What is candidate vetting?
Employee vetting is the process of screening and performing a background check on a candidate before proceeding with the next step in the hiring process. By preparing questions to vet a candidate at each phase, you can efficiently narrow down applicants and proceed with only the candidates whose skills and experience best match the job requirements.
Why creating a vetting process is important
By taking the time to vet candidates properly, you can:
- Save time by only scheduling interviews with the most qualified candidates.
- Increase business efficiency by only onboarding and training new hires who will be successful at your company.
- Decrease employee turnover by choosing candidates who match your company culture.
- Drive positive company morale by hiring employees with exceptional talents.
Before the interview
Here are a few things to consider including in your vetting process before you schedule any interviews:
Job description and screener questions
A well-written job description can attract many applicants. However, not all applicants will be the right fit for your organization. To narrow down your applicant pool, add screener questions to your job posting. Screener questions can help ensure that candidates have the years of experience, certifications and hard or soft skills required for the role.
Applicants must answer screener questions before they can submit their application, which means you can quickly identify the most promising candidates. (Indeed has a premade list of screener questions to pick from or you can come up with your own.)
You can also send applicants an aptitude assessment to confirm that they have the skills required for success in the role. Pre-employment assessments can test a candidate’s language, computer, cognitive and on-the-job skills (e.g., business math, retail shelf stocking, first aid). By adding assessments to your vetting process, you can avoid interviewing candidates who don’t have the right skills for the position.
Resume and cover letter
As you review an applicant’s resume and cover letter, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there any gaps in their employment history?
- Does the applicant change companies frequently?
- Is the candidate nearby, or will they need to relocate?
- Does the candidate meet the minimum requirements for the position?
Once you determine which applicants have the necessary qualifications, create a set of questions you can ask during a phone screen. Common topics include work availability, salary expectations, interest in the position, why they’re leaving their current role and any questions about employment gaps or job hopping. These interviews are typically 15-30 minutes long, so it’s a good idea to prepare a list of 5-10 questions.
During the interview
With a sufficient pre-interview vetting process, you should be able to narrow down your applicant list to a few top candidates. This can help you save time by scheduling interviews with only the candidates who are most likely to be successful in the position.
To find out whether your top candidates who look great on paper actually are, prepare a targeted list of questions to ask during in person or video interviews.
Here are a few things to consider when developing interview questions:
- Focus on specific information a candidate shared in their resume, such as previous employment, education and certifications.
- Address the demands your company needs to meet, along with how the candidate can help you achieve them.
- Assess work style and personality traits to determine how well a candidate matches your company culture.
As you interview candidates, be sure to evaluate soft skills — such as interpersonal communication — as well as hard skills — such as technical abilities required for the role. Assess every candidate on how well they understand job requirements as well as whether their character, personality and career goals align with your company values. Besides culture fit, it’s also a good idea to look for culture add to improve the diversity of your team.
If you plan on hiring several new employees for the same job, you may want to conduct a group interview. This is a great way to screen several candidates at once and determine how well they collaborate.
After the interview
After screening resumes and interviewing candidates in person, you’ll likely be able to identify which candidates are the best fit for your company.
However, before you make your selection and send a job offer letter, you’ll typically need to complete a few final steps. These last few steps in the vetting process can help ensure the top candidate will be the best hire.
In the final round of vetting, take these steps into consideration:
- Contact the candidate’s character or professional references
- Verify any required certifications and employment history
- Complete any necessary background checks or drug tests
Using a streamlined vetting process will help you narrow down your applicant list, identify qualified candidates and efficiently select the best new hire for your organization. By including the above steps in your process, you can vet candidates with confidence.