The Definitive Guide to Pre-employment Vetting

The Definitive Guide to Pre-employment Vetting

15 Min Read
The Definitive Guide to Pre-employment Vetting

In an Indeed survey, 9 out of 10 HR professionals mentioned finding tech talent as a challenge. As of 2022, there are 1.8 million developers in the USA alone. Studies estimate a growing global demand for tech talent by over 22% year-on-year between 2020 and 2030. However, the US Labor Department suggests a global shortage of developers of a minimum of 85 million by 2030. 

Although there is no conclusive evidence yet, these seemingly contrasting studies provide a rich insight into the current state of tech talent globally. A similar study indicates that 40 million tech jobs go unfulfilled because of a lack of skilled talent. The lack of skilled talent is just a single piece of the puzzle. Challenges like lack of standardized hiring mechanisms and lower adoption rates of pre-employment screening processes are a few other reasons. 

Hiring is a complex and costly process. According to statistics, it costs an organization over $4000 on average to hire an employee. Inefficient and inadequate hiring processes can only shoot this cost up. Hence, it is imperative to understand the nuances of hiring to avoid cost overshoots and retain tech talent at your organization. 

Wondering what to look for in your new tech talent? This blog is a definitive guide to pre-employment vetting that helps you find, onboard, and retain top tech talent in today’s hypercompetitive job market. 

What Is Pre-employment Vetting?

Pre-employment vetting, or pre-employment screening, is a process of assessing and verifying a potential candidate’s qualifications, credentials, and eligibility for the required job role. It is one of the crucial parts of the hiring process. An efficient screening process ensures that the potential candidate meets all the criteria of your organization and the job role. It reduces employee churn rate and improves retention rate. 

Why Is Pre-employment Screening Important?

There are always two sides to the coin. It is difficult to tell genuine and fake information apart because research shows that 78% of job seekers lie during the hiring process. Manipulation of information results in organizations hiring unskilled talent, resulting in skyrocketing employee churn rates, wastage of valuable resources, and never-ending hiring cycles. 

Pre-employment screening helps to hire teams identify the risks associated with job seekers early on to avoid setbacks in the future. Following are some additional benefits of why pre-employment vetting is essential:

Efficient Hiring Process

The pre-employment vetting process reduces the volume of applications you have to deal with. Also, the chances of selecting the best-suited talent increase as you eliminate unsuitable candidates in the first stage. Screening processes are often overwhelming to hiring teams, given the volume of applicants they have to deal with each time a new vacancy is created. It eases the burden on hiring teams, so they can focus their efforts entirely on hiring the best fit for their organization, improving the hiring process’s overall efficiency. 

Increased Retention Rates

Choosing the best fit ultimately means higher chances of retaining talent long-term. It is a fact that companies can’t afford to lose talent repetitively and replace them with new ones again and again. According to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, over 70% of employee churn occurs within the first year of onboarding. A Gallup study indicates that replacing talent costs one-half to two times an employee’s salary. 

What’s worse is that these studies only capture quantitative losses. There is no metric to account for the decreased productivity, efficiency, and stalled work, which ultimately impacts the organization’s goals. Besides saving a ton of hiring costs, higher retention rates directly impact the organization’s health. 

Reduced Churn Rates

Candidate screening is always a two-way process. Most of the time, we look from the company’s perspective, but during the screening process, job seekers make their choice, too – whether to accept the offer or continue with their current organization. Sometimes, unpleasant experiences in the interview grow into team conflicts after onboarding if the interviewer and the candidate start on the wrong footing. 

As the pre-employment screening process eases the burden off the hiring team, they can focus on making it a pleasant experience for the candidates. It directly impacts employee satisfaction levels, resulting in reduced churn rates. 

Reduced Cost-Per-Hire

It is challenging to set a cost-per-hire budget before the screening process because of a lack of adequate information regarding the applicants. Although it is a significant parameter to set for budget, it can only be optimized by optimizing the hiring process. Optimizing the hiring process involves streamlining the hiring procedure and optimizing selection criteria. The pre-employment screening process filters out unfit profiles in the beginning stages, saving a lot of money and time. 

Streamlined Hiring Process

A typical hiring process involves four to five steps of regular screening stages – candidate sourcing, screening (which includes a written test and an interview), interview, and onboarding. The common mistake most organizations tend to commit is not following a standardized pre-employment vetting process. Although a few companies adopt the pre-employment vetting process, it is typically done after onboarding. 

It wastes time, effort, and valuable resources if the onboarded/selected candidate doesn’t qualify for the screening process. Pre-employment screening eliminates all these obstacles to improve the efficiency of your hiring process manifold. With pre-employment vetting, the number of profiles to be interviewed significantly decreases. It further reduces your cost-per-hire as you pass the most-qualified candidates to the further stages. 

The Ideal Pre-employment Vetting Process 

After Interview Screening 

Companies typically prefer to conduct a pre-employment vetting process after interview screening. However, it makes sense that it is inefficient for various reasons. If the agreement is canceled, the hiring team/professionals must go through the process all over again, beginning with candidate sourcing. 

