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Employment Screening Advice for Employers

What is Employment Screening?

Employers use a series of steps to guide them towards hiring the best workers. Matching the right skills to an open position is key, and effective selection can result in hiring the kind of employees that will boost company morale, add to your corporate culture, keep turnover low and contribute to the growth of the organization.

 The purpose of employment screening is to determine if an applicant is the right fit for the position. Determining if an applicant is the ‘Right fit’ encompasses evaluating and assessing the person in a number of areas:

  1. Does the person possess the prerequisite skills, knowledge, experience, competency, temperament, education, etc. to perform the requirement of the available position at the necessary level of proficiency?
  2. Does the person ‘fit’ with the team they will be working with?
  3. Does the person ‘fit’ with the company’s culture?
  4. Does the person have the willingness and capability to continue to learn, adapt and grow with the organization to continue to contribute to its organization’s success in the future?
  5. Does the person have the necessary level of integrity, meaning can he be trusted to manage the organization’s resources (people, financial, technology, and information resources)?
  6. Is the person likely to behave in an ethical manner that will not tarnish the firm’s reputation?


Employment Screening Articles

by Background Screening Expert W. Barry Nixon

What Are the Key Factors in Identifying the Cost of Background Checks?

By W. Barry Nixon, COO,

Selecting the wrong candidate can lead to a slew of negative repercussions, including disruptive behavior, committing fraud or embezzlement, and workplace violence, but there is one step that can be taken to ensure the right hire is made: a background check. While the first question that might come to mind is “how much will this cost?” perhaps the most important aspect is how much the screening is worth to the organization. According to Rebekah Carenas in What’s the Real cost of a Bad Hire, it is the return on investment that should be a big factor in considering the value of a comprehensive background screening strategy. Even so, the process does come with a price tag, but three primary factors can help determine the potential cost of a background check: what information is sought, where the information for the background check is sourced from and the specific background screening company’s approach to pricing.

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Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Employment

By W. Barry Nixon, COO,

The economy has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which hasn’t just affected the healthcare industries but has caused businesses to close their doors and workers to become unemployed. Working from home has become the norm for many companies, causing a shift in the employment process, which is expected to evolve in the coming months and years. But working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and many employees realize how much they took for granted daily connections and interactions. But, perhaps, one of the biggest positives created with the work-from-home movement has been the ability for employers to find talent anywhere, making it more flexible for everyone involved. In response, managers and leaders have adjusted their processes to manage employees, adopting new ways of communicating, managing performance, maintaining the company’s culture, and implementing policies and procedures. Remote work, however, hasn’t been possible for all employers and a Fortune survey has revealed that 59 percent of companies have deferred or froze employment and 25 percent have laid-off employees.

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The New Frontier: Three Steps You Can Take to Improve Employment

By W. Barry Nixon, COO,

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused employers across the country to adapt their processes for a remote workforce to ensure the right hire is made. There are three steps that employers can take to ensure better business operations and to improve employment hiring processes. New hiring techniques and background checks should include aptitude and integrity tests, panel interviews, video interviews, the use of artificial intelligence in screening resumes, online reference checks, and remote onboarding. It is equally important for employers to invest in training employees in time management to know how to manage distractions, ways to balance home and work duties, and key factors that will help them stay productive. Employees should also have access to counseling sessions to help them stay positive and healthy throughout the pandemic.

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Continuous Monitoring Helps You Manage The Risk Associated With Hiring Employees

By W. Barry Nixon, COO,

Continuous monitoring or Post Hire Criminal Monitoring is the process of conducting on-going checking of records to have an almost real-time notification of arrest, updates of criminal records, and driving records. A Continuous Monitoring process alerts employers in close to real-time to criminal activity that their employees have been involved with. Instead of needing to periodically check on employee behaviors, you get this information on an on-going basis to aid you in being able to make informed management decisions to help you provide a safe work environment and protect your firm’s reputation. An effective continuous monitoring process should be a key component of your risk management program.

