PreEmployment Screening

Some Do's and Don'ts

Preemployment screening is often a necessary part of the hiring process. Screening generally goes beyond reference checks and includes checks into Educational credentials or work history and pre employment testing .

The sources of information are numerous including do it your self typing tests, online databases, calling universities, visiting social networking sites, to professional outsourced testing and verification companies. For simplicity we'll talk about testing here but it will apply to verifications as well.

Pre Employment Screening is for all employees

It is incumbent on you to do your due diligence. However, it is best not to get too carried away and of course it varies by industry. So here's some suggestions on what I've seen work and other things that are probably best for specific niche circumstances.

Reasons for PreEmployment Screening

There are a number of good reasons you should do preemployment screening. Here are a couple of examples where screening is valuable;

  • Sales position requires a go-getter personality and no fear of talking with people
  • Software position requires specific software knowledge
  • Financial position has access to corporate bank accounts
  • Data entry position requires fast accurate input of critical data
  • Visiting nurse requires state license

In each of these examples, there is a job requirement that is critical to the candidates success in the job. You are looking for specific skills, or qualities when you do your preemployment screening.

The Do's

If you are going to use tests and verifications as part of your hiring process

  • Use reputable firms or widely used services.
  • Define the screening requirements for each position at the beginning of the interview process.
  • Create a minimum acceptable criteria policy associated with all testing
  • Keep and maintain accurate records for all testing and verification.
  • Make any offer contingent on passing the tests or verifications.

Whenever there may be legal issues tied to a test or verification, it is always best to use a professional service who can lead you through the traps as they relate to employment laws. That is part of the fee you are paying them for the preemployment screening.

Again, when you get into the legal aspect of hiring people and you are using tests and verifications of qualifications as part of your hiring criteria, it is also possible that they may be disqualified because of the results.

Whenever that is a possibility, you are required to be fair to each applicant and measure them the same way. To pull this off your process must be documented, including what tests are taken and what is the acceptable level of performance.

Try to be as transparent as possible so as not to even appear as discriminatory. It will serve you well should some complain about your pre-employment screening process at some point...

The Don't s

Here are some don't s;

  • Test applicants differently
  • Subject every applicant for every position with every test and verification
  • Rely entirely on a single test result.

If you are going to test, make if fair and impartial. Let the results speak for themselves. Never give one applicant one test and another a different test for the same job.

Similarly, it is a waste of time in the name of fairness to have every applicant for every job take every test. Spend the time to carefully decide which skills and qualities are necessary. It saves time, frustration and money.

Subjective Testing

A personality test or handwriting analysis (there's even a free analysis you can try) were there are factors of subjectivity should be viewed with an open mind. There are factors in these tests that can be both subjective and temporary. Obviously someone going through stresses such the loss of a loved one will not be their normal self. It will show in these types of tests. So take the information received as an indicator as opposed to a hard fact. Fold it into the overall picture you have of the candidate.

Finally, keep it fair, document your process and keep good records and you should be able to get good information from your preemployment screening.

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