June 21, 2023

Pre-Employment Screening: The All-in-one guide

What is Pre-Employment Screening?

Pre-Employment Screening is a method of evaluating and verifying the background, qualifications, personal history, and other aspects of potential job candidates before making a hiring decision. Organizations conduct pre-employment screenings to check the applicant's information and records such as criminal records, drug tests, and other relevant details. Usually, recruiters or hr professionals perform pre-employment screening services, which can include gathering and verifying the candidate's education history, and confidential information in order to ensure that you're hiring someone who will be a good fit for your organization. There are several methods and tools available to check, assess, and investigate applicants' information to avoid any risk.

Pre-Employment Screening

Why Is Pre-Employment Screening Important?

The pre-employment screening process verifies the correctness of the details provided by candidates during the application and interview process and ensures that candidates have the necessary qualifications, skills, and background required to perform the job successfully.

The goal of pre-employment screening is to make sure that you hire someone who is fit for the open position and the company, in order to avoid any employee theft, lawsuits, or any other illegal activities in the future, to protect and maintain the company's reputation.

A man checking the paper

The 3 phases of the Pre-Employment Screening process

The Pre-Employment Screening process is the part of hiring process and goes along different stages of the recruitment process. It includes a variety of methods such as tests, interviews, checks, and assessments to find out more about the applicant's skills and qualifications. These methods will also give you additional information about a candidate before making a job offer, saving you a lot of time and helping you find the top candidate, more quickly.

The following are different types of screening methods, divided into 3 categories to help you understand and hire a better candidate:

1. Before the interview:

Following are a few applicant screening tests, tools, or methods, that you can use before starting the interview process:

Application, CV, and Resume Screening

The initial phase of the hiring process helps you shortlist the right candidates through defined job criteria. This is the first step in which applicants' resumes are checked and then the candidate with the best skills, qualifications, experience, and other key information is moved further in the process, they are assessed carefully to avoid any resume fraud.

You can also use the features of an Applicant Tracking System, to screen applications and resumes. Use a resume parser to extract data from a CV, and automatically store, analyze, and sort resume data. Moreover, you can also utilize the power of keywords to filter resumes, relevant to the position’s required criteria.

Phone or Video Interview

Phone and video interviews are the most common ways to pre-screen a candidate and can be conducted depending on the requirements of the job or the company.

Phone interviews are basically conducted to help the hiring manager or the recruiter, to get a brief introduction of the applicant, before the face-to-face or video interview, to assess the communication skills and other important aspects of the candidate.

On the other hand, video interviews, build a more personal connection between a recruiter and a candidate and help you find out, whether the candidate is actually qualified and matches the skills mentioned in their resume. You can also note the gestures, presentation, body language, and communication style of applicants in the video interview.

Personality Tests

Personality tests are used to analyze the characteristics, traits, and overall personality of a candidate to check their cultural fit. These tests help recruiters to determine the soft skills of the candidate and certain traits, that can indicate future performance in certain conditions or roles.

Aptitude Tests

These tests measure an applicant's capabilities, such as critical thinking, learning ability, skill level, and other specific job-related requirements, before the interview in order to determine the applicant's fit for the role.

resume and test

2. During the interview:

You can pre-screen candidates while conducting their interviews. A few tools and methods are defined below:

Stress interview

The purpose of the stress interview is to put candidates under pressure or tension to analyze how they can handle, manage and overcome stress. These tests give the managers, an overview of how well they can perform under stressful or unexpected conditions.

Behavioral interview

A behavioral interview evaluates candidates' behavior based on their past experiences and predicts their future performance. You can ask specific questions, such as the following to evaluate their behavior:

  1. How you resolved a conflict within a team?
  2. Give an example of how you behaved when faced with a different opinion.

Personality interview

The most common type of interview is to understand the personality traits and cultural fit of an applicant for the respective role and company. They review a candidate's characteristics, compatibility, likes and dislikes, and other abilities, other than the technical aspects. Personality tests give recruiters an idea of how a candidate's personality can affect the team and the company. For example, a person who is not confident enough will not be suitable for a leadership role.

Situational interview

Situational interviews include questions that are generally similar to behavioral interview questions but focus more on the future. They are conducted to put candidates in certain situations and analyze how they react or respond in those situations. You can give them a task, challenge, or scenario and note how they deal with the situation. This interview can include questions like:

  1. What would you do as a group leader, if a certain member of the team is absent on the day of the presentation?
  2. How would you handle a situation if a task is incomplete and the deadline of a project crosses?
  3. How would you respond if there is a conflict between 2 team members?

Technical interview

The technical interview entirely depends upon the job requirements and what is expected of the candidate. It is crafted keeping in mind the qualifications and technical skills required for the open position.

