How Well Do You Know Your Job Applicants? A Four-Stage Approach To The Recruitment Process

Ensuring that you have a robust, structured and well-planned recruitment process that includes thorough background screening is essential.

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By Steve Girdler


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Making smart hiring decisions is becoming increasingly important for employers. The cost of even a single bad hire is too high to ignore- turnover is expensive. So, how can you ensure that your future hires are not just a good fit, but are who they say they are, have the skills and experience they claim, and are not a risk to your business? We suggest a four-stage approach to the recruitment process: sourcing quality applicants, hosting engaging interviews, conducting skills tests and performing background screening.

Sourcing quality applicants

Many businesses use third-party recruitment agencies or head hunters that have the resources to source from a wide pool of candidates. If you use recruitment agencies, ensure they have a good knowledge of your sector and company and don't rely on them for screening. You should use an independent expert background screening company for this part of the recruitment process.

Additional sources that shouldn't be overlooked include colleague networking sites such as LinkedIn as well as reputable job-posting sites. Job sites can be an effective way to advertize vacancies, but managing the high volume of applicants can be tedious and time-consuming. Adding in mandatory fields before a CV can be submitted, such as a minimum number of years' experience or proficiency in specific software can help to limit applicant numbers, but it won't prohibit applicants from exaggerating or stretching the truth in their initial applications.

Finally, employee referrals are another great way to source talent. Engaging your current employees is simple and it's unlikely that they would recommend somebody for a role which they are not suitable for as their own reputation is at stake. Plus, your employees know your company culture and they are not likely to recommend an individual who wouldn't fit in.

Hosting engaging interviews

All interviews should at some point include a face-to-face meeting. It is much easier to engage and determine cultural fit in person. Observing body language can also help you gauge how a person reacts to questions and how they ask questions of you. Having a list of task-based questions -such as: "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a challenging customer?"- are helpful, but try to keep interviews fluid and natural. Also, try to incorporate follow-up questions rather than simply working your way down the list of questions.

Don't forget to ask questions relating to the candidate's outside-of-work activities. Learning about their hobbies, interests or volunteer work can tell you a lot about a person and give you an indication of what drives them and how well they may fit within your company culture.

Conducting skills tests

For some roles it may be appropriate to include a skills test. This should be relevant to the job and should test the skills stated on their application, ideally performing a key component of the role. For example, a skills test for a marketing role may include writing a blog for the company website, planning a marketing campaign or writing some on-brand social media posts.

Performing background screening

Background screening is the final phase in the recruitment process. Verifying the key elements of the candidate's CV and background, and ensuring you have undertaken the appropriate due diligence to safeguard your organization is crucial. Only by screening your applicants' backgrounds thoroughly, including checks for a criminal record, global sanctions and professional qualifications, can you be sure that your candidates are who they say they are. Companies like HireRight make this screening process as straightforward as possible for your business and for your applicants. Screening packages can be customized to meet the needs of each client with common checks including employment history, education history, criminal record checks, credit checks and professional qualifications. These checks are conducted by a skilled team of researchers, with the results collated in a simple report which is sent on to your business, with any discrepancies highlighted.


Ensuring that you have a robust, structured and well-planned recruitment process that includes thorough background screening is essential. Providing an excellent candidate experience gives you and your organization a greater chance of hiring the best people to help you be successful. And once you have that dream candidate, always ensure you work with a knowledgeable and reputable background screening company such as HireRight to independently verify the information you have gathered through the process, confirming them– the final and essential step in recruitment due diligence.

Related: Nowhere To Go But Up: Hiring Practices In The Middle East

Steve Girdler

Managing Director for EMEA & APAC, HireRight

Steve Girdler is the Managing Director for EMEA & APAC at HireRight

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