Look Beyond the Resume: The Importance of Criminal and Background Checks

Jan 13, 2015

Look Beyond the Resume

If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, time away from work, and end of the year to-do lists forced you to postpone hiring decisions at your company, consider a different perspective on the hiring process before filling those empty positions. Best practices in hiring stretch much further than a simple comparison of resumes. Often, too much faith in resumes and interviews leads to bad hiring decisions with negative repercussions, including low morale, high turnover, and the high cost of starting the hiring process all over again.

Individuals are complex, as are the positions they are interviewing to fill. While factors such as education, skill sets and experience are often reflected on resumes, they do not describe the entire person and his or her ability to do the job well. Human resource professionals and hiring managers need to learn as much as possible about the candidate before hiring him or her, thus reducing any adverse effects down the road. Hiring best practices include criminal and background checks, a formalized behavioral interviewing process, objective behavioral testing, and extensive reference checks. Can you make a hiring decision without all of that time and expense? Of course, but is it worth the risk of hiring the wrong candidate for the position?

Criminal and background checks must be an essential part of any hiring process. Reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Lateness and absenteeism
  • Workplace safety and insurance claims
  • At-risk behavior
  • Propensity for theft
  • Sexual harassment
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Falsified employment applications
  • Substandard driving records
  • Negligent hiring lawsuits

Employers can minimize these risks considerably by working with a qualified screening provider whose job it is to protect businesses against losses associated with a wrong hiring decision. When you consider the sheer volume of applications that must be sorted through, filed and stored, it is no wonder that we want to get a position filled as soon as possible. Many times, when we come across an applicant whose resume is perfect, whose presence and appearance are seamless, and whose interview is impressive, it may seem unnecessary to conduct a background check. However, the hiring process is a serious matter and may have serious consequences, so there should never be an exception to the rule of conducting background checks.

It is important that the chosen screening provider employee procedures comply with the law, however, the investigation must go beyond a criminal record check. If a behavior, such as past sexual harassment, is not caught and reported, documentation will not exist. If a past employee has never been convicted of stealing, there will be no record of theft. To further complicate matters, many candidates do not have criminal backgrounds, but those same candidates may have unseen character flaws and exhibit unethical behavior. If hired, a candidate as previously described can wreak havoc, ultimately costing the company thousands of dollars. Human resource professionals must go beyond background and criminal checks. It is during the interviewing process when we can probe beneath the surface to find the character information we need to make a qualified hiring decision.

Next week, we will discuss other key elements of the hiring process, the importance of behavioral interviewing and pre-employment testing. If you need assistance with your company's hiring process, contact ZERORISK HR. Our hiring system blends a revolutionary science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted employee turnover, improve employee performance, and manage human capital. We can help you determine whether or not your potential hire is a top performer.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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