Pre-employment screening is an obligatory stage of the hiring procedures that allows the employers to identify what skills and abilities future applicants should possess to accomplish the goals of established in organization. Pre-employment procedure serves as a tool for managers to deal with all levels of human resource management.
The importance of pre-employment procedures is also historically predetermined by the necessity of enhancing public safety. The applicant adjustment to the organization’s staff is premised on successful investigation process of future employees. The transitive nature of selection, recruitment, and training determines future success of an organization, as well as influences the planning process.
There are various trends and approaches to pre-employment tests that depend on the purposes, organization’s requirements, and employees’ future responsibilities. In general, the procedure is premised on two strategies – pre-screening background assessment and post-interview background checks. The first stage of evaluation is based on the interviews whereas post-interview monitoring should involve filling out the application form and conducting psychological and medical examination of potential employees.
Therefore, in order to understand the main aspects of pre-employment checking, as well as define what criteria should be included into the procedure, a review of literature should be conducted. The focus is on medical, ethical, and public safety concerns that can be considered through efficient pre-employment screening procedures.
Pre-employment screening denotes the process of analyzing backgrounds of future employees. The procedure is aimed at checking the accuracy of applicants’ skills, as well as at discovering any possible workers compensation claims, criminal history, and employer sanctions.
Apart from personal background evaluation, there are many other concerns for analyzing the process of pre-employment screening, including public safety issues, assessment of employees’ skills, experience, and defining new paths for development of an organizational culture.
According to Colaprete (2012), the hiring process should be accompanied with the inspection of the criminal background, as well as psychological profile. In addition, the researcher has stressed, “…the results of poor hiring practices have forced many law enforcement agencies to reevaluate their personnel selection and employment practices and standards” (Colaprete, 2012, p. 4).
Therefore, it is highly important for employers to develop a detailed plan of assessment that provides a wide picture of applicants’ drawbacks. Moreover, the employers should be aware of the consequences of inappropriate screening for the rest of organization’s staff.
While developing the pre-employment screening inspection, specific attention can also be paid to the analysis of problematic Internet use. In this respect, Davis et al. (2002) have developed the research studies in which they investigate the relation between social rejection and problem Internet use.
The scholars have introduced four dimensions of problematic use of virtual space, including distraction, social comfort, loneliness, and aggressiveness. Inappropriate internet use, therefore, can be a decisive factor in estimating potential employees before applying them for a job. Similar concerns are presented in the research studies by Peebles (2012) who considers that hiring process should be carefully outlined and developed to reduce the number of risks to the already employed individuals.
In fact, employers should be aware that the Internet does not only provide a handful of important information about potential employees, but also allows them to confront a new dimension of legal issues. According to Peebles (2012), “an analysis of negligent hiring – a tort that allows third parties to hold employers responsible for the harmful acts of their employees suggest that employers may actually have duty to search the Internet” (p. 1399).
Therefore, pre-employment screening can imply pre-screening of the Internet because the searching process benefits the employees from acquiring online information about prospective employees. Such a strategy imposes a sort of liability on the applicants as well.
Negligent recruitment can create serious consequences for company’s future development, welfare, and productivity. In this respect, Wang and Kleiner (2000) focus on the most common mistakes that employees make while hiring new employees. The emphasis is placed on poor monitoring of employees’ adherence to ethical codes, as well as identification of crimes in the workplace (Wang and Kleiner, 2000).
The development of efficient pre-employment screening, therefore, is indispensible for ensuring a healthy environment in an organization and developing a strong corporate culture. In addition, the legality of procedure is also introduced to enhance the safety in the employed environment.
Sorgdrager et al. (2004) have paid closer attention to the analysis of the effectiveness of pre-employment screening concerning the three basic indicators. These dimensions involve a positive test results, pre-employment medical examinations, and occurrence of rejections for the job. All these indicators illustrate usefulness and feasibility of pre-employment screening and identify possible corrections for the test.
In this respect, Sorgdrager et al. (2004) agree with the idea that there should be the evaluation of specific health conditions of employees and, therefore, medical examination should be part of the pre-employment screening. The scholars also admit, “…evaluation of effectiveness of interventions is an essential but often neglected task of occupational health care” (Sorgdrager et al., 2004, p. 275). Therefore, assessment of the most common risk is essential for predicting contingencies in the workplace.
Despite the awareness of potential risks, some employers are reluctant to resort to the pre-employment checking procedures before the application form is filled out. Mathis and Jackson (2011) attain much importance to the selection interviews because this type of screening “…is done both to obtain additional information and to clarify information gathered throughout the selection process” (p. 94).
The stages of conducting an interview are important to arrange because it will allow the employer to understand whether employees’ skills, experience, and psychological profile corresponds to the previously established requirements. More importantly, there should be strict standards in accordance with which employees are selected.
