Interview Tips for Pre-Employment Screening

Giving advice on pre-employment screening seems a bit bold. The interviews differ depending on

  • the position you are interviewing for,
  • the overall personality of the company,
  • the personalities of the team,
  • the mission statement,
  • goals of the company,
  • and on and on.

However, this important tip I pass on, as it was passed on to me by a wise and talented interviewer:

Take time before the interview to evaluate successes and failures of past employees. Use the specific situations to compile a list of scenarios that can be presented to the interviewee in order to evaluate their working potential and responses. This is a valuable tool in pre-employment screening.

For example, a high-profile client requires protection of his home due to threats made against him and his family. You are on the night shift and see his son sneaking out of the house, then sneaking friends back into the home. What do you do?

After you answer me, I add this: The son approaches you and engages you in casual conversation. He attempts to “buddy-up” to you. He throws in a casual comment about how he found last night’s officer asleep on the job, and how he is planning on telling his dad. How would you handle this? What is your perception about what is actually going on in this conversation?

How the person answers all of the questions tells me a lot about their personal boundaries, pride, discernment, maturity, experience, integrity, ethics, work standard, and so on.

Add this to the mix: If you think the person was on the right track but missing a few hints, and you want to test if they are teachable (a very important quality in every employee), do this:

After this first scenario, educate them on a point they missed, such as “our policy states that we do not get involved with family matters”. Then, present them with another scenario a few minutes later, and see if they are able to apply this policy.

If they still miss the mark, you’ll probably want to move on and focus your pre-employment screening on the next applicant. You do want someone who is able to listen and take verbal cues, and most of all who is teachable.

Remember, you are looking for clues and cues that this person has the values your company or family are looking for. There is nothing more frustrating that feeling like your employee is working against your mission statement and core values.

Be creative ahead of time. Think of questions that avoid “yes” or “no” answers. If you ask “Are you on time?” of course most people will know to reply “yes”. However, if you ask “Can you share with me an example of how you demonstrate dependability?” and follow up with the opposite “Can you give me an example of a time you were not dependable?” You will get a lot further in discovering the core values of this person.

Click here for Pre-Employment Screening information.