Interviewing Skills Are Not Enough; Employee Background Checks Can Prevent Poor Hiring Choices Part I
As a business owner, how do you decide who you should hire for a job? Do you base your decisions strictly on your ability to interview applicants? Are you a shrewd judge of character and can “just tell” if someone isn’t being honest with you during a job interview? Maybe you just know the right questions to ask in order to find that right person for the job. If you don’t have any Human Resources experience, I want to give you fair warning that you are walking a very risky path filled with potential pitfalls. First, if you are “winging it” or making your own questions without the proper experience in the hiring process, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Likewise, if your sole means of hiring someone is the interview and you are not conducting an employee background check, you may be exposing yourself and your company to unnecessary liability.
Employee background checks can be cursory inquiries, looking at an applicant’s driving history or conducting credit checks. It may also involve verifying work history, confirming dates of employment and positions held within a company. Often this is enough information for hiring applicants for entry level positions. Frequently high school students or college graduates for that matter won’t have a significant amount of work under their belt and so this may be ample information to make an informed decision before hiring someone.
On the other hand, more thorough pre-employment screening may be necessary for a position that requires a special skill set, or may bring someone into contact with children. For example, one of my children is attending college to become a teacher. As part of their agreement to be accepted into the teaching program, the students are required to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. The school takes the safety of the children that may be taught by these future education graduates very seriously. What about your business? Who are your clients? Who are you possibly bringing into your workplace and exposing your employees to? “Gut feelings” and your intuition during an interview may not be enough to identify future superstars from super problems.
So how can a business owner, even the owner of a very small business seeking to expand to their first hired employee conduct thorough pre-employment screenings? First, hire a Background Check Company to help you determine what might be important to check on for the position you are seeking to fill. If the job will have an employee parking cars as a valet, it might be beneficial to have a driving record check included in a record inspection. Perhaps you own a plumbing business and you are seeking to expand and need a licensed plumber to work with you. How do you know your applicants are certified plumbers, simply because they said so on their application? A Background Check Company can validate certifications, schooling and training the applicant says they have graduated from or been certified in.
You may not have much experience in looking at job applications. I can tell you from experience, a lot of people misrepresent themselves or their backgrounds on applications. In my current position in a college, we advertise for open positions and in our job ads set specific background or experience we are looking for in an applicant. It never ceases to amaze me the number of times I see an answer to a question on an application that indicates a person has a certain amount of experience, but nowhere on the application or a resume can I find that set of skills. For example, we may ask, “Do you have experience working non-traditional hours?” The applicant says yes to the question, but everything on the application and resume indicate they have experience working only 8am-4pm Monday – Friday! Now, let me be clear, those are not non-traditional hours, so someone is trying to look good on an application but does not meet the job requirements.
A Background Check Company can conduct pre-employment screening for a company that ensures an applicant is being honest on an application and a good choice to hire. In part two of this series we will review certain things employers can and cannot ask applicants and how a Background Check Company might help save you some headaches and money.
Employee Background Checks are important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.