Why you should perform a pre-employment screening

September 8, 2022
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Mikaella McInerney
Why you should perform a pre-employment screening

You have a candidate you’re super excited about. You have a job opening perfect for them. And your organization is getting antsy for the new hire to get started and make things happen! It’s one of the most energetic and high pressure moments in the recruiting process, when you feel that you’ve found the perfect match, which makes slowing down to conduct a pre-employment screening process unappealing.

But cross-checking details supplied in your candidate’s resume or having access to credible reference data is essential to ensuring a successful hire. Never forget the dangers of moving too fast to hire a candidate. You could be missing crucial data, hiring a dishonest person, or even leaving yourself open to a negligent hire lawsuit. That makes pre-employment screening an integral part of the recruitment process.

Read on for everything you need to know about what pre-employment screening is, key tips on pre-employment check examples, and why it’s important to do.

What is pre-employment screening?

Pre-employment screening is a broad term. At its most general, it means everything you do to check a candidate is who they say they are. This includes CV screening, personality tests, interviews, talent assessment tests, reference checks, and more. Sometimes, when people talk about pre-employment screening, they mean the specific moment in a recruitment process where you check that everything the candidate has told you is true: for example, verifying their employment and education history.

In this article, we’ll walk you through both general and specific pre-employment screening checks you can do to ensure that you cover all your bases!

Important pre-employment check examples

Verifying CV details

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that people lie. Some lies are big ones: maybe a candidate claims they have a degree that they don’t! Others are smaller but still worrying: perhaps a candidate is exaggerating a prior promotion, or claiming expertise with a tool they are only intermediate with. These false claims will, of course, have an impact on their work, so you need to verify each of the candidate’s claims on a CV, from their educational history to their professional background.

On top of this, i’s important to make sure that the person you’re hiring isn’t dishonest, not just because they might not have the right qualification or professional experience, but because dishonesty is a red flag that signals they might not make a good employee.

Reference checks

There’s no one who can offer as good an insight on what your candidate is like in the workplace as someone who has already worked with them! Never forget the cautionary tale of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who hired a COO without checking his references and ended up having to pay $109 million when she fired him a year later after discovering his poor professional skills and difficult personality. Someone might look great on paper but still not be the right fit for your company, which is why reference checks are essential.

Reference checks are crucial, but they are also a minefield. You need to make sure you’re asking the right questions in the right way, avoiding bias, and more. Check out our guide to the best employee reference questions to get you started.

Criminal record check

In some industries, criminal record checks are a legal requirement before you extend an official offer to a candidate. In others, it’s simply a good idea, so that you can review which criminal histories are relevant to the position you want to fill. There’s a lot of legislation around the correct way to conduct criminal record checks depending upon both the country and state you live in, so make sure you’ve researched your responsibilities and obligations thoroughly. A criminal record check is one of the best ways to protect your company against a negligent hire accusation.

Personality tests

Of course, a job-seeking candidate is always going to want to present the best version of themselves to you. The person you actually work with from day to day will have flaws, as we all do! Personality tests are a great way to get a sense of your candidate’s behavioral tendencies as well as their strengths and weaknesses. You can use personality tests to predict a candidate’s job performance and improve workplace synergy once they’re in the role.

Why should recruiters conduct pre-employment screening?

Pre-employment screening is good for the candidate, the recruiter, and the organization itself. Here's why.

Pre-employment screening saves your company time, money, and reputation

A mis-hire is expensive in more ways than one. In the US, a study from SHRM found that the total costs associated with individual turnovers can range from 90 to 200% of that employee’s annual salary. At the same time, having to continually hire new candidates for the same positions creates more work for your hiring team, and a candidate who only remains in the position for a few months or even a year creates additional work via onboarding and offboarding. Finally, a bad employee in a client-facing position can do damage to your organization’s reputation, making it all the more important that you hire the right person in the first place. Hiring the wrong person is simply too great a cost to skip pre-employment screening!

Pre-employment screening offers reliable, bias-free and data-driven insights into your candidate

Humans are fallible, and bias is baked into the way we live. It’s all too easy for a hiring team to make a decision based on biased strategies including “gut feel” or the idea that a candidate is similar to other employees. But relying less on individual impressions of a candidate and more on the objective results of pre-screening checks and tests ensures that you have a fair and well-rounded picture of every candidate applying for the role. That means that you can compare candidates against one another and get a more accurate sense of how they’ll perform in the role.

Pre-employment screening takes the pressure off the recruiter

The hiring team is under a lot of pressure to find the right person for the role. Pre-employment checks make their life much easier by providing objective and accurate insights, making it simpler to cross off candidates who don’t fit the role and narrow down the candidates who will perform well. Although pre-employment screening tests might seem like they’ll take more time, they actually make your recruitment process more efficient by cutting down on comparison time and offering a higher quality of hire.

Pre-employment screening is too significant to skip… but we can make it simple.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work your recruitment process needs? Save time and money by using HiPeople’s pre-employment screening tests, from personality assessments to reference checks and more, to avoid mis-hires and find the right candidates for your company. Book a demo today.

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