Research shows that there is an alarming increase of job applicants that are fabricating credentials. Most employers are conducting pre-employment background checks to assess the accuracy of the applicant's claims. If an employee is involved in a crime while conducting company business, their employer may be found liable for damages for "negligent hiring."
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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.

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