Background Checks or Checking the Box: What’s Really Going On?

employment background checkJoelle Scott wrote an insanely good article on her company’s Corporate Resolutions blog on Forbes.com this week where she looked at the recent Wall Street Journal report of Nasdaq employee Donald Johnson (a so called, “fox in a henhouse”), who plead guilty to securities fraud in May 2011. Johnson had a history of drug abuse and fraud that, if discovered through a proper background check, would have likely prevented him from being hired and later defrauding investors of over $750,000.

Nasdaq says they did do a background check before hiring Johnson but as Scott points out, “…this brings us to the fundamental difference between a background check (a real one) and a check-the-box-let’s-just-make-sure-he-didn’t-kill-anyone search.”

You see, if Nasdaq had done a real background check – the type that should be done on someone with the type of access needed to defraud investors of over $750,000 – they would have discovered a checkered past that included an investigation by the Virginia Board of Nursing where Johnson admitted to using Schedule II drugs on the job and falsified hospital records to steal these drugs from the hospital where he worked.

In our work as a background screening company, we constantly seem to be fighting the battle over “check-the-box” background checks where employers are lured into running the most basic background check required just to call it done, and taking a little extra time to assess the risks of each role and mitigate those risks with truly comprehensive background checks.

Where does your organization fall in its background screening approach? If you have workers in sensitive positions are you confident in their background history? We invite you to request a free initial consultation to discuss the state of your pre-employment screening program.

pre-employment screening consult

About Michael Gaul

A security industry professional since 1988, Michael has extensive expertise in the fields of human capital risk management, physical security, and background screening process management. Michael leads Proforma’s sales, marketing, and strategic customer relations efforts.


View all posts by Michael Gaul →