What are pre-employment screening checks and how do they work?
Pre employment screening checks are a series of checks carried out by companies to reduce the risk of employing people who will not be able to fulfil their job role or present an intrinsic risk to your business.
Anyone working for you is your responsibility, and if they fail in their duty you will suffer the cost and repercussions so it makes sense to do some screening beforehand.
Why should you have your employees screened before hiring them?
Before employing new employees, you want to conduct a few pre-employment screening checks. This is an easy way to prevent possible risks associated with hiring a new person.
For example, if you don’t conduct pre-employment screening checks, it is likely that there will be additional costs or problems further down the line. You may discover your company has hired someone who doesn’t have the Right To Work in the UK (or any other country). You might find they’ve got a bad record at their previous job or were fired for negligence or gross misconduct. Perhaps they’ve even been arrested or charged for criminal activity in the past but haven’t disclosed this information on their application form.
There are plenty of reasons why background checks can help boost applicants’ chances of getting hired. For example, you’re almost certain that your new employee is not associated with:
- Payroll fraud;
- Theft or embezzlement of company’s funds;
- Violation of health and safety laws;
- Subject to law enforcement or regulatory sanctions;
- Criminal convictions.
How to get started with a pre-employment verification process?
Some companies have their own in-house personnel department whose job description includes doing background checks on each new employee before they are hired. If this is the case for you, then make sure that this process of pre-employment screening starts as soon as possible: ideally at the very beginning of any recruitment program. To do so, it helps if HR managers work closely with hiring managers – you should sit down together and discuss what information each position needs to know before they make any offers.
If you are going to conduct this process yourself, or if your company is small enough that each manager does it themselves, then it helps to prepare a checklist with essential information for all positions that require pre-employment screening.
The first step in the employee screening process should always be ensuring that all applicants have submitted an application for your vacancy and provided correct data. Next, make sure you thoroughly review CVs, covering letters, and social media channels such as LinkedIn before scheduling interviews.
This is especially important if you’ve received applications from multiple candidates for one position – this way you can compare all the candidates’ qualifications and narrow your search to those that are best suited for your vacancy.
Pre-employment screening checks also involve a variety of activities: verifying information, checking references and performing background checks. After this step is concluded, you can make an informed decision about who should be hired based on your criteria.
Getting started with the process is easy – just follow these 7 steps:
1. Verify information on CVs and application forms
The applicants have already provided plenty of information to you when they sent their CV or completed an application form so now it’s time to take advantage of this data. One way to do this is by cross referencing the information presented in each candidate’s CV against online sources such as Google or social networks like Facebook or Linkedin.
While it’s true that not all applicants can be verified this way, you should still try to cross reference relevant information – like previous job titles and responsibilities if they were mentioned in the candidate’s CV or application. Other pieces of information such as location of schools or universities attended are also worth checking.
2. Perform reference checks
If you feel certain that a certain candidate would make a great addition to your team based on their CV and interview performance, then one of the next things you should consider is doing a reference check. This ensures that the individual has worked where they say they have, and for whom they say they have. You can ask them about their duties, former colleagues and managers, work environment, compensation package, etc. Sometimes this can be a good way to learn if the applicant is honest and reliable or not.
TIP: The references should come from former employers and direct line managers if possible.
References should go back a minimum of five years but maybe longer depending on your company’s recruitment policy and procedures.
In addition, it is recommended checking at least three of these sources so you can compare their opinions about the candidate.
The more people you speak with, the more likely you’ll find out whether they are fit for a position at your company or not.
Keep in mind that any past behavior may become an issue in the future; therefore one reference check will usually not be enough to verify all details provided by applicants on their CV’s or applications. If something doesn’t seem right then try calling another source.
3. Perform a background check
Employers should never be afraid to verify the information they get from applicants or their references. While it is true that some candidates have falsified information, these are not the norm. A background check can provide you with enough insight into your applicant’s past employment history and verify all of the information included in their CV and application form as well as uncover any discrepancies between them.
Pre-employment screening checks also involve other activities, such as checking previous addresses and making sure that they match what applicants put on their forms – some people may even move to another address because of work, so a professional will find out about this fact by performing a comprehensive check into an applicant’s previous location(s).
Perform screening of the candidate against publicly available criminal, regulatory, sanctions and politically exposed persons (PEPs) lists along with adverse media checks. This ensures the candidate doesn’t pose a risk of committing fraud, been charged with bribery, has previous criminal convictions or is a serial sex offender.
Having all of the information necessary to make hiring decisions will go a long way towards improving the overall efficiency of your staff and helping you make better choices about who deserves to be part of your team.
