Company Policies & Job Descriptions: Important to Applicant Screening

3 min read
Fri, Jun 15, 2018

Company Policies and Job Descriptions

For employers who screen applicants, the process can be overwhelming, time consuming and cost prohibitive. Running background checks, however, can reduce the risk of negligent hiring and high turnover and is a positive step to ensure you're hiring the right employee. To balance out the risks with the potential negative cost of resources, applicant screening can be more accessible and efficient with some HR organization.

Two important keys to applicant screening are company policies and job descriptions.
Here's how they help.

How creating company policies and job descriptions can help your applicant screening: 

Documentation Creates Consistency

One way to reduce the time and cost associated with background checks is to create consistency. Documenting the processes required to hire a new employee will ensure that every applicant is held to the same standards and has the same hiring experience. If you are an HR department of one, your employer may not hire regularly. A documented process means that you don't have to Google-search your way through the paperwork and other information required to hire and screen a new employee. If your HR department is large and your employer hires hundreds of employees every year, a documented process can be shared among all the hiring managers so that each hiring manager and employee knows what to expect along the way.

Hiring and Background Check Policies

An important company policy to document will include the hiring and background check process. At a minimum, a recruiting and hiring policy will include:

  • How departments and hiring managers can gain approval for hiring a new employee
  • Where the job requisition will be posted
  • What recruiters or search firms are used to find candidates
  • What data is required from the applicant
  • Where the applicant fills out an application (online or paper?)
  • If there are affirmative action or other hiring goals that must be met

Once the job seeker has applied for the job, the hiring manager must perform due diligence such as a background check. To ensure compliance with federal and state regulations, the background check policy will include:

  • When the background check is run during the hiring process
  • The information required, including how to obtain consent, before running a background check
  • How to inform the applicant that they will be screened and the information may affect the hiring decision
  • What screening criteria disqualifies a candidate from performing the duties and responsibilities of the job
  • Procedures to follow if the applicant's screening reveals a negative mark or shortfall

After the background check process, the on boarding part of the hiring policy will begin. Documenting this process will also help new hires to ramp up quickly and have a positive start with your company. 

  •  How to extend the offer of employment to the candidate
  • Or how to rescind the offer of employment
  • Paperwork required to determine eligibility to work in the United States
  • Paperwork required for tax, insurance and general liability purposes

Sample Background Check Policy Download the Template 

Job Descriptions

As part of the recruiting, hiring, screening and on boarding policies, job descriptions will also determine the differences in how candidates are hired. For instance, a consistent job description will help recruit candidates that have similar skills. The job description will help determine interview questions and on boarding procedures used after hiring. Job descriptions can also inform your background check policy and help save money.

To reduce the cost and time associated with background checks, hiring managers should create a job-related screening policy. This type of screening policy lists the specific background checks that are required for each particular job description. A job that's related to financial transactions, for example, would also need a credit check but not necessarily a check of their driving record. 

Review and Update Company Policies

Employers and managers must also keep in mind that these company policies can become outdated after a while. There is no "set it and forget it" option when it comes to the changing world of employment law. Here are a few reasons to update company policies:

  • New federal, state or city employment law requirements
  • Updates, additions or changes to job descriptions
  • Negligent hiring, non-compliance or discrimination claims revealing a weakness in current policy

Dedicate your hiring resources to finding the right candidate for the job. Create consistency in the hiring process, including compliance with employment regulations, and meeting the requirements of the job description. With your HR department more organized, the job becomes less stressful and new hires feel welcome.

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