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Screening/Background Checking

Hello all, I am getting interest and inquiries on my rental property and wanted to get input on screening process before I start.  In addition to background/credit check do/can you ask questions to determine if the tenant is a good potential tenant?    Is is legal to ask questions while correspond/showing the property?  If so what type of questions are good?  If you decide you do not like the tenant can you stop the screening process (ie not have them fill out the rental application)?  Not sure how this is handled, what is legal, etc.  Finally, if you have someone fill out an application and then decide you do not want them as a tenant do you need to send them communication (written and/or verbal) that you will not proceed with them as a tenant.  Finally, when corresponding with prospective tenants do you save all of your correspondence (ie emails)?  Thanks for your help.
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Hello I would like to find out the fastest and easiest way to obtain a credit report on potential tenants as well as a background check on them. We are in California and in the process of screening rental applicants. Thank you
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