The job market is competitive these days. One study I read reported that for every job posting, there were 118 applicants. While those numbers are probably skewed to entry-level positions, it’s still an industry-wide fact; it’s a hirer’s market. The only downside is that finding the right candidate takes a lot more work. You have hundreds of applications to comb through and then interviews to complete. When you add in vetting, you’re looking at major time commitment.

There was a time when hiring could be done on a handshake, but not anymore. The global nature of business means that you could hire someone without ever meeting them face to face. That means vetting is a bigger priority in interviewing. While doing a good investigation is necessary, overdoing it can be costly for your company. The trick is to triage and scale candidates during the hiring process, so you can apply your resources where they’re most needed.

Vetting Steps You Can’t Ignore

You’ll have to vet just about everyone you hire. Not only does it allow you to gauge how successful they’ll be on the job, it’s also a good means of providing due diligence to avoid liability. Think of it this way. If you hire someone at a financial firm, and they embezzle client money, you are going to face negligence accusations if it’s found they have a criminal history. So, there are a few basics you’re going to need for every candidate you consider.

  • Background Checks – The background check is necessary for any positions of responsibility at a firm. In a study of the financial sector, it was noted that 7% of applicants had prior criminal convictions. While not all convictions will be applicable to the job, some are important. These include prior arrests for violent crimes or dishonesty.
  • Skills and credential verification – You would be surprised at the number of companies that just take the candidate’s word for it when they’re reviewing a resume. It’s been estimated that nearly one-third of all resume job histories include false information. To catch this, you need some process for verifying job histories.
  • Credit checks in specific cases – Credit checks are popular because they allow you to gauge a candidate on a personal level, by showing how they manage their finances. They’re not needed for every case, but they can give you a good idea of their risk level if the candidate is in a financially responsible position. If you specifically turn a candidate down because of a poor credit check, then can inform them in writing.

These three are the most common and best options when you’re vetting a candidate. However, some employers go above and beyond. And sometimes, that above and beyond is just wasting money, rather than helping the process.

Steps You May Be Able to Skip In Vetting

Some things that you think are a great idea, in theory, don’t work as well in practice. There are some steps that are entirely unnecessary, while there are others that are best done after you hire someone. A few of the things you may not need include:

  • Credit scores – You may be tempted to use a credit score over a credit report because it’s just simpler. After all, it’s easy to tell that someone with a 520-credit score is going to have problems on their credit report. But you aren’t allowed to do this. That’s because the agencies that provide scores don’t provide them for employment purposes. Also, if you deny someone based on credit, you must give them a specific reason based on the findings of that report. You can’t do that when all you have is the credit score.
  • Personal references – A lot of people are surprised when they see personal references listed among the things you don’t need, but for the most part, these aren’t that valuable. After all, it’s highly unlikely someone is going to list a reference that’s going to give them a poor review. It’s best to focus on verifying job history, rather than worrying about references.
  • Personality testing – While helpful for building teams, in the long run, it’s not great for pre-employment because people are going to answer based on what will get them the job, not what they really feel. For example, a potential sales employee isn’t going to say in a personality test that they’re an introvert who prefers to work behind the scenes even if that’s true because it’s not a good trait for a salesperson.
  • Non-monitored technical testing – If the test isn’t monitored and is simply completed via a website, it’s no good. In fact, if you have a standard test to give to candidates, here’s a suggestion: search one question on the web. I guarantee you’ll find its answer in under one minute. It may even be your specific question, verbatim. Even if the test is timed or blocks someone from opening another window, people will find a way around your protection processes. If you want to test someone’s technical ability, you need to be able to verify the validity of that test. You can do that either by having the testing monitored or by using Remote Risk Assessment, which will be discussed shortly.

Some of these items can be useful if you’re seriously considering a candidate. Others you’re safe to bypass entirely. There are also some optional tools that anyone can use to speed up the investigation process and make it much more effective.

Optional Triage Tools To Speed Up The Process

Optional triage tools aren’t investigations themselves, but instead, they’re designed to make investigations easier by outsourcing some of the parts. The most common you’ll see include third party vetting agencies and Remote Risk Assessment.

  • Third-Party Vetting Agencies – Third-party vetting agencies can take a lot of the work off your plate when it comes to managing a thorough background check. Depending on the company, they’ll do everything from pulling credit reports to checking employment and reference histories. These agencies won’t make hiring decisions. Instead, they’ll pull all the information into a packet that you can then use to decide.
  • Remote Risk Assessment – Remote Risk Assessment is a telephone-based system which allows you to assign a risk rating to individual applicants. The candidate calls into a call center and they are taken through an automated interview, designed by the employer, where they answer yes and no questions. Those answers are analyzed using the system’s proprietary signals analysis, and are then given a risk rating that the employer can use to make further decisions.

Both these options can make the process of verifying a candidate easier and faster, while potentially making it more cost efficient. RRA is particularly valuable for several reasons, whether you want to verify an applicant’s technical skills or make sure their ethics align with your organization.

Clearspeed offers this technology to supplement your employment vetting. It can be used in any language and offers the option to scale your investigations to speed your hiring process. For more information, contact us.

Image Source | Flickr user JonoMueller