10 Pre-Employment Strategies to Screen High-Risk Candidates
What is one pre-employment screening strategy your company uses to screen out a potential high-risk candidate? To help you review a potentially high-risk candidate, we asked HR and recruiting professionals this question for their insights.
From checking social media profiles to doing background checks, there are several things you can incorporate as part of your pre-employment screening process. Here are 10 strategies:
- Use an Applicant Tracking System
- Include Application Prompts
- Incorporate a Skills Assessment
- Ask About Their Experience With Feedback
- Do Background Checks
- Check Their References
- Review Professional Online Profiles
- Give a Personality or Integrity Test
- Verify Professional Licenses and Certifications
- Assess Work Ethic With a Project
1. Use an Applicant Tracking System
Simplify the candidate screening process to save time and improve the quality of hires by using an Applicant Tracking System such as BerniePortal. A centralized hiring hub, BerniePortal allows HR teams to communicate with candidates through messaging and customizable pre-screening questions loaded directly into job postings. Hiring Managers can filter through resumes and collaborate with internal decision makers, increasing confidence in every decision made.
—Sarah Brinton, BerniePortal
2. Include Application Prompts
It’s simple but effective. Even just asking, “What excites you most about joining our company?” can quickly filter out high-risk candidates. Look for someone who mentioned your core values or a specific aspect about the company to show how invested they are in making a contribution.
—Katia Dillon, TechnologyAdvice
3. Incorporate a Skills Assessment
Understanding a candidate’s specific job competencies is an important part of pre-employment screening. The traditional resume outlines a timeline and typically highlights successes vs. documenting specific competencies that are valid and reliable. Using tools like a competency-based assessment or job-specific assignment, are ways to screen out high-risk candidates. This approach is more objective, as well.
—Jenn Christie, Markitors
4. Ask About Their Experience with Feedback
One method I like using to screen out risky candidates is to ask, “How do you prefer to receive criticism?” during the interview process. This question separates candidates who are resistant to receiving feedback from those who welcome critique. Applicants who have anger issues or a complex against authority often volunteer anecdotes about times criticism made them upset. The question can also prevent later on-the-job issues by uncovering which conflict styles makes candidates the most comfortable.
—Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
5. Do Background Checks
One pre-employment screening strategy that our company uses to screen out a potential high-risk candidate is a background check prior to hiring. Once the candidate has passed the reference check, we issue a background check to get a gauge of how high-risk this employee would be. If the candidate doesn’t pass the background check, we avoid hiring someone who would be a threat to the organization. However, if they pass the background check, we move forward with the hire and bring on the low-risk employee.
—Jeremy Gardner, MadeMan
6. Check Their References
One pre-employment screening strategy that our company uses to screen out a potential high-risk candidate is checking references. We check references as a final way to make sure that the candidate that we are hiring doesn’t have any red flags that we should know about prior to hiring. If a candidate has great references that check all the boxes, we can hire that individual with confidence.
—Tyler Read, PT Pioneer
7. Review Professional Online Profiles
The online presence of a person can add a lot of context to their resume. LinkedIn often allows confirming a candidate’s work history and verifying claims about past roles. For many occupations, we may find an entire track record on professional portals used to feature creative portfolios or written programming code. Although none of them should be analyzed alone, they may supplement a regular screening process.
—Michael Sena, Senacea
8. Give a Personality or Integrity Test
Integrity and Personality tests should be done during the interview process. This will give you as the employer a complete insight into who you may be hiring and what teams they would more than likely belong to or who they would potentially get along with. Team dynamics are vastly important to the health of the employees. Finding great personalities is key.
—Katie Kiernan, NUE.Life
9. Verify Professional Licenses and Certifications
This definitely comes down to the industry you’re hiring for, but any field that requires a professional license to practice should make it a point to verify the license as a prerequisite. This involves getting in touch with the state board to check the legitimacy of the license and to find out if it’s valid or expired.
—Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
10. Assess Work Ethic With a Project
One pre-employment screening strategy that our company uses to screen out a potential high-risk candidate is a take-home project/presentation. This shows us the work ethic of the employee and gives us a sense of how hard the employee will work on a given project. If the employee puts little effort into the project, this is a red flag. This step helps us screen out potentially high-risk candidates.
—Chris Gadek, AdQuick
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