I’m sitting right now in an airport traveling to a new store opening. I was lucky enough to get “volunteered” to do a training class for a colleague who couldn’t make it. I’m thinking about the last 3 days of this week and trying to wrap up 2 cases that I closed out. Both were employee theft cases. Both cashiers. Both cost my stores thousands of dollars. I know as well as the next person, that I will never stop internal theft completely. I can limit my store’s exposure to loss, and that all starts with an employee background check.

 To give you a little insight, let’s take the bigger of my two cases this week. A new cashier was about 3 months into their employment.  About a month ago, she accidently processes a refund to a gift card instead of cash for a customer. She corrects the mistake by giving the customer cash, but decides to keep the gift card. Seeing how easy it was, and the fact that she didn’t get caught on the first time, she did it again. Then, again. You guessed it, and again. Over the next month and a half, this cashier processes a few refunds every single day she worked. Over this time period, she racks up over $8,000 in fraudulent refunds. We of course terminated her and prosecuted her, but here’s the thing. She’s going to need another job. If you’re not running an employee background check, her next stop could be your door.

 Pre-employment screening can help set you up for success, or for failure. You have to know who you are letting in your building. There’s of course only one way to do that, running an employee background check. Now, I’m not saying everyone who commits a crime in their youth should be barred from a job 20 years down the road, but looking at someone’s criminal history is a great tool to assist in reducing the likelihood of internal theft.

Say for instance, during the pre-employment screening process, you have a candidate who’s been arrested once a year for the past 8 years for theft/fraud. There is a clear pattern of behavior that is not likely going to change anytime soon. As a hiring manager, this person should no longer be considered for employment. Will that person commit a crime again? There is no absolute way to tell that. Is there, statistically a chance that they will follow the same pattern? Absolutely.

 Now consider you are once again in that pre-employment screening phase. You have a very qualified candidate with a strong educational background and years and years of experience in the field. You notice on the background check that they were convicted of a theft 15 years ago. Outside of that, their criminal record is spotless. Would you consider hiring this person to work for you? I would and I have. I can very well pose the same two questions as I did above. There is, however, a smaller likelihood of this person committing another crime.

I tell managers and store directors this every day of the week. If you want to limit your exposure to internal theft, it all has to start at the hiring phase. The keys to success are a strong hiring process, where only the absolute best candidates are brought in on the team and of course a solid employee background check to help further weed out any liabilities. The next time you have an employee steal from you, think back to when they were hired. Did you do all you could to see that theft coming?

For more information about Employee Background Checks, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547