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The 5 Key Parts of a Pre-Employment Screening in Canada

Pre-Employment Screening Definitive Guide
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The 5 Key Parts of a Pre-Employment Screening in Canada

After sending in several applications, you’ve finally received an invitation to attend a pre-employment screening exercise.

So, how do you prepare to ace it and get the job prospect or volunteer position?

You’ll need ample preparation to keep yourself ahead of the competition and to successfully navigate through the required background checks.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Employers receive many applications during the hiring process, which is why you’ll need to grasp the employment opportunity with both hands.

Pre-employment screening is a process used by many organizations to check the applicant’s background, screen, and assess their behavior. It is an approach used in the hiring process to eliminate unsuitable candidates without using the traditional interview. The approach streamlines and increases the effectiveness of the employment process.

Fundamentally, any potential candidate must demonstrate competence, skill, integrity, and be eligible to work in Canada and that is why pre-employment screening of applicants is essential.

Also, employers prefer candidates with the right mentality, character, and complete documentation and the pre-employment screening exercise will help in getting the right candidate to them.

Therefore, you should take time to prepare your documents for pre-employment screening, update your details, and clear up any issues that may affect your candidacy.

Let’s dive into what the pre-employment screening exercise is all about.
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1. Employment History Background Checks

Organizations utilize past data from previous employers to predict future performance in employment — either through testimonials, phone calls, or letters presented by the candidates.

As a potential employee, it’s essential to provide sufficient details like contacts and past role-related documents to potential employers.

Let’s look at the sub-elements of employment history during the pre-employment screening process.

Reference Check

The last part of a resume contains names of references — some being past employers. Current employers utilize these contacts to request crucial background information in the hiring process.

As an applicant, it’s your role to provide accurate and updated records.

Some employers ask important reference check questions o gather pre-employment details about the applicant.

Part of what they request includes the quality and quantity of work done, autonomy, compliance rating, skills, responsibilities, attendance, punctuality, and more.

Ensure you provide a working phone number, a physical mailing address, and an e-mail address for the employment verification process.

To avoid unanswered correspondence, it’s also wise to inform your referees about the ongoing pre-employment background check or pre-employment screening.

Document Verification

As part of their due diligence, employers need to verify documents provided by prospective employees for employment purposes.

Such documents include awards, leadership certifications, and letters that recognize performance.

A point to note: Many employers don’t always conduct document verification, because part of the reference check covers it.

Nonetheless, employers may still send an email or make a call to clarify a few things.

2. Pre-Employment Tests

To settle for the best applicant, employers sometimes administer pre-employment screening tests. The tests offer an objective, standardized, and scientific approach to screening or dropping candidates that are not a match.

Here are some of the tests you can expect during pre-employment screening:

Skills Test

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This test measures the candidate’s practical ability to perform a task. It includes both soft and hard skills.

The hard skills test measures the ability to perform the actual role — like coding, typing, and spelling skills.

On the other hand, the soft skills test measures a candidate’s ability to communicate, offer leadership, or solve problems.

Aptitude Test

In some instances, employers may use aptitude tests as pre-employment screening for high high-priority roles. The test helps to choose an applicant with better cognitive ability, attentiveness to detail, and ability in learning and applying new insights.

To prepare for this timed test, it’s advisable to attempt a few online sample tests. These will improve your speed, refresh your brain, and give you hints on what to expect.


Interviews are pre-employment screening processes or assessment tests that help employers have face-to-face interactions with an applicant in the hiring process. These can be oral or written tests with a series of questions.

To boost your employment prospects, you’ll need to prepare well. Some tips you can use to ace this include prior research of the employer, revising past interviews, or — if it’s a video interview — testing your computer’s video function ahead of time.

3. Credit History Screening

screening pre-employment
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Depending on the position’s sensitivity, several employers rely on credit history to vet job applicants. A classic example is a financial sector, where employees frequently deal with the client’s financial resources.

Therefore, employers require background records or a credit report to determine an applicant’s personality and trustworthiness if offered employment.

For employers to rely on any credit reference bureau, it must be registered under the Consumer Reporting Act.

Some of the information captured in a summary report include:

  • The total outstanding debts
  • Details of missed payments.
  • Details of payments made on time.
  • Debts being demanded by collection agencies.
  • Details of bankruptcy or credit-related court decisions.

