It would be nice to think that every applicant to a job opening at your business is always telling the truth in their resumes, during their interviews, and throughout the hiring process. Unfortunately, while the vast majority of job-seekers are sincere and forthright about their backgrounds, a small minority aren’t—and these are the individuals that businesses must watch out for, any way they can.
The best way to discern the legitimacy of a job-seeker’s background, and likely future performance, is through comprehensive employee screening and conducting thorough background checks. The benefits of the process are clear-cut:
- Only the most qualified candidates move ahead through the hiring process.
- These candidates, if hired, are more likely to continue working for the organization long-term.
- Employee morale is increased by the presence of talented, hardworking new hires.
If you plan to hire in 2021, here are employee vetting tips to keep in mind:
1. Add screener questions to your job descriptions.
A well-crafted job description is your first start in the vetting process. The hiring site Indeed suggests adding screener questions to the posting. These questions “help ensure that candidates have the years of experience, certifications and hard or soft skills” needed for the job. Candidates “must answer screener questions before they can submit their application, which means you can quickly identify the most promising candidates.”
The recruiting software firm Lever offers these screener question samples:
- What in your current and prior work experience makes you the right fit for us?
- What is one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
- What does your preferred work environment look like?
Getting to know the applicant through questions around “skills, desired culture and management style is a great way to determine fit from the start.”
2. Conduct a thorough background check.
Background checks consume time and resources you may think are better spent elsewhere—but, in fact, they can prevent your hiring team from making the costly mistake of hiring the wrong person. Criteria for a proper background check include:
- Searching out any criminal history
- Verifying credit references and work history
- Confirming the validity of professional licenses and certifications
The information gathered from this process can help you avoid hiring the wrong person for the job.
3. Dig deep in the interview.
An in-person job interview should never be taken lightly or regarded as a dreary step in the hiring process. On the contrary, this is the best time to assess the job candidate in terms of his or her ability to articulate their past work experience, answer questions spontaneously, and demonstrate some “soft” skills. Key action steps include:
- Develop a set of relevant interview questions ahead of time.
- Be sure to ask the same set of questions with every job candidate
- Talk about your organization, its needs and challenges, as well as your workplace culture.
As for specific topics designed to elicit the most informative responses, here are examples of what to request of each candidate:
- Describe the skills you have that make you the most qualified for the position.
- Talk about your professional achievements.
- Offer insights into your workplace preferences (i.e., working independently or in a more collaborative mode).
Ask the candidate why they left their previous employer. According to Small Business Sense, it’s a tricky question “because nobody wants to bad-mouth a previous employer or boss,” but the answer you get “will help you identify red flags, such as complaining endlessly about the workload of the boss—responses that show the applicant isn’t the best fit for a demanding job.”
Want more expert hiring information? Register for our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Recruiting Employees When People are Scarce.”