Pre-Employment Screening Process and Methods

Kelly Cantwell

Pre-employment screening can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring process by helping you and your team make informed, objective decisions about who should make your shortlist and, ultimately, who you want to hire.

What is pre-employment screening?

Pre-employment screening is the process of evaluating your job candidates and determining their fit for the role before making a hiring decision.

It entails reviewing a candidate's resume and application materials, then using pre-employment tests, background checks, and other methods to verify their skills and the information they've provided.

Why you should always screen job candidates

The minimal time and effort it takes to include pre-employment screening in your hiring process will reduce your risks and save you considerable costs in the long run.

A bad hire is a waste of the time and money spent on recruiting, training, and paying someone who ultimately leaves your organization. They can also have a negative effect on culture, morale, and productivity. With a bad hire, you may even lose customers and suffer damage to your company's reputation.

Employment screening is an objective, fair, and efficient way to prevent mistakes and find strong members for your team.

7-step process of pre-employment screening

Pre employment screening process.

Things like checking references and performing background checks are only part of what a pre-employment screening process is. To be effective, you should integrate pre-employment testing in the right spot in your process. The following time-tested steps will help you quickly find and hire the best candidate.

  1. Review resumes and cover letters to select applicants that meet minimum requirements

    The first step in employee screening is to determine the minimum qualifications for the job. This will allow you to quickly sort through resumes, identify candidates who meet the basic requirements, and develop an effective shortlist. Some companies use software to perform the initial sorting, but human eyes should always be a vital part of the process.

  2. Perform initial phone screenings to refine your list of applicants

    After you have a list of potential candidates, you will want to do another round of employee screening through phone calls and short phone interviews. You can quickly assess a large number of people over the phone, get a feel for their personality and abilities that can't be conveyed on a resume, and avoid common problems with the interview process that can bog you down later.

  3. Test skills and aptitude to verify qualifications

    Your pre-employment screening should test both skills and aptitudes. With skills assessments, you are measuring the mastery of learned abilities acquired through training and on-the-job experience. On the other hand, aptitude tests measure the natural abilities and potential of a candidate. You are testing their capacity to think and reason and their facility in acquiring new skills, solving problems, and adapting to new situations.

  4. Assess personality to ensure role and culture fit

    Employment screening should include a personality test that can help you assess a candidate's cultural fit in your organization. You may also want to test candidate values with an integrity test to gain insight into how a person may deal with challenging choices and situations. These tests help you find people who will work well on your teams and who will be a positive reflection of your company values.

  5. Interview your top candidates

    Including pre-employment checks and tests early in your pre-employment screening process ensures that you use your valuable interview time on the most promising candidates. Employee screening and workplace assessments remove people who may not be great fits early in your process.

    Working with Hire Success®, you can customize the questions on the tests you administer based on your company's specific culture, industry, and needs. You'll be able to truly fine-tune your pre-employment screening to fit your job opening and your company.

  6. Check references and verify work history

    This is an essential step in the pre-employment hiring process. You can make sure candidates have the experience they say they do, and you can identify red flags and possible problems they have had in previous jobs.

    Talking to people who personally know a candidate will give you invaluable insights into who they are and what they can do for your company. You will reduce hiring risks by taking the time to perform these pre-employment checks.

  7. Perform a background check to prevent legal issues

    A comprehensive background check will further reduce your risks. You will also be able to verify employment, education, and licenses. The more you know about a job candidate ahead of hiring them, the lower your chances of making a potentially expensive mistake.

Legal considerations

Your pre-employment screening needs to comply with employment law so that you are not at risk of being accused of discrimination and unfair hiring practices. Some people wonder if employment testing is legal.

Generally speaking, the tests are legal, but you can run into trouble if you don't administer them fairly or use them properly. Hire Success® can help by ensuring your pre-employment screening process is both legally compliant and effective.

How long does pre-employment screening take?

Pre-employment testing doesn't slow the hiring process. In fact, taking the time to administer pre-employment tests shortens each step, while improving your overall hiring effectiveness.

In today's competitive job market, the best candidates won't wait for an offer. If you can't move quickly, you'll likely lose them. These tips for speeding up hiring ensure your process is efficient by helping you identify strong candidates so you can quickly build your team with confidence.

We invite you to connect with us to learn how pre-employment screening can help you find and focus on the best job candidates.

Kelly Cantwell

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Get our stories delivered

From us to your inbox weekly.