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Screening applications for student employee positions is a crucial step to ensure candidates are given a fair chance to display desired talents and potential for your job opening. After a position has been posted on IUPUITalent.net and has been made available to students through your other recruitment efforts, the screening process begins once you start reviewing application materials. 

The process of screening involves establishing criteria to objectively review application materials, conducting a review of materials, identifying candidates who qualify for an interview, and communicating with all applicants.

Establish Criteria

In order to look objectively across all applications to select the best candidates for interviews, it is important to first establish clear standards by which you will review those materials. You may determine an informal checklist approach to establish criteria that will serve the purpose of your search for a student employee. For example, you could create a short list of items like the ones below to help you review applications:

  1. Did the applicant include all required documents (e.g., resume, cover letter, references)?
  2. Did the applicant respond to the required questions in his or her cover letter?
  3. Did the applicant tailor the application materials to the position?
  4. Were spelling or grammatical errors present in application materials?
  5. Did the applicant convey a genuine interest in the position?
  6. Does the applicant possess the experience necessary for the position?
  7. Does the information on the application materials meet the requirements specified in the job posting?

You may also choose a more formalized approach by creating a rubric to guide you through reviewing application materials. A more formal approach may help provide weight to specific criterion over another. For example, one typo in a cover letter may not matter as much as whether or not the applicant conveyed how the position relates to their career goals.    

Click here and see below for a sample application and review rubric.

Evaluate Application Materials and Select Candidates to Interview

Whether you choose to evaluate application materials formally, informally, or through some type of hybrid approach, looking at all applications using a predetermined set of criteria will ensure a level of objectivity. At this step in the process, using the application review criteria, you may assign scores to applications to help determine which applicants to interview. For some, a simple “yes” and “no” pile may suffice, while those with large numbers of applicants may need to place applications in a tiered system (e.g., tier one, tier two, tier three, no).

Communicate with All Applicants

Once decisions have been made on which applicants you wish to conduct an interview with for the position, it is important to effectively communicate with all applicants. 

For candidates you intend to interview, notifying them in a timely manner ensures they are still available to consider your position. You may begin by calling or contacting them to inquire if they are still interested in the position before inviting them to schedule an interview. Doing so will help you determine whether or not you need to choose additional candidates to interview from your tiers or piles, or to post the position again for additional applications. The conversation with the applicants may include the discussion points below:

  • Ask if the applicant is still interested in the position.
  • Invite the applicant to interview for the position.
  • Offer an overview of the interview process, such as the format and who will be present.
  • Give the time frame and location of the interview.
  • Explain what the applicant should bring to the interview (e.g., proof of work-study award).
  • Ask if the applicant has any questions.

Depending on how much time has passed since the position was posted, it may be appropriate to communicate with all applicants on where you are in the process. While this could include notifying applicants they were not selected for an interview, you may decide to wait until the position has been filled in case you need to interview someone later on in the process.

If you do choose to notify candidates at this point they were not selected for an interview, it is important to use the same message for all applicants to continue equal treatment and to limit risk that comes with a desire to provide individualized feedback on application materials. See below for a sample message:


Thank you for your interest in the _____ position. At this time, we have decided to pursue other candidates whose qualifications better match our job requirements.

Thank you for the time and effort you spent in applying for this position.