The recent killing of a North Carolina store manager and her unborn child shines a bright light on the risks employers take when they fail to conduct a proper employment background check.
The alleged story goes like this: Around two months after being released from a two-year prison stay for felony robbery and breaking and entering, 22-year-old Mark Anthony Cox robs the store where he was recently hired to work and kills the store’s pregnant 25-year-old manager. The owners of the store did not require a background check on Cox that would have revealed his prior felony. What’s more, in North Carolina businesses aren’t allowed to hire felons convicted in the last three years for jobs that involve serving alcohol, as this job allegedly did.
Why the Failure to Perform Employment Background Checks?
Stories like this beg the question of why. Why is it that 90% of mid-size and larger U.S. corporations perform background checks while, according to some statistics, just 20% of smaller companies take this step? Why don’t more small businesses conduct pre-employment background checks on their applicants? Here are 5 excuses we hear all-too-often and our responses to each.
Some Say: Background screening is too expensive.
We Say: What’s expensive is losing a negligent hiring lawsuit at an average of $1M in damages. Employers lose more than 70 percent of negligent hiring lawsuits. In contrast, the price of a comprehensive background check averages just $45 and can even go as low as $10 for a basic check.
Some Say: Background checks are too time-consuming.
We Say: Today’s background screening companies offer web-based systems that allow you to quickly order background checks, obtain necessary applicant consents, and review the results within as little as 24 hours. Some reports are even available instantaneously.
Some Say: Employment screening is too complicated.
We Say: It doesn’t have to be. When you work with a qualified professional background check provider they’ll help you select the right background checks for each position in your company, they’ll set up a web-based ordering system where your orders and results are just a few clicks away, and they’ll even help ensure your compliance with applicable rules and regulations. If you choose the right employment screening provider, running a background check can be as easy as entering your applicant data and pressing a button.
Some Say: We have been in business for 5, 10, 15, 20 years without doing background checks and everything has been fine.
We Say: It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when something bad will happen to your employees, your customers, your business, or a member of the public when you hire the wrong person. Whether your business is victimized by employee theft or your customers are endangered by the actions of an employee you shouldn’t have hired, the damage to your reputation, your brand, and your business are hard to measure. We’re not saying that a background check is the end- all be-all solution to your business risks, but employment background checks are a simple step you can take to improve your odds.
Some Say: I’m a good judge of character.
We Say: We’re guessing the owner of Flying Biscuit Café would have had this same excuse just hours before the mishap at his store. The unfortunate truth is that it’s very difficult to eliminate a candidate you like when your first impression is positive. It’s just not in our nature to second guess our own instincts. That’s why background screening should be a required part of your hiring process – to protect yourself from your own subjective judgments.
We say, let the excuses rest and give a long thought to how your brand, your profits, and your people could be impacted by the wrong hire. Risk management starts with people, and selecting the right people requires the objective data of employment background checks.