How to Thoroughly and Legally Vet Potential Employees

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How to Thoroughly and Legally Vet Potential Employees

Hiring employees is no easy task. Not only do you want to choose employees who are trustworthy and reliable, but ones that will also represent your business well. It is also not always clear as to what is legal and not legal when screening potential employees. These steps will help you thoroughly and legally vet potential employees.

Draft Clear Hiring Protocols

Drafting clear hiring protocols before you ever post the open position will help guide your team’s practices. It is important to be clear about what you expect of the candidate during the interviewing and hiring process. If you intend to run a background check or to call their references, inform them. It is also important that you apply these same hiring practices to all potential candidates.

Clear hiring practices will also help to protect you in the event of a discrimination lawsuit. If a candidate claims unfair hiring practices, you can then demonstrate that your business applies the same practices to all candidates, regardless of their characteristics.

Stay Up to Date on the Legalities of Screening Candidates

Legal rules and hiring practices are constantly changing, so it is important to stay up to state on the legalities of screening candidates to ensure you are following all federal guidelines. You can find this information directly from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor. These entities prohibit discrimination when hiring, including what factors you consider when choosing a candidate, as well as the information that you can legally post when drafting a job advertisement.

These laws also cover many other employment topics including background checks, job referrals, compensation, and promotions. Depending on the size of your business, it might be beneficial to assign this task to a certain person, such as the human resource manager or whoever is in charge of hiring candidates. If you do not have the means to keep up with the frequent changes, then you might consider outsourcing your hiring process.

Present Potential Candidates With a Task-Based Test

Applications and resumes will only tell you about a potential candidate’s academic and work history. While previous experience can be helpful, it does not always determine whether or not the applicant will be a good fit, based on the morals and values of your business.

Consider the aspects of the open position that are most important and design a task-based test based on that. If you are hiring front-end employees to directly interact with your customers, request that they handle a mock customer complaint. Depending on the setup of the business, you might also place them on the floor and learn how they deal with customers. If the position is more back-end or technology-based, then you might present them with a problem-solving task. Not only does this allow you to see how well they can do the requirements of the job, but also how well they perform under pressure.

When testing a candidate’s success on a task-based test, pay attention to the following:

  • How comfortable are they when put in a new situation?
  • How do they handle unfamiliarity or stress?
  • Do they take an independent approach or do they require assistance?
  • Do they have skills that are necessary or can be built onto?

Effective hiring goes beyond the work experience of a potential candidate. The answers to these questions will help you determine if a potential candidate is qualified and has the necessary work characteristics. 

Involve Others in the Interview Process

It is always a good idea to get multiple opinions on a potential candidate. Not only does this provide you with multiple considerations, but it also allows you to see how the potential candidate will fit in with the rest of the team. You might set up multiple interviews with different team members, or schedule a team interview. Then, you can meet with the team following the interview and discuss the qualifications of each potential candidate.

Do a Thorough Background Check

Once you have prepared your hiring practices based on federal guidelines and you have selected a few qualified, potential candidates, now it is time to screen any candidates you’re considering. This might include:

  • Background check
  • Credit check
  • Reference check
  • Driving record
  • Social media check
  • Drug screening

Whoever you decide to hire will represent your business, so completing a thorough background check is important. Reviewing social media sites and information found publicly online can also help you evaluate a candidate’s judgment. It is crucial that you evaluate this information, especially if it is public and available to your businesses’ clients or customers. 

It is important to be aware, however, that there are regulations regarding what information you can review and whether or not it can be used to hire or not hire a candidate. 

Make sure you are checking a candidate’s history legally, including:

  • Get written acknowledgment first: In most states, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to receive written approval before completing a background check.
  • Be wary of violating federal anti-discrimination laws: Some information you might gather cannot be used in making your hiring decision. This includes things like race, color, religion, and gender. You can find a complete list here.
  • Avoid obtaining information unethically: Employers should only obtain information from public information or an approved background check provider. Information that is gathered unethically cannot be used in a hiring decision. Tools like Instant Social Report help legally track down their social media/email information.
  • Set clear hiring guidelines: While some factors allow you to refrain from hiring an employee, these same standards must apply to everyone. If you do not offer employment to an individual because of a criminal record, then you must not offer employment to anyone with a criminal record.

In some cases, it is useful to use the services of an external hiring company to check a candidate’s background. This ensures that you gather the information needed, without being at risk of turning down candidates based on hiring biases. By only collecting the information you need to make a legal hiring decision, you are less likely to face a discrimination lawsuit.

Gradually Increase Responsibilities Over Time

You can continue to vet an employee, even after you’ve officially offered employment. Before giving a new employee complete control over the business, consider improving their responsibilities over time. You can also offer temporary employment or an internship while you test out the relationship.

Be sure to include these details in your employment contract. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and clear on what the hiring agreement entails. Be open with your new employee on what they will need to do to earn your trust. If they are expected to complete additional training, include this in the contract, as well.

Thoroughly and legally vetting potential employees is one of the most important steps in the hiring process. Employees are the face of your business and you want to make sure you are choosing the right one before spending valuable resources on hiring and training them. Drafting clear hiring practices and outsourcing your screening process can ensure that you choose the right candidate for your business.

Above all, you must know who these people are. If you have information about them, you can easily decide whether or not you would like to work with them in the future.

Instant Social Support is a website that searches any email account. Plug in the email, hit search, and the site displays information about that person’s account. Instant Social Report backtracks emails to their social media accounts, tracking down important information about people who may know you. And it’s completely free. Try it out at

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