Pre-screening your job applicants is essential!

Although it’s best to keep your hiring process quite fluid, so that you can modify it over time, if you’re looking for some guidelines on virtual applicant screening, for assembling a high quality virtual squad, we have listed a 7-step process below that we have used in the real world to great effect.

We take you through the pre employment screening process with some typical responses from a position we advertised and filled.

1. List Your Ad

List your ad on some job sites that you like to use e.g. Remember to be as specific as possible with your job description and include a few questions that respondents need to answer for their application to be considered. This shows that they are paying attention to what’s required, which will be an important characteristic in the future.

2. Collect Resumes

Collect applications and resumes that people submit. We received 121 responses to our job posting, but this will vary with how specific you are in your ad, whether it’s a specialist task, or whether it’s a long-term position on offer. Ours was the latter.

3. Pre-screen Applicants And Send Off A Questionnaire

Pre-screening can start with discarding any applications that haven’t responded to the questions you asked. You will be looking for past experience and how well they have presented themselves in their cover letter. We chose 15 applicants that we sent questionnaires to, with a view to assessing communication skills and finding out a bit more about them and their salary expectations.

4. Collect Returned Questionnaires

We received 11 questionnaires back from the 15 that we sent out. When the questionnaires come back you can firstly eliminate any from applicants whose salary expectations are “off the chart”. Next, assess how well they have answered the questions and maybe narrow it down to 5 or 6 who you can give a trial to.

5. Assign Tasks And Set Up the Trial

The tasks you assign for the trial can be relatively simple and can be set either by your business or outsourced to a web site like which will set and manage the task and allow you to see how each applicant fared. This is important in assessing the applicant’s real-world ability on a given task. It won’t tell you everything you need to know, but will give you a guideline to their capabilities. We assigned tasks to 5 applicants.

6. Conduct Interviews

The next step is to conduct Skype-style interviews with those who completed the task(s) the best. We gave interviews to 3 people and it’s an essential step to getting to know that person a little better.

7. Hire!

You’re all set to hire. We ended up hiring a permanent staff member who is still with us and someone who we kept on the virtual team bench, with the agreement that we would assign tasks to them if they were available and if any future opportunities came up they would be a candidate.

Learn more about how you can approach job applicant screening so that you can hire the best virtual team and virtual “squad”.  Visit our YouTube channel at to watch some of our outsourcing tips.

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