Pre-Screening Candidates: 3 Ways to Help Make the Right Hiring Decision

SHRM's position on background checks differs little from the Chamber of Commerce. (Photo illustration by Dreamstime).

Providing a safe and secure work environment is a top priority for companies these days due to concern of increased workplace violence, fraud, and misconduct.

With the unemployment rate and the state of the economy, people need jobs and are at times willing to say whatever they need to in order to get one. It is hard to rely on your feelings and instincts alone these days. As an employer it’s becoming necessary to take it a step further and pre-screen your candidates for the safety of your employees and company’s reputation.

There are three key ways pre-screening can truly help you make the right hiring decision:

1. Weed out the liars

With a job market that is so competitive in this economy, people are embellishing their resumes and experiences in their interviews more than ever. In fact, according to a recent study by Jobacle, 43 percent of people lie on their resume. The five most common areas that this happens in are:

  • Salary (27 percent);
  • Time spent in a job (15 percent);
  • Skills (17 percent);
  • Previous job responsibilities (19 percent); and,
  • Credentials (12 percent).

If you thoroughly check the references and ask questions based on all the items above, then you can weed out the people who are not truthful. If they lie so easily now, they may put your company in jeopardy later.

2. Focusing on an individual’s temperament

It’s hard to know who you are dealing with until you see someone really get mad. Workplace violence is at an all-time high. The U. S. Department of Labor reports that of the 4,547 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2010, 506 were workplace homicides and nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year.

Those are some sobering and scary numbers. What can you do to make sure you do not put your employees at risk? Do background checks. Just be careful that you do not get caught up in a discrimination suit due to your non-hire after the background check.

According to an article on The Proactive Employer, “Employers must demonstrate consideration of the following factors to determine if a decision not to hire an applicant with a criminal conviction is justified by business necessity: the nature and gravity of the offense or offenses, the time that has passed since conviction or completion of sentence, and the nature of the job held or sought.”

3. Personality is an important component of job fit

You should really try to get to know the personality characteristics of a person before you hire them. The best ways you can do this is to talk to them before you bring them in.

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At bare minimum you can do a phone interview; however another option providing a more in depth screening is to conduct an online video interview. This will save you time and money, and give you a closer look into the candidate’s personality that you can’t find in a paper resume alone.

These areas are going to be your best course of action to make sure that you protect your company from fraudulent employees and your current employees from violent people. You should always take every precaution to maintain a safe workplace, but it is more important now than ever. Don’t get caught hiring out of desperation.

Are you prepared to pre-screen your candidates? What measures will you take above to help find the right people for your positions?