Screening Prospective Employees

Learning Objectives

  • List some ways to screen prospective employees

Screening employees is an important component of the hiring process.

There is a six step process for screening a prospective employee.

  1. Filling out an application
  2. Completing a test, if it’s required for the position
  3. Executing the interview
  4. Checking the applicant’s references.
  5. Completing a physical exam, if required for job duties.
  6. Making the final decision

Let’s walk through the entire process in detail. Once you put the word out that you are filling positions, the first step will be to collect applications. With the very low unemployment rate right now, it can be challenging to get a good applicant pool. In a perfect world, you would get multiple applications for a position, that you could then weight based on education, experience or another criteria for the particular position. Once you have decided who to interview, make the calls and the appointments.

If there are certain testing procedures that might be helpful, such as an aptitude test for math needed for a job or perhaps a physical test to insure that the applicants can lift the boxes necessary for stocking shelves, now would be the time to do those tests as well. A bookkeeping test might be helpful if you are hiring in the accounting department, and personality tests may be done to insure that the employee will fit the job you are filling.

Drug tests are also important for certain positions. If you are hiring a forklift driver for example, having someone who is not using illegal substances might be extremely important. As an employer, you have the option to implement drug testing if you see that as an important component of your environment.

Some organizations have very planned and structured interviews. A series of question are asked to all applicants and there are a few people doing the interviewing. Other companies prefer a more casual approach to interviews, letting one question organically lead to the next. Which method works for your company will vary based on management styles and culture.

Unstructured interviews though can pose problems in that you do not have the same information for each applicant to compare. Structured interviews on the other hand, can provide systematic data for comparison, but may not get as much information as an unstructured one where you can ask further questions to get more information.

Once you have picked your top candidates for a position, it is time to check references. Asking for personal and business references can be helpful, but since it is the applicant giving you the names, it may not be as useful as you may think!

So, if the position you are hiring for requires certain physical components, such as the ability to lift a certain amount of weight repeatedly over the course of a shift, you will want to do some physical testing as well. Reminder—this can only be done if it is a component of the job. As you may remember from the unit on handicapped accessibility, you are, as an employer, responsible for making reasonable accommodations for disabilities when hiring.

All of these steps will lead you to final selection. But let’s talk about the important parts of the interview process first.

Practice Questions