The Importance of Pre-Employment Background Checks
Finding the right person for the right job is a very difficult job. Embellishing one's
resume with past salaries or responsibilities is very common in today's intensely
competitive labor market. Research shows that there is an alarming increase of applicants
that are fabricating credentials in order to get the job they feel they deserve.
To address this concern, many employers have resorted to conducting pre-employment
background check to ensure they are hiring the right person for the job. But given the
time and resources spent, is it really worth it? The answer is a resounding yes.
Pre-employment screenings serve many purposes: enhancing security in the workforce,
minimizing occurrence of employee theft and reduce possible turnover rates. More
importantly, pre-employment screenings are meant to keep out the occasional problem for
worker who may have negative incidents in his or her past history.
The information sought usually varies from business to business - driver's license,
character references, personal acquaintance, and educational records. In most
pre-employment background checks, the information is used to determine the accuracy of the
applicant's work history. With statistics showing as much as 40 percent lie about their
respective work histories, employers can actually use the applicant's resume as an
effective gauge to test the applicant's honesty.
Another reason why companies invest in pre-employment background checks is to assess
the accuracy of the applicant's salary claims. More often than not, applicant's pad ups
the numbers, so to speak, with the end goal of receiving a more generous/competitive
salary package from the new company. Once caught, however, these jobseekers find
themselves being passed up because of lack of honesty.
Some companies, however, really invest time and resources to delve deeper into the
applicant's history, credit score - and yes, even criminal records. Some employers believe
- and rightfully so - that employees are a reflection of the company and its values. An
employee with a history of violence, drug, or alcohol abuse could cause irreparable damage
to a company's reputation.
Moreover, employers may also be found liable for damages for "negligent hiring." This
means that the company may be slapped a hefty fine if the court determines negligence on
the part of the employer when it signed up the applicant. The court believes that the
employer should have known negative facts of an employee's background that should have
disqualified that employee from having the job. In other words: if the employer had
conducted a thorough review of the applicant's background, then the crime (if any) would
not have been committed under such circumstances.
An example would be hiring an applicant as a driver without first assessing his driving
records. Was he ever arrested for drunk driving? Has he been arrested for disregarding
traffic signs? Simply put, it is the employer's responsibility to know the employee. While
not entirely cheap, conducting pre-employment screenings is actually less expensive than
dealing with work disruptions, liability issues and potential financial loss that may
result from hiring the wrong person. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is
always better than a pound of cure.
Julie Newman is the founder of
Internet Investigations, LLC.
Julie is a single mother with a B.S. in Criminology. Several years ago, she decided to
put her education and her intuition to work after a blind date left her questioning the
integrity and honesty of the man she had just met. What she found proved her intuition
frighteningly correct. This man had three prior convictions of domestic violence on two
different women. Obviously, there would be no second date.