How to Screen Potential Employees

by Gerald Hanks; Updated September 26, 2017
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The process of screening potential employees is a critical component in the creation of a successful organization. The ability to have the best talent in the right places can be as crucial to a company's profitability as its selection of capital investments. Job applications and resumes form the starting points for the screening process, but human resources professionals take extra steps to ensure that the talent the company hires has the skills, experience and attitude to get the job done.

Background Checks

A major part of the employee screening process involves conducting background checks on prospective employees. Companies often use investigative services to conduct research on a prospect's identity, employment history and financial well-being. These background checks can include educational background, criminal history and military service records. Employers may also want to know about a prospect's financial status, such as if the prospect owns property, has poor credit or underwent bankruptcy.

Drug Tests

Employers may also insist on drug tests when screening candidates. Companies may consider a potential employee who indulges in drugs or alcohol a high-risk hire. The prospect may be undergoing physical, mental and emotional stressors that can inhibit his ability to accomplish his work tasks. Also, if the company hires an employee with a history of illicit drug use, the company may be found liable if that employee's actions lead to a lawsuit against the firm.

Social Media Sites

The growth of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, has allowed employers to get a glimpse into the lives of their prospective employees prior to an interview. Employers can examine social media profiles for signs that the prospect engages in behavior that could put himself and the company in a poor light. Companies can also check out social media sites to determine how well the prospect communicates with a global audience.

Job Interview

The most informative part of the screening process is the job interview. A prospect can show promise throughout the process but still fail to deliver an effective interview. While resumes, references and certifications can reveal the candidate's qualifications for the job, the face-to-face interview reveals how the prospect interacts with others, how well he understands his assigned tasks and how well he fits into the company's corporate culture. Interviews can also show the candidate's level of interpersonal communication, internal motivation and personal presentation.

About the Author

Living in Houston, Gerald Hanks has been a writer since 2008. He has contributed to several special-interest national publications. Before starting his writing career, Gerald was a web programmer and database developer for 12 years. He also started Story Into Screenplay, a screenwriting blog at www.StoryIntoScreenplay.com.

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