Staffing presents unique concerns for employers, who do their very best to identify applicants’ strengths and weaknesses before making hiring decisions. Resumes, phone interviews, in-person question and answer sessions and other hiring aids used by HR offices yield fruit, but do not always show the whole picture. In truth, these methods provide fleeting glimpses at best, offering little proof to back-up job applicants’ claims. Background checks capture long-range views of personal behavior, giving employers more substance to work with when verifying job application information.
The stakes are higher than ever for employers, who can no longer afford to make hiring missteps. As a result, pre-employment screenings and formal background checks are commonplace among mainstream employers. In fact, upwards of ninety-percent of human resources offices now conduct pre-employment background checks.
Background checks are individual procedures, so the depth and scope of each effort is unique, furnishing precisely the information each employer needs. In most cases, research is left to professionals, contracted by companies looking for information about job applicants and other parties. Employers utilize checks for their own specific reasons, including the following concerns, held across a wide variety of industries.
Changing conditions across society require adjustments from employers, who share responsibility for keeping their own employees safe on the job. Reports of workplace violence have grown in numbers over recent decades, so pre-employment background checks are used more than ever, to help identify violent tendencies among prospective employees.
Pre-employment screenings look at a variety of personal characteristics, including criminal arrests and convictions. While there are limits in place governing how far back employer inquiries may go, recent criminal activity, especially arrests for violent behavior, alert human resources professionals to potential problems.
Liability for Negligent Hiring
Properly vetting employees is not just an internal performance issue for companies, who also bear responsibility for how employees interact with others while on the job. Specialized employment roles require skills preparing employees to function in critical capacities, so verifying job competency is another background check benefit. Hiring unqualified applicants puts other workers at risk, leaving the door open for employer liability issues.
Negligent hiring claims arise against employers when coworkers or customers suffer harm at the hands of an employee, working in an official capacity. The litigation asserts that the employer should have known about a condition or past behavior leading an employee to misbehave on the job.
Due diligence for today’s employers requires formal background screening, including criminal records and veracity of job-training claims.
Theft and Workplace Fraud
Beyond protecting other staffers and furnishing safe workplaces, employers must also protect their own business interests. Theft and fraud cost employers untold sums annually, prompting in-depth background investigations prior to employment.
Losses range from job site pilfering, where employees steal material property from their places of employment; all the way up to higher-level white-collar schemes fleecing corporations for millions. Work histories and character references provided by applicants are a good start for identifying problematic behavior at past places of employment, but a comprehensive check paints a more accurate picture for employers.
Credit histories and civil judgments furnish valuable insight into the financial health of applicants and show human resources managers how they overcame cash flow difficulties in the past. While poor credit entries don’t necessarily exclude applicants from employment, they may create cause for concern, especially when hiring for cash-sensitive positions.
Violence, liability and theft furnish three high-profile reasons for initiating comprehensive background screenings prior to employment; but there are more. For these and other reasons, standard operating procedure for hiring workers, at all levels, must include formal background checks.
This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.