What is Vetting?

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Vetting is the process of looking into or investigating the background, qualifications, or quality of character of an individual, company, or other entity.

🤔 Understanding Vetting

Vetting is when someone performs a background check on an individual or company or does fact-checking before making a decision. In business, a job interview is a type of vetting where the employer assesses your skills and suitability. Corporations often vet a candidate for a C-suite position, and governments may do a thorough evaluation before granting security clearance. If you’re planning to make a big purchase, you may vet several product options before you buy one. The time vetting takes can depend on the reason for the investigation and how many facts you will check. It’s common to present certain documents for inspection as part of the vetting process. For instance, you could be asked for a government ID and proof of your Social Security number when being vetted for a job.


Let’s say you’re planning to remodel your kitchen. Vetting your contractor is crucial before doing any home improvement project. If you hire a contractor who does shoddy work or quits before the job is done, you may pay much more for the remodel than you’d planned. You may go through several stages of vetting prior to starting the project. You might begin by asking friends and family for recommendations. And, once you’ve narrowed your set of candidates, you might vet things such as whether the contractor has all appropriate licenses and insurance. Once you’ve vetted them and are comfortable that they are reputable and meet all legal requirements, you could move forward with confidence.


Vetting is like dating…

When you go on a date with someone, you’re trying to find out if your values and personalities fit well together. You may ask them questions about their background, what they do for a living, or how they spend their free time. You ask for this information so you can get to know the person better. In this way, dating is like vetting because you’re investigating whether or not you should further commit to moving forward with a relationship.

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What is vetting?

Vetting is what you do when you want to investigate someone or something. Usually, vetting is used to help in the decision-making process before moving on to the next step of a project.

Depending on your goal, you might interview a person or company, review documents for errors, read reviews, do a background check, or ask for a sample task to be completed to gauge performance and quality of work.

The term dates back to the mid-1800s. Vetting originally described the medical examination of an animal by a veterinarian, such as determining if a horse was in good physical condition to race. The word was eventually shortened to “vet” and meant a veterinarian had checked the animal to verify its wellbeing.

When something is “vetted,” it means a person or thing has had a thorough investigation to determine its soundness.

Vetting has a variety of uses. Businesses can use vetting to analyze people and documents as part of their internal processes. A job interview and background check are typical examples of vetting in business.

The government will vet you if you apply for a United States passport. You must provide proof of citizenship, a photo ID, and other legal documents for the U.S. Department of State to review. Political candidates and job applicants often must be vetted before being appointed to a government office or given security clearances.

What is the vetting process?

Vetting procedures depend on what you’re assessing and why it’s being looked into. Vetting a new hire before offering them a position at the company will look different than if you’re vetting a political candidate.

The steps you take will vary based on the situation. Generally, the goal of vetting is to make sure people, documents, statements, companies, and other entities are legitimate before making decisions. It can require asking a lot of questions and extensive background research, or it can be relatively quick.

For instance, a bartender must vet a photo ID to make sure it’s valid before serving alcohol to someone. Vetting can also require you to call references and check an applicant’s social media profile if you’re looking to hire a new staff person.

How long does the vetting process take?

The vetting process can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few months or longer. Each instance may have different requirements for forms or research. It comes down to what items you’re checking and what information you find during the process.

For example, if you need a certified copy of your college transcripts, whether it’s because you’re transferring from one college to another or a potential employer is asking, this one step can take up to 10 days or more to receive them in the mail. If you’re applying for a passport and don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, it can take about two weeks for it to arrive.

Vetting can take even longer if questionable information comes up during the investigation. You may be asked to provide additional information or documentation. You may be required to submit to an interview to clarify facts or findings.

What does vetting check?

What vetting checks depends on the purpose of the investigation. Different situations require different approaches to vetting. There is virtually no limit to what vetting can check. The scope of the things you look over or ask questions about depends on the information you need and what comes up during the vetting process.

For instance, employers can require a background check and employment history to vet you as a candidate during the hiring process, but it wouldn’t make sense to explore that information if you’re picking a new stock to invest in.

If a company offers you a job, it may ask you to provide a passport, driver’s license, or Social Security number as proof of your identity. As part of the vetting process, your employer reviews the items to determine whether they’re genuine. They may also require you to submit to a background check to evaluate any potential criminal history.

Politicians are often vetted before being elected to office or selected to run for office. For instance, someone running for U.S. president must choose a candidate to accompany them as vice president, and that person is thoroughly vetted. Vetting a potential vice president can require a deep dive into their personal, financial, and media coverage history to establish a reputation for integrity.

Small business owners can vet potential suppliers before going into business with them. In this situation, you might interview several vendors before narrowing it down to just one. Reading reviews from the Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to start. You can also verify their business licenses and insurance policies to make sure they’re compliant and won’t leave you open to unnecessary liability.

If you’re looking for new stock to add to your portfolio, the vetting process will be very different. You may research financial documents and vet the top executives in the company to know whether management is on the right track. You can also view historical stock prices to help you narrow down your choices when vetting a stock.

Can documents be vetted?

Documents are often a crucial part of the vetting process. For instance, bartenders and cashiers check government-issued IDs to make sure they’re valid before selling age-restricted products to consumers as part of their job duties.

Birth certificates, contracts, transcripts, powers of attorney, marriage certificates, divorce judgments, and paycheck stubs are other documents that can be vetted.

Knowing whether or not a document is valid isn’t always easy. Requesting a certified copy of a document is one way to verify if it’s an authentic copy. With a certified copy, the person who has custody of the records confirms it matches the original on file.

Using a notary is another option to vet documents. The notary makes sure the person signing the document is who they say they are by checking identification and using credible witnesses.

Why is vetting important?

Vetting can help you verify the accuracy of information. It can add efficiency to the recruiting and hiring process, protect you from the liability of selling age-restricted items to an underage consumer, help you select a new stock to buy, and narrow down your choice of contractors to hire for your home remodel.

Without vetting, you don’t get the chance to confirm details or ask questions. You may not have enough information available to make a confident decision. Instead of worrying whether you made the right choice, take the time to vet people, companies, and other establishments so you can have peace of mind.

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