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At a Glance Some Key Employment Background Checks Employers Must Make

By W. Barry Nixon, COO,

Most employers conduct pre-employment background checks to help them hire the best talent for their business, to ensure they are providing a safe work environment, and to comply with legal requirements.  Within this framework, each employer must select the specific types of employment background checks that will meet their unique hiring requirements.

Employers have numerous background screening options and this article discusses several types of employment checks that we believe are invaluable to helping you hire employees that will be successful on the job and to avoid making a bad hire.

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Guest Post

What To Do When Social Media Becomes Problematic To The Workplace

By Bianca Lager, CEO, Social Intelligence

Background checking companies recommend employers have a social media screen policyJust in the last few years, social media firings have become commonplace in the pages of local and national news outlets. Horror stories of employees getting fired for singular tweets go viral, leaving many individuals curious about what an employer may find problematic. As an employer, Googling an employee or candidate might be tempting – after all, the info is right there. However, as the internet grows ever wider and social media platforms grow ever more complex, poking around yourself is not quite the simple task as it seems. There are boundaries you can document, communicate and enforce to uphold company values, morale productivity and avoid legal liability.

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Top Three Background Screening Trends Employers Can Expect In 2021

By Elizabeth Fitzell, Managing Director, Sterling RISQ

top 3 signAs we adjust to more flexible workplaces and an increased acceptance of working from home or a mix of working from the office and home, the lack of regular in-person connection may mean less opportunities to spot issues with employees and to pick up on problems. Pre-employment background checks offer details at a static point in time whereas there will be a need to regularly know what’s happening with your employees. This is where continuous screening can fill the gap.

In addition, the demand for gig workers has accelerated since the start of the pandemic, competition for gig jobs has also increased and competition often leads to an increase in embellishments and misrepresentations in applications.

Along with this, the increase in the use of AI offers significant efficiencies in terms of being able to trawl through large amounts of data at speed, and it also offers the opportunity to capture issues as they occur.  Criminal offenses and media tracking can be assessed and monitored in real-time so that potential risks can be identified as early as possible and solutions developed to minimize risk.

Read more about the top three trends for 2021.


Why Employers Should Hire Slowly and Fire Quickly

By Attorney Lester S. Rosen, Founder, and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (

woman holding a hided SignThere are two critical mistakes employers can make when it comes to hiring and firing.  First, many employers are in such a rush to hire that they make an offer to the best available candidate just to fill the position instead of waiting for the right candidate.

The other mistake is that employers are often too slow to fire.  The fear of firing leads many employers to suffer through the long process of trying to make a bad hire work out.  An employer or manager may feel that it is less trouble to put up with a bad employee than start the process of hiring a new one, or perhaps just does not want to deal with an uncomfortable situation or a hard conversation.

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Are You Making These Employment Mistakes?

By Carlos Crameri, CEO, CuriousCheck

Career Bright research shows that 74 percent of employers think they have hired the wrong candidate for a job position and that 2 out of 3 workers felt later that they were not a good fit for the job. Many employers make mistakes when making hiring decisions that lead to unsuccessful job hires. These include: skipping background checks, listing poor job descriptions, conducting an ineffective interview process, evaluating and hiring based on personality, hiring the right candidate for the wrong role, ignoring cultural fit, and not checking references.

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Additional Employment Selection Resources for Employers

A Quick Guide to Selecting a Drug Screening Provider Cover

Be sure to get a copy of the Quick Guide to Selecting a Drug Screening

Click here

A Quick Guide to Selecting a Drug Screening Provider Cover

Be sure to get a copy of ‘In Search of Excellence in Background Screening: Best Practice Insights from Accredited Background Screening Firms’

Click here

Best Practices for Selecting a Background Screening Firm

Be sure to get a copy of ‘2020-21 Background Screening Industry Resource Guide’
Click here

Best Practices for Selecting a Background Screening Firm

Be sure to get a copy of the ‘Employers Guide to Implementing a Continuous Screening Program’
Click here


Methods, Tools, and Processes Used in the Employment Selection Process:

