Employment Screening FAQ Series: “Why Should We Background Check Our Employees?”

Background checks often serve as the final checkpoint in the hiring process. For managers who are eager to onboard a new employee, the background check step is one they might wish to skip, either because they feel so confident in their hiring decision or out of fear that the delay might cause them to lose their desired employee to another opportunity.

Employment background checks look at aspects of a candidate or employee’s past that could help to validate or influence their qualifications, productivity or safety within a given role. Background checks are performed as a result of a compliance requirement or as a matter of company policy, but regardless of the impetus for the check, there are some compelling reasons to take a little extra time to perform them before solidifying your final employment decision.

In this employment screening FAQ, we describe why it’s important for employers to take the time to perform this final step of the hiring process.

Q. Why should we conduct an employment background check?

As it turns out, taking a little extra time and spending a little extra money upfront can make all the difference in selecting the right employee for the long term.

A. To create a more complete picture of a person’s suitability for a given role.

The risks of making a bad hiring decision can be significant. Background screening can help mitigate the risks by creating a more complete picture of a person’s suitability for the role. Some other key reasons to background check your employees are outlined below.

1. Protect your company from negligent hiring

Negligent hiring is a claim made by an injured party, such as a customer, against an employer based on the belief that the employer knew or should have known about an employee’s alleged dangerous or untrustworthy character.

Negligent hiring claims can be expensive, destructive to workplace morale, and detrimental to the organization’s reputation. Background screening helps reduce the chances that you’ll have a negative employee incident in the first place and that, if you do, you can better cope with the public fallout. It also helps you establish a stronger defense by demonstrating the organization did indeed demonstrate due diligence during the hiring process.

2. Verify their claims, qualifications, and credentials

According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 75 percent of human resource managers spot inaccuracies on resumes. A background check is an essential part of verifying the claims an applicant makes during the course of the application and interview process.

At its most basic, a background check can determine if an applicant has been truthful and accurate in their application materials. Resumes, degrees, and references can be faked or exaggerated, but a background check can help bring a level of verification that a candidate’s education, credentials, and job history are what they say they are.

It provides objective data to help determine if a potential employee is appropriate for the job and work environment based on their experience, education, and training. It can also help create a picture of the applicant beyond what’s included on their resume or covered in an interview.

3. Enhance workplace safety and productivity

In addition to legal and regulatory obligations, organizations have a moral responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Failure to screen the entire workforce opens employers and their stakeholders to physical, financial, and other workplace risks.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year, and another 25 percent go unreported.

Workplace violence is defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. Workers who are the victims of these acts miss more days of work, affecting the overall productivity of the organization.

Screening a candidate’s background can help the employer determine if the applicant poses a potential threat to other employees.

4. Send a signal to customers, employees, and the public at large

Your background screening program can send a signal about how you approach workplace safety and quality of your workforce. When applicants and employees know you take the hiring and vetting process seriously, they can feel more comfortable and confident with the fact that the people they’ll be working alongside have been screened. Likewise, customers and the public at large can see that your organization places a high value on safety, productivity, and quality.

5. Uphold drug-free workplace standards

Many businesses have drug-free workplace policies. These policies are intended to help contribute to a safer work environment, improve productivity, and even help reduce employee theft, which represents 30 percent of inventory losses, according to a National Retail Security Survey.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that substance users cost employers twice as much in workers’ compensation and medical expenses as non-users. Additionally, substance abusers are five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Pre-employment drug screening and periodic follow-up screenings are part of a sound employment strategy that can reduce drug use among employees and benefit the workplace.

While no one can 100% predict how a candidate will behave once hired, companies should avoid simply relying on intuition in assessing a candidate and, instead, use an objective background screening process to identify potential red flags.

At Proforma Screening Solutions, we help employers conduct background checks, including criminal record checks, employment verifications, education verifications, license verifications, and other research that can help you to make better hiring decisions. Contact us for more information.

About Michael Gaul

Michael is a results-oriented marketing executive with over two decades of experience in employment screening, physical security, and business process management. Michael has deep experience in human capital risk management and a passion for educating business leaders and HR professionals on strategies that tangibly protect their interests. Michael serves on the Board of the Secure Cash and Transport Association (SCTA) and is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS).
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