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Christine Lagendyk | 18 March, 2021
Hiring employees is one of the biggest challenges businesses face. It’s time consuming, costly, and risky. So, when it comes time to finding your next employee, you’ll want to get it right.

While interviews are useful, they don’t paint a complete picture. Pre-employment screening looks at employment and credit histories, education, criminal convictions, and other details relevant to the performance of an employee. 

What is revealed by the screening could be critical information that will give you deeper insight on a candidate’s overall suitability. And advertising that pre-employment screening is part of your application process will likely discourage dishonest candidates from applying, resulting in a pool of higher quality applicants.

Implementing a pre-employment screening process as part of your hiring practice is a cost-effective investment that will result in more successful hiring decisions. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of essential pre-employment screening steps to add to your hiring process, and a list of supplemental steps that you can incorporate if your job posting, or industry, warrants it.

7 Essential Pre-Employment Screening Steps

Pre-employment screening and employment history verification are the most effective ways to uncover fraudulent claims by job applicants.

Completing these 7 essential steps will give you a more accurate assessment of your candidates, allowing you to screen out undesirable characteristics so that you’re left with high caliber prospects to choose from.

1 - Interviews

An effective interview will ensure candidates meet your criteria. In addition to education and job experience, prepare a list of required qualifications and construct relevant questions. 

2- Reference Checks

Reference checks are a powerful screening tool as they often yield vital information about an applicant. By speaking with former employers, you can gain valuable perspective on a candidate’s strengths and limitations.

3- Employment History

Contact past employers to confirm dates and positions held. Having an applicant provide pay stubs or W-2s (with compensation information redacted) will keep the screening process moving if you’re unable to reach a former employer or if the company is no longer in business. 

4- Identification & Social Security Number Verification

Identity verification cross-references information provided by an applicant against a government database. This helps to establish that the information you’ve been given is accurate. 

A Social Security Number verification will confirm if a SSN is valid, who it belongs to, which state it was issued in and approximately which year, and if the number belongs to a deceased person. 

5- Education Confirmation

Education checks are more important than ever thanks to the rise of diploma mills. While such organizations may appear legitimate, they are unaccredited and issue illegitimate degrees for a fee.  

An education check will validate a candidate’s credentials, completion date, and the official educational accrediting body. 

6 - Criminal Record Check

A criminal background check may show offenses at the local, state, and federal level and  offenses may include pending, acquitted, and dismissed charges, misdemeanor convictions, and felony convictions. 

If an employee is accused of wrongdoing and you could have (or should have) known about the employee’s relevant criminal background, you could face negligent hiring claims which could be damaging to your business. 

7 - Social Media Review

An applicant’s use of social media can reveal a lot about their character and lifestyle. Seek out any information that is publicly available online during the pre-employment screening process. Sleuthing is permissible but asking for an applicant’s login information isn’t, nor is creating a fake profile in an attempt to bypass privacy settings to gain access to their profiles.

Optional Pre-Employment Screening Steps

 While the previous elements are essential for effective pre-employment screening, the following options can be added if the job position, or your industry, calls for it. 

Driving History

If the candidate will be driving a company vehicle, or if their role will involve driving on the job, you’ll have to run a motor vehicle record (MVR) check in order to insure your new employee on your vehicles. 

Drug Testing

Drug testing is typically at the discretion of the employer. In some industries, however, it’s legally required.

Credit Check

If your new hire will have financial or fiduciary responsibilities within your business, a credit check is recommended. Excessive spending on assets and high levels of debt could signal financial irresponsibility and flag potential risk. 

Get Reliable Results With Help From a Pro

Poor hiring decisions can make or break a small business, and pre-employment screening and employment history verification can be time consuming. Use a reputable background check provider to help with the process and deliver reliable results so you can hire your next employee with confidence. 

eKnowID offers fast, affordable and reliable online background checks, including essential and supplemental items from this list! To learn more or purchase a background check package, click here. 

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