It is painful and challenging to start over again after onboarding a candidate. Statistics show that an average hiring cycle extends from one month to three months. It means the hiring cycle extends further, leaving the vacant position unfulfilled for the entire period. Additionally, the time and money spent onboarding the first candidate incurs a loss on the company’s resources. 

The hiring cycles in this scenario are inevitably longer because of the complex and lengthy process involved. Hence, there are better routes than conducting pre-employment vetting after the interview screening. 

Before Interview Screening

Exceptionally few companies choose to conduct the pre-employment vetting process before the actual interview screening process. It is efficient for the reasons mentioned as follows:

  • It reduces the friction in your entire hiring cycle. After the screening process, you don’t have to re-evaluate the candidate’s eligibility or suitability again. Hence, it also reduces the hiring cycle length drastically. 
  • It streamlines your entire hiring cycle. By filtering out the least-fit candidates in initial stages, you have more clarity regarding what you are looking for in your potential candidates.
  • Pre-employment screening before the interview stage leaves everyone with a pleasant hiring experience – hiring teams/professionals and job seekers. 
  • It significantly reduces the number of applications you have to deal with during the entire hiring cycle whenever vacant positions are created. With an advanced screening process, more than half of the applications get automatically filtered out, reducing the number of candidates interviewed or tested. 
  • If the onboarded candidate’s profile is unsuitable, hiring teams have to start the process all over again. It sometimes takes months to investigate candidates’ profiles, during which time the onboarded candidates will most probably be serving their probation period. It becomes way more challenging to replace onboarded candidates. Pre-employment screening eliminates all of these challenges by evaluating the eligibility and suitability of the candidate from all aspects, leaving little room for risk. 

Checklist for Pre-employment Screening

Pre-employment checks usually happen after the interview screening process. However, you can conduct them before or after the interview screening process. Here is a list of essential criteria for you to consider in your pre-employment vetting process:

  • Previous employer details & references
  • Attendance record at a previous organization
  • Performance record at a previous organization
  • Roles & responsibilities undertaken at a previous organization
  • Medical reports (if required)
  • Salary sheets
  • Legal documentation (if the candidate is an immigrant)
  • Personal details (Identification documents) 
  • References of family members & previous employers to evaluate personal conduct. 
  • References of colleagues to cross-check the company conduct of the candidate. 

Different types of pre-employment assessment tests

  • Skill Assessment Test

The skill assessment test is the most common test companies typically conduct to evaluate the eligibility of potential candidates. It includes testing the job seeker’s analytical skills, soft skills, educational qualifications, and other technical or non-technical skills required for the job. The skill assessment test is indeed vital to choose the best fit for the job role, but most companies tend to select candidates based on just skill assessment tests. 

  • Personality test

More than technical knowledge is needed to make a candidate a perfect fit for your job role. Your potential employees need strong personalities in today’s ever-evolving world. Personality entails independent decision-making ability, professional attitude, emotional intelligence, etc. Personality tests are usually designed to test the candidate’s personality under high-pressure environments to assess their suitability for your organization’s work culture. 

  • Identity verification

Identity verification is a fundamental process followed by almost all companies. However, it doesn’t hurt to emphasize its significance. Identity verification includes validating and confirming the legitimacy of the candidate’s identity and the documentation provided by them during the screening process. It includes validating the legitimacy of previous employer’s references, personal identification documentation, address, etc.  

  • Eligibility test

The eligibility test includes cross-checking all the documentation furnished to the organization to ensure that the candidate suits the role in all aspects – educational qualifications, experience, skill set, expertise, academic performance, etc. 

Can Candidates Reject the Offer After Pre-employment Checks?

Before signing the job offer/onboarding document, candidates can reject the offer at any time. Even companies can withdraw the job offer if pre-employment vetting checks reveal something untrustworthy or negative signs. 

However, it is better if both parties are aware of the conditional nature of pre-employment checks. Most companies have a conditional clause that they can terminate the offer letter if they find something negative during their checks, even if the candidate is onboarded. 


Without an efficient pre-employment vetting process in place, it is difficult to score the eligibility of your potential candidates – no matter how elaborate your candidate screening process is. Interviews, written tests, and technical interviews are just a few elements (obviously essential) in your screening process. With an elaborate pre-employment vetting process, you will likely take advantage of an opportunity to know your prospective employee completely. 

Besides academic qualifications and the required skill set, it is critical to assess whether or not the candidate can fit into your organization’s work culture to avoid hiccups in the future. Pre-employment vetting process gives you appropriate insights to evaluate these criteria. 

Looking for Assistance?

Pre-employment vetting is an efficient way of evaluating the suitability and eligibility of a candidate. However, screening hundreds or even thousands of applications manually or through inefficient automation tools is only as efficient as not screening at all. That is why Workfall has a standardized pre-employment vetting model to ease the burden off your hiring teams. All our developers are properly and adequately pre-vetted before onboarding, leaving no room for any risks. 

Reach out to our team for any further assistance or to learn more about Workfall’s screening process and hire the best developer for your organization from anywhere in the world. 

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