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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Only one in five Human Resource (HR) professionals are “fully confident” in the overall ability of their employers to “effectively assess the skills of entry-level applicants” when screening new hires despite the fact that most of these applicants possess many of the important skills employers value, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Mercer.

The SHRM/Mercer Entry-Level Applicant Job Skills Survey found most employers rely on longstanding methods of screening entry-level job applicants – with 95 percent using in-person interviews, 87 percent using application reviews, and 86 percent using resume reviews – despite nearly one-half of HR professionals having little or no confidence in application reviews and resume reviews.

The SHRM/Mercer survey findings indicate a need for new and more effective approaches to entry-level selection. For screening methods supported by empirical research, less than half of companies – 42 percent – use selection tests, 13 percent use personality tests, 10 percent use cognitive ability tests, and 2 percent use online simulations to select entry-level employees.

The survey found the need for more effective approaches to entry-level screening includes “innovative assessment approaches that take advantage of advanced technologies, such as machine learning algorithms, gamification, and high-fidelity simulations” that should have a positive impact on the assessment and selection processes for applicants at all job levels.

According to the survey, about one-half of HR professionals – 47 percent – indicate a career-related internship by an entry-level applicant is extremely valuable in determining if the applicant is a strong candidate. In addition, 39 percent of HR professionals said having held a job outside of school is the second most valued experience.

The SHRM/Mercer Survey funded by the Joyce Foundation was administered to a randomly selected sample of SHRM members involved in their company’s entry-level screening process. More information about the survey is available at:

Background Checks Big Part of Entry Level Screening Process

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a leading global background check provider than can help HR professionals screen job applicants in the entry-level screening process. ESR is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). To learn more about background screening services from ESR, please call 888.999.4474 or visit

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