  1. Resume Screening
    • Reviewing resumes to determine at a macro level does the applicant has the necessary background to be considered for the position. Here are some of the information you can get from a resume while screening candidates.
    • Organization skills (able to organize their thoughts into a cohesive and logical manner)
    • Written Communication skills (possesses appropriate level or written communication skills to meet the job requirements, e.g., level of vocabulary, grammatical skills, spelling ability, level of mastery of English language.
    • Previous work experience and/or education that matches stated job requirements.
  1. Interviews:
    • Phone interviews are a good method to learn more about someone without hassling the candidate to come in and worry about commuting and missing out on their ongoing job.
    • Video interviews are useful in helping to assess oral communications and listening presentation, and thinking skills.
    • · One-way video interviews invite a candidate to videotape themselves answering a list of questions provided to them to respond to and to return to you. This way, the weight of the interview is on the candidate, while you can sit back and see what they have to say. 
    • In-person interviews are conducted face-to-face. This type of interview provides all the benefits of the other forms of interviews with the added value of being able to directly observe the applicant’s behavior and to have an engaging conversation with the person.
  1. Employment Tests
    The following are the most common types of employment test:

    • Ability or Skill test
    • Personality test
    • Integrity test
    • Polygraph test (illegal for employment purposes with a few select exceptions)
    • Medical test (generally not permitted on a pre-hire basis)
  1. Pre-employment Background Screening is designed to verify the information supplied by a candidate on their resume and application. A background check is a process designed to verify that a job applicant is who they claim to be (identity verification), verification of the validity of the information submitted by a job applicant on the resume and application about their:
    • criminal record history,
    • sex offender registry check,
    • education,
    • credentials,
    • employment history,
    • salary history (where permitted by law),
    • credit history checks (where permitted by law),
    • motor vehicle driving record,
    • immigration status (right to work in the U.S.) and
    • International checks,
    • other employment-related activities from the person’s past.

    Notable background screening providers include Employment Background Investigations (EBI), Shield Screening, Candid Research, Nationwide Screening Solutions, National Applicant Screening (NAS), and Neeyamo.

  1. Reference Checks
    Assessing an applicant’s previous job performance, on-the-job behavior, and cultural fit.
  1. Drug Screening
    Drug Screening is a common practice that involves testing applicants for various types of illegal drug use using oral, urine, and hair samples. Drug testing firms like Orasure are used to determine the trustworthiness of prospective employees, avoid workplace injuries, and ensure that hires will be productive employees.
  1. Social Media Screening involves reviewing the online footprint of an applicant to gather additional information about the applicant’s behavior not typically available via the other forms of screening. In most cases, this practice is best conducted by a trusted outsourced firm such as Social Intelligence to shield the hiring organization from viewing information that may be potentially illegal to use in the hiring process.
  1. Temp to Hire or Paid Trial Projects are probably one of the most effective methods available to observe if an applicant has the necessary competencies and experience to actually perform a job while simultaneously assessing their ability to fit in with the team in the department they will be working and with organizations culture. There is no better assessment process than actually seeing the person performing the work. The primary limitation of this approach is that it is often not available to use with applicants that are currently employed.
  1. Job Simulation
    A job simulation is an assessment process that involves assigning applicant tasks to perform to get an accurate assessment of their capabilities to perform the task. Job simulations can take many different forms, such as in-person assignments, online exams, take-home assignments, role-playing, presentations, or even virtual simulations. The following are some of the different types of job simulations:

    • In-basket exercises: The candidate is required to complete certain tasks such as responding to emails, taking phone calls, and handling grievances within a set amount of time. Often, these exercises are best for administrative and managerial positions.
    • Situational judgment tests: The candidate is presented with a work-related scenario and is asked to use their judgment to provide a solution that can amicably resolve the situation at hand. These tests lend themselves well to positions such as customer service and supervisory roles.
    • Work sample tests: These, typically hands-on tests, require the candidate to complete certain activities that are similar to actual tasks they would perform on the job. Examples include writing code, take-home assignments, collaborating with others to design a website, or completing an onsite construction task.
    • Role-playing: Role-playing is probably the most common of all job simulation formats. These exercises help to evaluate a candidate’s ability to navigate interpersonal challenges in a work environment.