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Division of Human Resources

Screening Tools

Finding the best candidate to interview starts by narrowing down the applicant pool. 

The Screening Process (for the Columbia Campus Only)

The USC Jobs system automatically screens applicants to determine if they are qualified for a position based on answers they provide during the application process.

  • The Office of Talent Acquisition assigns educational and experience related questions to all newly posted staff positions that assess the minimum qualification requirements.
  • In addition, hiring managers are welcome to develop preferred qualifications and specific job related questions that applicants are required to answer as they apply. Prescreening questions can help narrow the pool.

Veteran's Preference Hiring Initiative

In conjunction with the Veteran’s Preference Hiring Initiative implemented by the South Carolina Department of Administration, the University of South Carolina provides employment preference to eligible veterans during the interviewing process. 

What this means: At least one qualified veteran is required to be interviewed for every FTE (full-time equivalent) position posted, unless there are no qualified veterans in the applicant pool. This includes both faculty and staff positions. 

  • All faculty and staff FTE applications have veteran preference questions assigned to determine if they are eligible for the preference.

Please review the Recruiting Veteran's section of our website to understand the procedures for applying the preference and how to interpret military experience. 

Narrowing the Pool 

The hiring manager will be able to view all applicants who are qualified based on their answers to the qualifying questions. Hiring managers must carefully review the applications to ensure those chosen to be interviewed meet the minimum requirements and that their noted experience is relevant for the job. These basic guidelines [pdf] and other tools are provided to assist in that process. If you still have too many qualified candidates, consider a brief telephone interview.

Pro tip: When reviewing applications and resumes, approach the process with methods that reduce bias. This enhances fairness and often results in a more inclusive applicant pool. 

  • Candidates should be screened based on job related criteria listed in the minimum qualifications.
  • Utilize standardized review templates to screen candidates.
  • Do not introduce new criteria once screening begins.
  • Preferred qualifications can be taken into consideration but not during the initial screening process.

Screening an applicant’s social media can be a legal risk if the information is misused and can perpetuate bias in the hiring process. 

  • Focus only on objective and professional information regarding the candidates.
  • Do not make assumptions. Social media profiles can be misleading or inaccurate.
  • Be consistent. All candidates' social media must be reviewed if used as a screening tool.
  • Do not use social media as the initial step of the screening process.
  • Do not base hiring decisions solely on social media screening.
  • Do not gravitate towards similarities based on social media information as it could result in confirmation or "similar to me" bias.
  • Do not use social media to try and gain a visual of the applicants prior to the interview as it can lead to age, race and gender discrimination.
  • Social media screening could lead to discrimination on protected characteristics.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.