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Earlier this year, AU Human Resources upgraded our applicant tracking system (ATS) to PeopleAdmin’s latest version, SelectSuite 7. With this upgrade, we are better managing recruiting and applicant tracking functions for Staff, Administrative/Professional, and Temporary Employment (TES) jobs.

In this “Good to Know!”, we would like to share some information about an important process change that ensures that job applications are available for departmental review much quicker.  Our ATS now utilizes two different types of screening questions to help determine which applicants should progress in the application process.  The two types of screening questions that can and should be utilized in the application process are knockout and supplemental questions.

Knockout questions

Knockout questions immediately eliminate applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications of a job. These questions require a yes/no response, with specific answers resulting in disqualification from further consideration.  If an applicant’s answers to the knockout questions do not disqualify them, the application is immediately forwarded to the department for further consideration.   Here is an example of a knockout question: Do you have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution?

Supplemental questions     

Supplemental questions gather more detailed information from applicants about their experience, training, and ability to perform the position’s essential functions. Responses are evaluated to determine the candidates who are most qualified for the position, and aid in narrowing the pool to individuals who should be invited to interview.

A candidate should describe their experience, including the depth of their experience, in their answers. When a candidate can provide specific examples, it provides a clear picture of the value that they can bring to a department.

When a candidate answers a supplemental question, it is important to ensure that the experience they describe is also listed on the application. Here are some examples:

  • Describe a situation where you have applied knowledge of information technology principles and applications, computer system management methodologies, and new technologies.

  • In which of your position(s) did you obtain this experience?

If a candidate refers to work experience or training that is not listed on the application, then that experience should not be evaluated.

Notification to Human Resources

With this new process change, you must notify your assigned Employment Specialist when you are at the pre-interview/interview stage, and before interviews begin. This will help ensure that we can accurately and “defensibly document” that those invited for interviews meet all minimum qualifications and to identify any individuals who may be restricted or barred from employment with Auburn University. Additionally, we can help you prepare for documenting all reasons for selection and non-selection of your applicant pools.

In closing

How applicants answers knockout questions will determine if their application materials will be forwarded for review.  And while responses to supplemental questions do not disqualify a candidate, they are used to help hiring managers assess which candidates have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the position and which candidates should be invited to interview.

Last updated: 01/10/2023