Candidate screening – how much do you really need to know about potential employees?

A crucial part of the recruitment process involves screening and testing of candidates, but many employers and recruitment agencies take different approaches to candidate vetting. If you’re recruiting at the moment, how much do you really need to know about a candidate to have confidence that they are right for the job and right for your company?

The essentials

Of course, every employer is different and every recruitment drive will have different objectives, but here are the essential checks you should never, ever miss out during candidate screening:

  • Eligibility to work in the UK
  • Criminal records
  • Evidence of qualifications
  • References from former employers – make sure you confirm everything from start and end date, role, salary, attendance, time-keeping, responsibilities and performance.
  • Health checks – if the role requires it (i.e. eye tests for roles involving driving)

There are also lots of role-specific things you will need to check. For example, if the role involves working with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to carry out CRB checks, whereas roles in financial services may require a credit check.

What not to do

During candidate screening, there are certain things to avoid. For example, don’t ask former employers for personal information or for speculation on how the employee will perform at your company. If it’s not relevant to the role, you shouldn’t be asking about it.

Another big mistake is to use social media to screen candidates – the CIPD website has some very useful advice on this, as well as compelling reasons to avoid this practice at all costs.

Suitability for the role and compatibility with the business

To ensure the candidate is the right person for the specific role, you might want to consider the nationally recognised PreVisor Testing method or carry out your own tests to determine skills, abilities, knowledge and experience. It’s also important to assess whether the candidate is the right fit for your company – whether they share similar values and goals which align with the overall company ethos. Psychometric testing can help you to gain a deeper understanding of this, but in-depth personal interviewing is the best way to assess a candidate’s compatibility with the organisation.

Is it worth carrying out such extensive tests on suitability and compatibility? Most experienced recruiters would say yes, as it helps to get the most value from the recruitment process and end up with an employee who performs well in the long-term and becomes a real asset to the business. Fail to carry out these tests and you could end up recruiting again for the same position, at great expense, within a few short months.

Here are some additional tips for effective candidate vetting:

  • Set your criteria. If you don’t need to check absolutely everything, define what you do really need to know about a candidate. Be clear about your criteria and you’ll end up with a faster, more efficient recruitment process.
  • Be clear about screening. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of in your candidate screening process – you simply want to be thorough. Be upfront and honest with candidates from the start, clearly explaining how screening and testing will be carried out and letting them know exactly what to expect.

For professional and dedicated specialist recruitment consultants in Nottingham to help find you the best candidates, get in touch with Solos Consultants.


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