There are many formats, templates, and principles according to which pre-employment screening tests are developed. In this respect, Lanyon and Goodstein (2004) have introduced the Counterproductive Behavior Index (CBI) that evaluates five patterns of counterproductive behavior in the workplace, including dependability concerns, substance abuse, honesty concerns, computer abuse, and aggression.
By means of this assessment, it is also possible to work a Good Impression Scale. The five indicators of counterproductive behavior have been successful and, therefore, this kind of test can be employed in evaluating employees’ aptness to work.
The evaluation of applicants in terms of the values and moral codes they uphold is also of high importance for employers because they allow to define immediately whether their values coincide with those presented in an organization. In this respect, Pawlowski and Hollwitz (2000) insist that employees judge on how company meets their moral concerns and needs during the application process.
These judgments also help them to define “…the attractiveness of the organization, the likelihood of accepting a position offer, and the incidence of litigation arising from selection, training, and compensation procedures” (p. 59).
Therefore, the attitude to organization’s fairness influences of a variety of outcomes, including turnover rates, organizational commitment, reactions to subordination, job satisfaction, and behavioral patterns in the workplace. Under these circumstances, pre-employment screening is incredibly important to companies because this procedure can help them identify an appropriate measure, which should be both inexpensive and efficient.
Similar to Sorgdrager et al. (2004) who express their concern with ethical and safety issues, Pawlowski and Hollwitz (2000) assert that introducing honesty tests is helpful, but it does not provide sufficient measures for assessing workplace ethics for several reasons. First of all, these measures are not cost effective.
An alternative to this measure could be a structured interview in which questions will be built in a way so that employees can be checked for honesty of their responses. Second, ethical integrity interviews can legally reinforce the pre-employment screening, which imposes certain responsibilities on employers. Finally, workplace ethics should also be considered in a broader sense to define that the screening procedure itself is honest.
With regard to the above-presented research, most scholars support the idea that pre-employment screening is a multi-dimensional procedure, which involves legal, ethical, physical, and psychological requirements. In this respect, legal perspective of analysis implies evaluating employees’ criminal history, as well as their inclination to break the law.
Second, employers should take control of medical screening employees, which implies monitoring psychological profile and behavioral patterns. The main challenge of arranging pre-employment screening lies in the cost-effectiveness analysis of its specific types. Finally, efficiency of pre-employment practices can have a potent impact on the welfare of organization and the overall climate in the employed environment.
The above-presented synthesis of literature on pre-employment screening procedures has defined new directions at improving efficiency, validity, and reliability of the application process. To begin with, potential employees should undergo a multi-stage process to measure the physical, mental, and social aptness of an applicant to work in a specific setting.
Further, the presence of screening procedures does not guarantee that the employees correspond to the standards established in an organization and, therefore, the task of the employers is to strike the balance between pre-employment procedures and the missions of an organization. Further, the role of the screening lies in ensuring public safety of the employees who have already been accepted for a job position.
However, while evaluating applicants’ characteristics, it is important for managers to adhere to the legislature and ethics of conducting interviews. The ethical dilemmas specifically concern the applicants’ rights to conceal personal information, which creates a number of problems for employers. Despite this challenge, assessment of employees’ psychological profile and honesty can contribute to the decision-making process.
Finally, most research studies have been dedicated to the assessment of various types of screening procedures – from structured interviews to personal tests. Specific attention requires Counterproductive Behavior Index that allows managers to define the employees’ negative features and reduce the potential risk for their organizational culture.
Such an approach is beneficial because it allows to predict the outcomes employees’ behavior and prevent any risk to employees’ welfare. Therefore, the report introduces the current trends in developing pre-employment screening, as well as defines the influence of these tests on the recruitment process.
Colaprete, F. A. (2012). Pre-Employment Background Investigations for Public Safety Professionals. US: CRC Press.
Davis, R. A., Flett, G. L., Besser, A. (2002). Validation of a New Scale for Measuring Problematic Internet Use: Implications for Pre-employment Screening. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5(4), 331-345.
Lanyon, R. I., & Goodstein, L. D. (2004). Validity and Reliability of a Pre-Employment Screening Test: The Counterproductive Behavior Index (CBI). Journal Of Business And Psychology, (4), 533-553.
Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2011). Human Resource Management: Essential Perspectives. New York: Cengage Learning.
Pawlowski, D. R., & Hollwitz, J. (2000). Work Values, Cognitive Strategies, and Applicant Reactions in a Structured Pre-Employment Interview for Ethical Integrity. Journal Of Business Communication, 37(1), 58-76.
Peebles, K. A. (2012). Negligent Hiring And The Information Age: How State Legislatures Can Save Employers From Inevitable Liability. William & Mary Law Review, 53(4), 1397-1433.
Sorgdrager, B., Hulshof, T. J., & Dijk, F. J. H. (2004). Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Pre-employment Screening. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. 77(4), 271-276.
Wang, J.-M., & Kleiner, B. H. (2000) Effective employment screening practices, Management Research News, 23(5/6), 73-81.