All this information is used in the pre-employment screening to get the right candidate.

A Few Roles and Industries That Require a Credit Check

Employers that are hiring to fill a finance-related position use a credit check in the pre-employment screening process.

The table below has more details on such roles and industries in the financial sector:

Banking Bank manager, relationship manager, loan officer
Insurance Underwriter, claim examiner, sales executive, actuary
Investment Analyst, account manager, managing director
Auditing and Accounting Accountant, assistant accountant, internal auditor

Can an Employer Deny You a Job Based on a Credit Background Screening?

The Canadian Human Rights Act details the number of factors that employers cannot discriminate against — including race, religion, and sex.

Unfortunately, credit history is not among them.

Employers can, therefore, use their discretion to interpret the data or rely on it for screening reasons.

Nonetheless, the Consumer Reporting Act requires employers to seek consent from job applicants before the search. As a precaution, it’s wise to always read the fine print before appending your signature on an employment contract.

4. Social Security Screening

Canadian authorities use Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) as an identification document or as a pass to special programs and benefits. All Canadian citizens and temporary residents also require one as a permit to work within the country.

There have been growing concerns about identity theft and misuse of SIN, which is why employers conduct pre-employment screening. Employers also verify the current benefits — some of which cease on the assumption of employment.

It’s use is restricted to income reporting purposes, with limited access by federal departments and programs. However, several private companies — like telecommunication firms and airlines — can collect such details from the public.

5. The Scrutiny of Background Information

Any applicant has several data points which employers rely on to make informed decisions about their traits. While performing this background check, employers scrutinize awards, past leadership roles, performance ranks, and discipline.

Employers also rely on past institutions like schools, communities, and police departments to get a summary of their values.

Below are two of the most commonly used for pre-employment screening:

Education Verification

During this stage of the hiring process, employers scrutinize whether an applicant has met the basic knowledge requirements. They rely on copies of certificates ranging from diplomas to a doctorate award.

To take precautions, employers contact relevant institutions to rubber-stamp the validity of the documents.

As a candidate, this pre-employment screening procedure is protected under the law to guarantee privacy and offer specific confines. The Privacy Act states that potential employers must seek consent from candidates before seeking such information.

Employers use this step to strike out any fake documents, awards, and any unmerited certifications to make recruitment above board.

Criminal Background Check

Some employers deal with vulnerable members of society or sensitive businesses, and so require criminal records checks.

Records of criminal history shed light on potential employees, regarding their past behaviour.

It’s for the above reason that many employers turn to agencies that provide online police checks. However, for such agencies to produce legal reports, they must be registered under the Criminal Records Act.

One trustworthy agency you can rely on in Canada is Instant Record Check.

The guidelines on making criminal reports legal are as follows:

  • Checking details of criminal history borders on privacy and human rights violations — any employer seeking the check must demonstrate a legal occupational requirement.
  • Employers must seek written consent from the prospective employee before performing the search.
  • Employers should not single out a particular employee for a search, as such an inquiry would be discriminatory and illegal.
  • An employer should not discriminate based on past criminal acts unless they can demonstrate why such an offence will affect the ability to perform the job.

The table below shows the legal checks on potential employees.

Nature of the Report
Criminal Record Check (CRCs) The least comprehensive, this check brings up a summary of convictions and any pardoned records.
Police Information Check (PICs) Includes many details, such as outstanding charges, peace bonds, probation orders, restraining orders, and police occurrence reports.
Vulnerable Sector Check (VSCs) This is the most comprehensive and also includes CRCs and PICs. The report also includes records of pardoned sexual and violent offences.

Try Our Pre-Employment Screening Tool

As an applicant, you’ll be required to provide vital information and documents to the employer during the pre-employment stage for screening purposes. However, the pre-employment screening exercise is an exhaustive process that can be difficult for those doing it for the first time.

Some vital documents include a credit check certificate, RCMP Criminal Record Check, and social security records. Armed with these documents, the burden of a background check reduces and speeds up the recruitment process.

It’s advisable to work with a reputable company for pre-employment screenings, like Instant Record Check, which takes pride in its execution, speed, and accuracy.

Visit Instant Record Check today for a comprehensive criminal record report.
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