Ditto on what [MENTION=3162]JCinNJ[/MENTION] says.
You might want to put an application on your website that they can fill out and that way you get the initial apps through email. I’ve got one I’ve been working on but I haven’t tried it out yet (still need to make sure it turns out on email the way I want it to look).
If you have wordpress, it’s just a contact7 form and then when they fill it out, it’ll email you the info. If people want to fill it out and help me test it, I’ll post the form info in the members forum so people can add it to their website.
If you live in a state that hasn’t “banned the box” you can ask if they have felonies. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the interview. And then you can only ask them “I have to do a background check, do you think there will be any issues?” or something along those lines.
After you get the apps, discard the ones that aren’t filled out properly or completely. If they can’t be bothered to fill out the info, they probably can’t be bothered with an interview.
Then if you have a stack of them lined up that look good, call them in for an initial interview. For me, this is the first test. I call them in for 7am (I usually start work at 8). I’ll call 3 or 4 of them to come in at a time because you’ll have 1 or 2 not show up. I’ll have them fill out a paper application and sign a job description to see if they are able/willing to do the job. I only discuss what the job entails but not pay or anything detailed about the job. This part of the process only takes a few minutes, but you can see who’s applying, their attitudes, etc. The reason I do this is because you could have boyfriends/girlfriends/mothers fill out the online app, and then when they show up you might get entirely different information.
When they show up, the only question I usually ask is “How’s life treating you?” And that question tells me everything I really need to know about how they see the world, their attitude towards it, etc.
Then if they pass, I’ll call their references, previous employers, etc. Then I’ll call them back for a one to one interview which will involve the back and forth asking them about their previous employment, etc. This usually only takes 10-30 minutes or so. If that goes well, then I’ll spend the money for the background check and make a decision.