Screening Applicants

You have recruited a crop of candidates for review. Now what?

Screening applicants is the process of first determining which applicants are qualified, and then narrowing the list to the ones who best suit your needs: the ones you want to interview. During this period, you will need to:

  • Follow up with applicants. Design a strategy to efficiently and thoroughly follow up with candidates.
  • Identify candidates to interview. If you haven't developed an applicant screening procedure, do it right away!
  • Refer applicants who don't suit your needs. Have a system in place to refer qualified candidates who may not best fit your program to other opportunities (e.g., AmeriCorps* State, Senior Corps, etc.)
  • Prepare for interviews. Have an effective interviewing process in place that allows thorough assessment of the candidate's abilities, interests, and commitment and which ensures interview questions and scenarios are legal and appropriate.

These tools can help you screen applicants:

  • VISTA Prescreening Form Sample (PDF) is a sample form used by a sponsor program to screen applicants who apply online, contributed by Family-School-Community Partnerships.
  • Collect Application Forms includes two examples of forms with program-specific questions to help gather useful information from candidates, contributed by YES AmeriCorps Sample #1 (PDF), Sample #2 (PDF). 
  • Applicant Screening Form (PDF) is an example of a process used by one program to evaluate candidates across a number of categories, contributed by Northwest Service Academy.
  • Establish an Applicant Evaluation Process (PDF) includes tips for establishing criteria for candidate selection, contributed by Northwest Service Academy.
  • What to Look for in an Applicant (PDF) is a list of questions that can help you determine if applicants have what it takes to be a member, contributed by Northwest Service Academy.
  • Screening VISTA Applications (PDF) is a collection of forms and tips on how to narrow the list of VISTA applicants, contributed by Minnesota Literacy Council.
  • Pre-screen Applicants by Phone (PDF) is a script for phone interviews that can help you reduce the number of face-to-face interviews, contributed by Illinois Public Health AmeriCorps.

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