Despite the fact that pre-employment background checks have become a standard practice in a majority of businesses, there are still those employers that are skeptical of the value of these checks. Pre-employment background checks provide a valuable service to employers. Some employers skip the background checks when hiring employees in hopes of cutting costs. The truth though is that they may actually be incurring additional costs by spending time and money hiring the wrong people.
What Should Employers Look At?
Background checks are an important source of information on job applicants. Employers can choose just how much information they want by the level of background check they choose. At minimum employers should run the following reports:
- Social Security Trace
- County Criminal Court Search
- Statewide Criminal Search
- Nationwide Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Search
- Nationwide Sex Offender Search
- Employment Verification
Businesses who employ healthcare, financial, transportation and educational employees should also consider adding the following services for a more comprehensive picture of the job candidate:
- Federal Criminal Court Search
- Healthcare Sanctions List, OIG, EPLS, FACIS (Healthcare Industry Only)
- Education Verification
- Credential and License Verification (If noted)
- Multi-Panel Drug Testing
Honesty is the Best Policy
The information in the background check plays an important role in deciding if the candidate is the right person for the job. First – did the applicant answer the application questionnaire and interview questions honestly and accurately? Do they really have the education and licenses they claimed on their resume? Did they hold the job at the company they reported during the dates they listed? This is the first real glimpse you will have of the integrity of your candidate and it will give you a good indication if this is the person you want to hire.
Employers who run background checks also force the hands of the applicant to tell the truth. While this isn’t true for everyone (there will always be people who try to get away with anything they can) most people feel compelled to report the truth on applications when they know that a background check will return the facts anyway. It’s always better for an applicant to be forthcoming with any criminal history rather than hope that the employer doesn’t find out on its own.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Employees have the right to expect to be safe while at work. It is therefore an employer’s responsibility to provide that safety by hiring competent individuals who don’t pose a threat to others. Background checks and drug testing can ensure that at the very least, the applicant doesn’t have a prior history of violent criminal behavior or drug/substance abuse. These behaviors can pose a risk to other employees and should be known and reviewed before a hiring decision is made.
According to the United States Department of Labor, “nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year.” While background checks alone can’t prevent violent episodes entirely, it is important that employees use tools like background checks to minimize these threats as much as possible.
Additionally, if an employer doesn’t run a background check and hires someone who commits a violent crime at work, for example, the employer can be sued for negligent hiring. Or if a healthcare facility doesn’t confirm credentials for a healthcare worker and a patient’s health is compromised, this is another example of negligent hiring. Running the proper background checks can eliminate opportunities for companies to be sued for negligent hiring if such an incident were to occur.
The Best Predictor of Future Behavior is Past Behavior
Psychologists have been saying this for years. The best way to predict how someone will behave in the future is to know how they’ve behaved in the past. Background checks allow employers to have an in-depth look into the behavior of the applicant by determining if there have been any problem behaviors in the past. Or it will show them a history of good behavior. Some employers even use credit checks as a basis for hiring because of this view. The reasoning is that if a candidate has a poor credit history and doesn’t pay their bills on time, this indicates to an employer that this person is not responsible and reliable. On the other hand, if a candidate has an excellent credit rating, it is a good indicator that they will be a capable, efficient employee.
It’s a Small Price to Pay
Background checks may not be able to give employers 100% peace of mind that they are hiring the perfect person. They also aren’t able to prevent an employee from performing a violent act, steal from the company or perform any other unwanted behavior. But they can increase the chance of hiring the right person and decrease the chance of hiring someone who will only cause problems and cost the company money. The professionals at Sentinel Background Checks want to save you money by helping your company make the right choice and giving you the information you need to determine the right hire. Our experts will work with you to determine what types of reports are proper for your specific industry and ensure that you are getting the right information on the right person every time. Call (888) 725-2535 or visit www.sbchecks.com to receive a customized quote on your background screening needs.