RSM South Africa

Employee screening: How to get the right people

Employee screening is the process of verifying information presented by potential candidates when applying for a position within an organisation. By screening potential employees you are able to identify whether the candidate is the right fit for the organisation. Employee screening includes extracting information such as academic history, professional career, accolades, achievements and assessments of the employee’s competences and other information, if it is relevant to the job, like credit or criminal checks and police clearance certificates.

When recruiting talent, the objective is to attract and retain a workforce that is highly competent and the best match for the organisation. Like in any business engagement, your due diligence is essential and in recruitment that includes understanding the potential employee and how they will fit within the organisation. The objective of screening each potential employee is to check and verify whether an employee has not misrepresented their qualifications and experience. Investing in thorough screening processes also protects the organisation from bad hires whom might cause reputational damage to the organisation.

In order to find the right employee, the buy-in and involvement of the organisation’s stakeholders is required in order to decide which candidates are best suited for the role. It is usual practice for the HR department to independently scout for the best talent in the market. In order to recruit the right employee there needs to be collaboration between management, as well as clear objectives of the role and what the employee would contribute to the organisation.

The traditional recruitment process of screening candidates routinely includes reviewing the candidate’s resume, going through an interview process and conducting a standard background check of the candidate’s qualifications, experience and criminal record. With the advancement of technology and globalisation, screening of potential employees has become easy and simply requires recruiters to be creative in their attempts to find the right people for the job.

Once a position has been advertised, the recruiter receives an influx of resumes from hopeful candidates looking for employment opportunities. The dilemma for most recruiters is identifying which candidate is best suited for the role and organisation, purely based on what the candidates include in their resumes.

The job description is generally used as a guide in identifying the most suitable candidates for the position and potential employees are then shortlisted. Information has become easily accessible and has produced different methods of screening employees. A potential employee can be screened through the process of pre-screening by conducting flash interviews in order to assist in identifying and clarifying details about the candidate’s resume prior to the interview stage. This can potentially save time and resources for the organisation by narrowing down the right candidates. Utilising gamification in order to identify specific characteristics of an employee may assist the recruiters to identify the most suitable candidates. Screening potential candidates through social media platforms such as LinkedIn can assist the employer to familiarise themselves with the candidates prior to the interview. During the interview phase, asking the right questions is imperative and it is always good practice to have more than one interviewer that is able to positively interact and question the candidate in order to assess the employee’s competence fit and technical ability.

Screening of a potential employee cannot end in the interview room. Although mostly used for upper management due to cost, investing in assessments in the form of skills or psychometric assessments can facilitate in finding the right employee for your organisation. When conducting a skills assessment, each candidate goes through a standardised assessment to identify their level of skills and competency. Whilst the skills that each candidate possesses are important, investing in a psychometric assessment assists in identifying the mental and emotional positioning of each candidate, which is a key contributor to how they will perform their job.

Conducting a background check of each employee is important in order to verify the information presented by the employee. Subsequent to the interview, contacting previous employers and asking the correct questions about the employee and their experience of the candidate’s contribution will assist in identifying whether you have found the perfect match for your organisation.

Screening employees is much more than merely data collecting, conducting assessments and verifying information. It is a strategic process of finding talent that is well suited for the position, as well as a good fit for the organisational culture. 

Phelokazi Nyangane

Manager: Human Resources, Johannesburg

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