recruiters to learn more about a candidate beyond what can be seen on a resume alone.
When recruiters take the time up front to vet talent in a meaningful way, it sets the entire recruiting process off to a strong start and empowers recruiters to submit the best possible candidates early on to hiring managers.
In doing so, hiring managers spend less time cycling through many unqualified candidates and instead can use their time to learn more deeply about the potential candidates. There are a few key approaches to vetting great engineering talent.
When a hiring manager conducts an interview for a job opening, the last thing they want is to walk away feeling like they wasted their time interviewing an unqualified candidate. This is why recruiting and hiring can become costly and time consuming when not executed properly.
At Terminal, our vetting technique is rooted in the concept of proactive pipelining, which is when a recruiter vets talent in such a way that their pipeline is constantly filled with strong candidates.
In proactive pipelining, even if during an initial screening call a recruiter feels that a candidate isn’t the right fit for the job at hand, rather than ending the conversation then and there, they instead pivot the focus. In doing so, the recruiter uses the remaining time to learn more about the candidate with greater depth, and to assess whether the individual is a strong candidate at large. If they are, then in the big picture, the conversation is still a win.
After this vetting call, the recruiter can transition the individual into their pre-qualified candidate pipeline for when the right opportunity pops up in the future.
At its core, proactive pipelining is about cultivating great relationships with a large pool of candidates and keeping them engaged in the background for future openings. In this way, proactive pipelining is a hiring tactic that can also serve to add more humanity and empathy into recruiting, which ultimately translates into an organization’s culture.
When you proactively pipeline solid candidates, regardless of their fit for a current role, recruiters are able to avoid having to start from square one for every new search they have.
Most importantly, recruiters maintain a trusted network of quality and personally-vetted candidates in their back pocket at all times.
In addition to proactive pipelining to strengthen talent vetting, there are a few additional ways our recruiters effectively vet strong engineering talent.
One is through taking the time to truly understand a candidate’s resume and the experiences listed. Resume writing is not a strength for many people, and it’s important to ask probing questions to learn more about the candidate than what is listed on a profile. If you don’t see a critical skill or experience written on their resume, ask a deepening question to find out more before writing them off.
In this way, recruiters should use behavioral-based interview questions to dig deeper into the candidate’s background. Questions that start with “Tell me about a time…” are a great way to get a candidate to share a relevant experience or story that is typically too long to write on a resume.
Another way recruiters can vet engineering talent is by focusing on more than just the basics. Meaning, don’t only dig into a candidate’s work experience, but also make space for a candidate to talk about what they are passionate about.
Engineers tend to have many side projects and undertakings and are eager to talk about their accomplishments. Some of these examples may also demonstrate culture alignment with your organization. Without asking, this information can easily go missed.
Cultivating robust recruiter-candidate relationships from the beginning of a vetting process shows prospective talent that you have their best interests in mind, and that when you do reach out again with another opportunity, they will have greater trust that this is a role that they should truly consider.
Strong vetting practices help create a win-win for everyone involved in the recruiting process—from hiring manager, to candidate, to recruiter, because a well vetted candidate can be matched more accurately with the right job.
This all positively impacts the entire recruiting process, and often trickles down to boosting the many associated success metrics of hiring, such as offer acceptance rate, candidate satisfaction rate, hiring manager satisfaction rate, and time to hire.
As a recruiter, it always pays off to strategically and meaningful vet each candidate at hand, view them as more than just a resume, and breathe more humanity and compassion into their recruiting efforts.