When recruiters/head hunters, managers or HR professionals are in need to
fill a position, they should look for more than just a proper skill set, experience or a good fit for team or company. They should also consider whether or not there are or may be reasons for not contracting a specific applicant.
It is estimated that around 10% (US) of applicants have criminal convictions. A considerable amount of resumes contain serious falsehoods or omissions. Diplomas and certificates can be bought at a reasonable price by those that want to beef up their academic achievements. It is therefore important to avoid costly mistakes and
that appropriate measures are taken to reduce the risk associated with recruitment/hiring new employees. Especially in tighter markets where there is a shortage of skills, the need for proper hiring procedures may be overlooked or neglected.
At all times however, you will want to find a balance between required controls and attracting applicants. Employers, should use evaluation tools. For the purpose of this article however, and realizing that such a programmatic approach is not always
realized, here are some tips that can be used immediately, at no cost, that will assist you in better informed decisions and will hopefully reduce your recruitment risks.
It is well known that even the best fraud controls will not do their job if you hire
dishonest employees. While it may not always be possible to predict the future and while it is believed that everyone deserves a second chance, I also promote that you can only make a good decision in these matters if you are well informed. I speak from experience when I say that I have often ended up being involved in cases where the signs were all
over the wall. If someone had only taken the trouble of a proper evaluation of the information provided by candidates.
Ok, enough now,here are some tips that may assist you in making better informed
- First determine what the actual needs of the organization
are and whether or not these needs may be addressed internally.
Consider recruiting internally first.
- If at all possible use pre-formatted application forms and include any documents or authorization forms that you may require. This ensures that you stay in control of the information you require from each applicant and forces to sit down and document your requirements.
- Have each job applicant sign a consent form for a background check, including a check for criminal records, past employment, financial information and education. Announcing upfront that your firm checks applicants’ backgrounds may discourage applicants with something to hide, and encourage applicants to be truthful and honest about mistakes they have made in the past.
- In addition to an actual check, ask whether or not an applicant has been convicted for criminal offenses in the broadest possible terms allowed by law. Laws may differ considerably so ask your lawyer or HR professional where the boundaries are.
- Towards the end of an interview, advise applicants that the firm performs a
criminal background and reference check as a standard business practice.
- Ask the applicant if he or she has any concerns to share. Good applicants will usually pay no heed to the question. Applicants with a problematic background may either reveal relevant background information or withdraw their application.
- You could ask applicants during an interview what they think a former employer might say about them. For example, “If we were to contact past employers, how would they describe your performance, work style?” Since the applicant has signed an authorization and has been advised that such checks may occur, the applicant may be more motivated to reveal information about past jobs.
- Make sure that the applicants are advised in clear terms that any false or
misleading statements or material omissions are grounds to terminate the hiring process or employment, regardless of when discovered.
- Should employment commence before the completion of a background check: make
sure that any agreement states in writing that employment is conditional upon a background report that is satisfactory to the employer.
- Verifying past employment is often a neglected but very important tool for an
employer. Generally speaking, past job performance can be a predictor
of future success and offers you an opportunity to test whether or not there may be issues as to how the applicant may fit in.
- Verification of dates of employment and job title are critical because an employer:
there may be hidden and unexplained gaps in the employment history to
should be discussed or may raise concern. There may be many reasons for a gap in employment.
- When you are provided contact details of referees from past employers or otherwise, always use the general number of the organization as opposed to any private number or DDI provided. Ill-willed applicants may have made arangments with friends or family.
- Gaps in employment histories should at all times be discussed. There may be a thousand very valid reasons for these gaps, however if an applicant cannot account for them that could be a red flag. Where in doubt, consider ways to corroborate the explanations provided by the applicant.
- Ask for previous addresses, and likewise, if an applicant cannot account for them that may be another red flag. In some jurisdictions (for instance US) previous addresses are paramount to efficiently and effectively perform adequate criminal background checks due to the way the system is set up.
- Obtain a listing of all past addresses for five to ten years.
- Advise applicants that besides pre-employment screenings, employment screenings may be performed for specific reasons for instance if a future investigation is required.
- Since you already obtained the authorization, do actually check for criminal records. There are services providers that can assist in this, as well as obtain financial and other background information.
- Finally, documenting an attempt to obtain references can demonstrate due diligence and may be seen as an expression of how serious you take your company and its employees, the applicant included. They are after all your most important asset.
Originally posted at Dierckx & Associates.
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