What Is the Vetting Process? (With Tips for Passing It)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you apply for jobs, prospective employers may vet you to determine whether you're a good fit for the position. This means they may examine your credentials, background, education, or any other information you provide. Every company has its own process, but learning more about what it can entail can help you prepare. In this article, we answer the question, "What is the vetting process?", explain why employers vet candidates, tell you the steps employers may follow, and offer tips for passing the vetting process to get your dream job.

What is the vetting process?

Learning the answer to the question, "What is the vetting is the process?" can help you prepare for it to improve your chances of getting a job. Employers use this process to perform a background check, verify the truth and accuracy of documents and information, or perform some additional type of fact-checking into a candidate's background before making a hiring decision. For example, during the job application process, an employer may use the initial job application, candidates' resumes, interviews, or background checks for vetting potential candidates.

Related: Applicant Screening Process (Definition, How to, and Tips)

Why do employers vet candidates?

Employers generally vet candidates to ensure they're honest and the right person for the position. Here's a more in-depth look into the reasons employers use this process:

To eliminate candidates that aren't a good fit

One of the main benefits of the vetting process is that it allows employers to determine which applicants are unqualified or unfit for the position. There are several reasons why an applicant may not be the right fit for the position. For example, a candidate may not have the same values as the company, the right licence, or the necessary experience for the position.

Determining this before the employer hires the candidate or even interviews them can help companies save resources like time and money. It also saves candidates time as they can focus on applying for other jobs, rather than getting to the interview stage to find out they aren't the right fit.

To look into educational background

Many employers vet applications to verify their educational training, especially if the position requires a specific degree. For example, software engineers may need a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer programming. Including your diploma, degree, or any other educational information at the top of your resume shows employers you have the necessary training and education to succeed in the position.

To reduce the time it takes for hiring

Employers may use the vetting process to limit the amount of time it takes to complete the hiring process for new employees. In the hiring process, employers use interviews to screen qualified candidates, and the entire interviewing process can be time-consuming. When employers thoroughly vet a candidate, they're able to eliminate unqualified individuals so that they're only scheduling the most qualified professionals for an interview.

To save on the costs associated with hiring

Although vetting potential candidates can be time-consuming, it helps businesses save money long term. The process allows employers to eliminate candidates that may have a poor work ethic, criminal background, or other issues, so they don't spend money training employees that aren't a good fit for the company. Prevent employers from hiring unqualified candidates, also limits the need for firing these employees and spending money on hiring new ones again.

To check criminal background

Employers may perform criminal background checks or ask applicants to provide a recent one themselves. Some companies may hire applicants with a criminal record, so being honest about your background ahead of time can help improve your chances of getting the job. Other employers, like the government, won't hire applicants with a criminal record, as these employees are typically responsible for upholding public safety.

To verify qualifications and credentials

If the position requires a specific certificate, licence, or other credentials, employers may require proof that you hold them, beyond including the information on your resume. You may need a copy of your credentials for employers to confirm its legitimacy. In some cases, registration with a regulatory board in your province or territory may be essential before you can legally work. Some certifications even require renewal, so it's important you ensure yours are up-to-date.

To check references and professional background

Some employers require applicants to include a reference list. This is a list of people you have a professional relationship with, such as past managers or colleagues, who can discuss your work ethic, skills, or performance. Employers may contact these references to ask questions about you and get to know you better to determine whether you'd be a good fit.

Related: What Does a Reference Check Involve? (With Preparation Steps)

Steps of the vetting process

Understanding the vetting process can help you better prepare for it and improve your chances of receiving a job offer. Every company has its own process, but here are the steps they may follow to vet candidates:

Initial applicant screening

One of the main steps in the vetting process is when employers screen candidates through their applications, resumes, and cover letters. Typically, employers complete this step quickly. They use resumes and job applications to check that applicants followed their application instructions, have the required qualifications for the job, and seem like they may be a good match for the position. Once employers complete this step, they may schedule a phone screening or interview before an in-person interview to gather more information about you.

Phone and video screening

The screening phase of the vetting process can involve several approaches, depending on the employer and the nature of their business. For instance, sales and marketing employers may schedule a phone interview as a way to converse with you, ask questions about your work history, and get a better idea of your personality and ability to communicate. While information technology employers may schedule a test before the interview to assess your knowledge and skills.

You might also encounter questions about your educational background, specific credentials, and other details that tell employers more about who you are and how you can perform in the role.

In-person interviews

The most well-known aspect of the vetting process is the in-person interview. You might interview in a range of different styles, such as a group interview or a one-on-one interview, but the goal is the same. The employer wants to meet candidates in person to get to know their personality and who they are and ask job-specific questions that allow them to understand what candidates can offer the company. Interviews are often the determining factor of an employer's hiring decisions.

Related: Understanding the Steps of the Interview Process

Background checks

Thorough background checks are a common occurrence in the vetting process. Many industries require at least the most basic level of background checks to ensure candidates don't have a criminal record. Some employers hire skilled and high-performing employees that do have minor criminal charges on their records, but this also varies from employer to employer and within different industries. Higher-level background checks are necessary for some government, education, and security jobs.

Related: What Is a Background Check?

Tips for passing the vetting process

Use the following tips for succeeding during the vetting process when you apply for your next job:

  • Tailor your application. Create your resume or cover letter to match what the job description is asking. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience to reflect what the employer is looking for right away.

  • Prepare in advance. Practise answering interview questions as a way to get ready for a phone screening, video call, or in-person interview. Have your resume, a notepad, and pencil ready for taking notes and asking questions.

  • Be honest about your background. If you have minor charges or something that may come up during a background check, be honest right away when you apply for the job. Employers always appreciate this honesty, and not all are certain to turn candidates away with minor infractions.

  • Follow all the instructions. Many times, employers give specific application instructions that they want candidates to follow when submitting resumes and cover letters. Read the job description thoroughly so you understand what the employer expects of you, improving your chances of going to the next stage of the vetting process.

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