The interviewer asks questions and gives tasks related to technical concepts, analytical thinking, and technical problems relevant to the role, to understand the candidate's familiarity with tools and techniques.


3. After the interview:

After successfully conducting the interview, the recruiters check the following to ensure the reliability of the candidate's information:

Degree or Education Verification

This involves checking the qualifications of the candidate and verifying their degree, percentage, or CGPA by contacting the educational institution mentioned on the candidate’s resume. The process of verifying education or degree depends from organization to organization and can be done by reaching out to the institute and requesting the candidate's information, asking them about their degree, transcript, certificates, or other relevant records.

Reference checks

A reference check can be of two types, one is provided by the candidate themselves on their resume and the other is the one, referred by an employee through an employee referral program. Reference checks allow you to confirm the previous work experience of the applicant, and uncover their style of working so that you get an idea of what to expect once they start.

Employment Verification

It is the process of validating the previous employment history of an applicant from their previous employers or co-workers. It also involves asking questions from the candidates related to their previous work experience, reasons for leaving the company, duration of their employment, and much more.

Military Service Records

If an applicant says that he has served in the military, then the employers need to verify their records, contributions, and military services. Employers cannot directly access these records, as they are confidential and protected, and have a specific procedure for accessing military service records, only an authorized representative has to request access to these records.

Medical Records Verification

In medical records verification, the authenticity of the medical records of a candidate is checked and confirmed. These records are required to check the health of the applicant, protecting their privacy, in order to make informed medical decisions.

After the interview checks

Background Checks

Criminal Background Check

It is a process in which an applicant's criminal history and records are researched and verified. Organizations conduct these tests to check the trustworthiness and the safety of a person for a particular role and they also verify whether the candidate is not involved in sort of violence, fraud, or criminal activities.

Civil Records Checks

The purpose of civil record checks is to examine individuals' involvement in civil matters, their bankruptcy records, legal proceedings, business partnerships, and other civil matters. They are conducted by organizations to make informed hiring decisions and help them avoid any future conflicts.

Driving or Motor Vehicle Records Screening

Driving or motor vehicle records are checked when there is an open position of a delivery driver, to verify the driving license and other driving background of the applicant. This screening is conducted to maintain safety, security and protect the organization from any sort of legal issues and also to ensure the provided information is correct.

Social media accounts Review

Social media have millions of users active on different social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and etc. Some recruiters review candidates' social accounts to get insights into the likes, dislikes, hobbies, and overall personality of a candidate.

Background Checks

Legal Considerations During Pre-Employment Screening

There are certain laws, rules, and regulations that you should keep in mind while pre-employment screening, to avoid any harm or loss, that can result in ruining the company's brand and reputation.

You should never ask candidates about their personal or demographic questions, avoid any language or tone that supports a certain party, caste, or culture. Additionally, make sure candidates' privacy is maintained throughout the screening process and the overall hiring process.

Avoid questions related to:

  • Caste
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Race Gender
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Financial status
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Religion

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)


There are two agencies, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), that review the intent of the interviewer or employers when assessing potential employment discrimination. These two agencies have specific roles to protect consumers and employees, respectively, avoiding any legal issues.

Here's a short overview of each agency:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

It is an independent agency, which is responsible for carrying out consumer protection laws and promoting unbiased competition in the marketplace.


  1. They protect unfair business methods, such as illegal advertising, fraud, theft, scams, and other criminal acts.
  2. They check whether the organization is involved in any sort of unauthorized or banned activities that can harm consumers.
  3. They play a vital role in protecting applicants' privacy, personal information, and other confidential data.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agency, is responsible for applying laws that restrict workplace discrimination.


  1. EEOC enforces laws that restrict discrimination in the workplace based on caste, color, race, disability, age, or gender.
  2. They investigate any complaints of discrimination filed by individuals against employers and their main goal is to resolve conflicts related to discrimination in the workplace.
  3. They provide guidance to employers and employees regarding their rights, responsibilities, and obligations under anti-discrimination laws.



What to do if fraud is detected after the screening process?

If any fraudulent, illegal, or criminal activity or record is found during or after the pre-employment verification process, it is the responsibility of the employers or hr professionals to take appropriate actions and report the inaccurate information or data, to the respective authorities and immediately disqualify the candidate.

When does someone fail a pre-employment screening test?

An applicant fails a pre-employment screening test, if he or she has provided any false or fake information. For example, if candidates have a criminal record history and were involved in any sort of scams, and they have lied on their resume, stating that they have never been a part of any illegal activity, then they will be rejected or failed immediately in the pre-employment screening test because they can harm or negatively impact the reputation of the company.


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Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier

Hirecinch is one of the best applicant tracking system I have used ever, literally my my job easier