Why Conduct Background Checks?
Background checks look different for each industry and employer. Some employers check out every small detail on a candidate’s resume. Other companies call a few listed references and ask questions about conduct, performance and reputation. Some organizations do drug-testing and check driving history. No matter how an organization conducts their pre-employment screening, it is important that some kind of verification of credentials or query of reputation is completed.
Job seekers send out their resumes when seeking employment. How do we know that all the information on their resume is accurate? People are known to fib or exaggerate the truth on resumes.
Human resource professionals or background investigators use a resume as the starting point for verifying an individual’s credentials after a conditional agreement of employment has already been accepted. It is important to conduct the verification after the job has been offered to avoid any undue bias and discrimination. See tips for keeping your background check legal, here.
Employment and degree verification are common items an employer will verify for a new hire. Investigators can utilize third-party companies that release employment and educational degree information such as The Work Number, i2Verify and the National Clearinghouse among others. Investigators and human resource professionals can seek this information for a fee along with a signed release from the applicant. The upfront investment in confirming experience and education is prudent in reducing risk and increasing fairness in the hiring process.
Professional and business licensing is relatively easy to verify as states typically host the information publicly online. For example, as the owner of a spa, it would be irresponsible not to check to make sure the new massage therapist had a license before allowing them work with valuable clients. Furthermore, would it be wise to hand over the financials to a new accountant without first establishing that they are indeed a certified public accountant (CPA)?
Senior level staff and human resource professionals conduct job interviews which give them insight into a candidate’s reputation and style. There is no better way to determine if an applicant’s industry reputation is trustworthy than by arranging an in-person interview to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
Furthermore, the pre-employment screening strategy of utilizing reference interviews can give further awareness of the candidate’s past conduct at previous employers. And the interviewer can simply ask – has the applicant ever divulged any proprietary information or broken your confidence in the past?
An interviewer can query contacts regarding conduct in the workplace along with their ability to get along with others. References can also speak to the applicant’s honesty, integrity, work ethic, experience and education.
With permission of the applicant, an employer can deep dive into the applicant’s activity online. Open source intelligence such as social media information is analyzed and can indicate the level of risk an applicant may pose for an organization. Social media screening and monitoring are the latest trends in employer reputational management.
Retention & Security
Implementing a background screening program has shown to increase employee retention and longevity. Companies will spend less time and money training bad hires and more time with quality, long-term employees.
Employment professionals agree that background checks help limit harm and legal liability for their organization. Workplace safety and security is increased when utilizing a screening program that searches for criminal history. Criminal checks can point to possible violent or unstable behavior. Discrepancies and derogatory information can highlight potential risks in hiring.
All these actions help companies mitigate risk, increase security of the workplace and retain quality employees. The ultimate goal of background checks in the workplace is to increase overall security and retention with quality hires.