4. Don’t rely on intuition alone when hiring!
Many people choose their employees based on their gut feelings but doing so may prove problematic, especially if there are other applicants with more professional profiles or backgrounds; employers risk making bad hiring decisions because they’re under pressure to pick someone fast instead of taking time to check their references or perform a background check.
There are many ways you can improve your hiring process, one of which is by using an applicant tracking system, also called ATS or recruitment software. Using this system, you will be able to store all information about each application in a database.
Among the data that you’ll be able to have access to could be previous job titles and responsibilities as well as employment dates and contact details (including emails) for former supervisors from all the past jobs listed on their CV’s. This way, candidates who don’t look like they fit the position based on intuition will have another chance to prove themselves – through running additional checks.
TIP: If an applicant seems too good to be true, there’s a high probability of having something negative in their background.
5. Ask the right questions on job applications
Ask the right questions on job applications to verify the information you receive from applicants and their references while conducting a background check
Make sure that candidates answer all of the questions that are presented on your application forms; otherwise, you may have trouble verifying some of those answers later on during an employer verification or a background check!
Also, if you’re not able to find out whether someone is truthful when they complete your employment application then why would it be any different after hiring them?
It’s always best to validate this type of information as soon as possible – such checks should be done before making any decisions about who gets hired! If employees don’t provide you with enough time to accomplish this, it could result in bad hiring decisions being made.
6. Check the information that applicants have provided on their CVs
Pre-employment screening involves a lot of additional research that should be done after an offer is accepted – at this point, human resources managers will most likely need access to some type of applicant tracking system (some of them are free) where they can store all info about each candidate’s previous job history and contact details for former supervisors.
Candidates’ full names, addresses (both from current and past locations), phone numbers, email addresses should also be part of the stored data. This way, if you cannot get in touch with past employers to verify information on references, you will be able to ask the candidate for the contact details of former supervisors and use those methods (phone calls and emails) in order to get more information about an applicant.
Use the information provided by the candidate to perform an ID verification check to ensure their documents are authentic and the person is really who they claim to be.
7. Find out if potential employees have unpredictable habits that interfere with their job performance
If you’re hiring for positions where there is access to cash or company computers or anything else that could prove costly if it were lost due to theft, then conducting a thorough background check should be done before making any offers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry; otherwise you may end up being liable for any financial losses. Credit reference checks can highlight if a person has debt or previous financial difficulties which may be a cause for concern.
What care should be taken when carrying out Pre Employment Screening?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires any company looking at personal information, such as staffing agencies, to keep track of the data they have stored and not to store data for longer than necessary. This means that if you are checking whether a person has a previous conviction or they have committed any other type of offense, then always remember that you need to ask for their consent in order for you to look at this information – otherwise, it will be regarded as illegal.
Checking an applicant’s work and education history
As mentioned above, applicants’ work histories should be verified before making any hiring decisions; however, don’t stop there! You also have to make sure that all of the information on your candidates’ CVs is authentic and not fabricated, so carry out thorough background checks to cross-check dates from previous jobs with the data you found while calling references.
Pre Employment Screening checks should be carried out only on candidates who have provided their full and willing consent. The Civil Service also has rules concerning background checks when appointing certain jobs such as Police or Teaching, so they are always worth checking with a legal expert before employing anyone into these positions.
The benefits of having an employee background check done on your potential hires
The biggest benefits of doing a background screening before hiring someone are the risks that are reduced to a minimum. This is because you can be sure that the person applying for the job actually has the necessary qualifications and skills required for performing it. Most importantly, it will save you from any potential lawsuit in case of unfair dismissal or discrimination.
Another big plus is the fact that there is no need to worry about potential fraud, theft or any other offenses carried out by your staff. After all, this would not only put you in a difficult situation but also damage the company’s reputation and rapport with clients.
How to increase the efficiency of the pre-employment screening process?
It’s important to know who you’re talking to before hiring them. If they lie about their identity, what else are they hiding? It’s important to ensure the identity of potential employees is verified before they are hired.
A lot of pre-employment checks don’t include an ID verification, but this can be a great addition since you’ll have peace in knowing who you’re hiring. It doesn’t cost much and will help you determine if the candidate should proceed with evaluations or not based on their honesty about something so basic as their name.
Identity verification is an inexpensive step that can be taken in the pre-employment process and will help employers decide whether or not someone should proceed through with further evaluations.
Don’t hire someone based on false information!
Pre-employment screening includes taking into consideration the information that applicants provide about themselves on their CVs in order to verify it – this helps to make sure you’re not making any hiring decisions based on false information.
Identity verification is one way to make sure that the person you’re interviewing for your company is who they say they are. You’ll want to verify their ID before beginning any other type of pre-employment or candidate screening process.
Because if someone lies about something as basic as their name or even their gender, then how do you know what else might be hidden?