Job hunting is an expected part of your life as a member of the workforce. Whether you are a fresh graduate seeking your niche in the job market or a pro with years of experience, looking for greener pastures, you’ll find that job hunting is filled with exciting possibilities and daunting challenges, so you need to be prepared for what is ahead.
The pre-employment process is designed to gauge whether you are a good fit for the job and the company. Every industry and business are different, but certain requirements are a standard part of any pre-employment process. It helps to be aware of these so you can prepare yourself and any certificates and documents that you need to provide.
Here is a checklist of the usual pre-employment requirements that you need to be ready for.
1. Solid Résumé
Your résumé is your golden ticket to the job market, so you need to invest adequate time and creativity in polishing it. Employers go through potentially hundreds of job applications every day, so you need to make yours stand out from the rest if you want to leave an impact.
Make your employer feel like you truly made an effort to leave a positive and lasting impression. This does not mean you should lie or add misleading details on your résumé; just make it more interesting by focusing on skills and work experiences that are relevant to the job.
Keep in mind that human resource officers are known to conduct background checks on job applicants to verify the information they disclose so be careful with what you put on your résumé. On the other hand, don’t settle for a boring résumé or one that you just copied off the internet, filled with generic details.
Carefully create yours so that you highlight the skills, experiences, certifications, and awards that your potential employer is looking for. For example, if you are applying for a job as a copywriter at an advertising agency you want to highlight details like creativity, excellent communication skills and resourcefulness and work experiences that demonstrate your abilities like your role at your school paper.
Be consistent, clear, and straight to the point. You want to make an impact, but you should also not bore the reader with long-winded and flowery details.
Some companies, especially those that operate in creative industries like advertising, graphic design, publishing, and multimedia, typically require job applicants to provide samples of their work. Make sure your portfolio is ready with you along with your résumé.
Choosing which of your works to include can be a challenge if you have years of experience behind you. Showcase your most recent creations so your employer can see your current skill level.
Also include works that have won awards or have been featured in magazines, galleries, or special events. Make sure to include different styles of your work so your employer can see the range of your skills and how versatile you are.
For example, if you are applying as a photographer, showcase works from various photography styles like black-and-white photography, portraits, glamour shots, food photography, and more.
When submitting portfolios that involve images and graphics make sure to use high-resolution copies.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for feedback from friends whose opinions you trust. It can be challenging to stay objective when dealing with work that you have a personal connection to. Your mentors and colleagues can help you decide which of your works have the best quality and can land you the job you want.
3. Drug-Screening Certificate
Substances like drugs and alcohol are notorious for their effects on a person’s mental clarity and physical health. Stimulants such as cocaine, ecstasy, and meth can cause insomnia and aggravate high blood pressure while downer drugs like morphine and Valium can cause you to feel drowsy and unfocused. Intoxicated employees are a hazard not just for themselves, but also to their co-workers and the company as a whole.
Because of this, many companies enforce strict zero-drug-tolerance policies in the workplace and require job candidates to undergo drug screening.
Drug testing has been a standard part of organizations since the 1980’s when it was first made mandatory by President Ronald Reagan for federal employees.
Since then, private businesses have followed suit and require employees to pass a drug screening. Drug tests can come in different forms. The most common one is the urine drug test, which, as the name suggests, involves the analysis of a urine sample.
If you are applying for a job in safety-sensitive industries like construction, transportation, and manufacturing, you may be asked to undergo a more comprehensive drug-testing method like a blood drug test or a hair drug test.
Keep a list of any medication you are taking that may affect the outcome of your drug screening and make sure you have copies of your prescription and medical certificates from your doctor.
4. Police and Exit Clearance
An employee clearance or exit clearance is a document that certifies that you are completely free from your responsibilities from your previous employer.
This type of clearance is a common pre-employment requirement as it assures your new employer that you do not have any pending criminal liabilities and any other obligations that might get in the way of your new job.
To secure your exit clearance you may be required to surrender company-owned collaterals and materials like your ID, employee handbook, and undergo a comprehensive off-boarding process.
Similarly, your potential employer may require you to provide a police clearance. This document is a way for them to maintain safety and promote productivity in the organization. A police clearance assures your employer that you are not involved in any questionable activities and do not have any pending legal cases or criminal convictions. This is one of the pre-employment requirements.
Organizations are hesitant to hire people with a criminal past as they can be riskier not just to their fellow workers but to the company as a whole. Customers and business partners may not want to deal with a company with shady employees.
You can usually get a copy of a police clearance by requesting it from the FBI through their official website. The FBI will provide an identity history summary also known as a rap sheet or criminal record for a certain fee. Rap sheets will usually contain information connected to arrests, disposition reports and other information provided by authorized criminal justice agencies.
5. Medical Exam
Businesses need employees who are productive, motivated to work, capable, and competent. One way they can make sure of this is to make candidates undergo a medical examination before the job offer.
This pre-employment requirement can help employers anticipate possible absenteeism, prevent workplace accidents, decrease downtime, and lessen company liability.
There are different components to a medical exam, but the most common ones include a vision test, cholesterol and blood pressure screening, a urinalysis, and a respiratory health test. To best prepare for your medical screening make sure you get enough sleep the night before so you can keep your blood pressure as low as possible.
Also, eat healthy weeks prior and avoid consuming salty or fatty food as these could negatively affect your cholesterol levels.
If you were recently diagnosed with a disease or health condition that could affect the outcome of your medical exam, you may be required to submit a document from your physician or from a company-appointed doctor certifying that you are fit to work.
Medical exams are not just meant to benefit the company; they are also designed to ensure that you are physically fit to perform your job and if you have any pre-existing conditions that need special attention and care.
6. Other Tests
In addition to medical and drug screenings, your employer may require you to pass certain exams in which you can demonstrate your talent, experience, and other capabilities, especially if you are applying for a position that needs specialized skills.
For example, if you are job hunting in labour-intensive industries like emergency response or firefighting, which requires employees to be physically fit, you might be required to pass a physical-aptitude test made up of a series of obstacles and exercises like running, weight lifting, and climbing.
Other similar exams include personality tests, cognitive ability tests, and technical-skill evaluations.
These tests may seem like an obstacle that is getting in the way of a job you want, but they are as beneficial for you as a potential employee as they are to the company. The screenings help the company gauge if you meet their requirements and whether they need to implement additional training if you lack certain skills or credentials.
Similarly, pre-employment requirements are not just for the organization to gauge if you meet their requirements, but also for you to see if you truly want the position you are applying for.
When you are over-qualified or under-qualified for a job, there is a chance you will feel unsatisfied with your employment. This can cause stress and burnout and might eventually cause you to leave and look for another employer.