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Screening Qualified Candidates

Challenges of Screening Qualified Candidates

June 25, 2018

Hiring the right person is critical to the overall health of an organization. A bad hire affects everyone and brings productivity down. In some cases, a bad hire can cause harm or even injury. Below are just a few challenges staffing agencies and businesses face when screening qualified candidates.

challenges of screening qualified candidatesFalse Information on Application or Resume

According to CareerBuilder, 58 percent of applicants falsify information on their resume. It is generally accepted that an applicant might inflate a resume and an interviewer always takes this into account, however, there are those who completely falsify the information.

The information falsified may include, previous employment, experience, education, and criminal background. Separating out the 58 percent amongst genuine applicants becomes a challenge for the interviewer.

Controversial Laws

Ban The Box

Ban the Box is a civil rights group that advocates for ex-offenders. Their goal is to persuade employers to remove the requirement that any candidate applying for a job must declare their criminal history in the early process of the application process which in turn automatically disqualifies them.

Ban the box policies have been adopted in some cities and states. Some states go a step further and prohibit an employer from inquiring about sealed records, arrests, and dismissed history. Other states require employers to consider mitigating factors, for instance, if the criminal history relates to the job being applied for. In 2014, President Obama even banned the box for some federal government jobs.

Ban the box policies affect the screening process because an employer must comply with the restrictions of that particular state. For example, some states allow a criminal background check only after the first interview.

It becomes quite the challenge during the screening process because the employer has to go the extra mile to ensure they comply with all the state or city requirements.

Medical Marijuana Laws

Almost half the states in the US have detailed medical marijuana laws. Some states have even approved recreational use.

Some of these laws comprehensively state that the medical marijuana laws do not provide employment protections. In some states, however, the medical marijuana laws provide employment protection, especially under the disability laws.

So, what is an employer to do when a candidate provides a medical marijuana card?

This is a constant query among employers, and ultimately it is up to the employer’s discretion. Employers should, however, note that there is a shift happening and eventually they may have to change their stance. In 2017, Massachusetts held that a medical marijuana user previously fired could proceed with a disability discrimination claim in state court. The court disagreed with the employer that all marijuana use is a federal crime.

Social Media Screening Laws

As of 2014, 36 states had enacted or were in the process of adopting social media screening laws that would prevent employers from asking for access to a candidate’s social media account.

In addition, under the Privacy Act, employers must inform candidates that they have collected personal information and notify the candidates of the reason why. Social media screening continues to be controversial because many employers still use social media to gather information on job candidates.

Diploma Mills

There is an unprecedented increase in the use of diploma mills. Diploma mills are fraudulent organizations that sell diploma and degrees to people who do not have an academic study in that particular field. Diploma mills also provide degrees and diplomas to people with substandard education.

The degrees and diplomas purportedly come from recognized institutions and the buyer can use the said diploma to apply for a job. In recent times, these fraudulent organizations have added a layer of fraud by claiming false accreditation as a way of trying to appear authentic.

Hiring a person with a false diploma or degree can be costly for an organization especially in an industry where skill is critical. Discovering an applicant using a fraudulent diploma or degree can often be difficult, especially if the fraud is well covered up.


Experts claim that due to the increase in cybercrime, employers are under extreme pressure to streamline their screening process to ensure a candidate’s data is secure.

In 2017, Equifax, a credit reporting agency, experienced a data breach that affected many working adults in the United States. That kind of breach reinforces the need for employers to do their part and contribute towards making sure a candidate’s personal information is secure.

In response to the increase in costly data breaches, employers ought to consider partnering with reporting agencies that have obtained accreditation with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.

In addition, employers should consider partnering with background firms that are audited annually by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in a bid to guarantee the confidentiality, privacy, and security of a candidate’s data.

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