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Susan M. Heathfield

Never Skip Background Checking

By December 17, 2011

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Anyone who works for a business has stories to tell about candidates and background checking. For the holidays and the New Year, resolve that you will never skip background checking, even for that charming candidate who blew your interview team away... You'll be sorry...

I once called a potential employee's first reference and found he had given me his wife as a reference. When I asked him what on earth he had been thinking, he replied that he had talked with his wife the night before his interview about whom he should use as references. She told him to pick people who liked him and would say nice things about him. Who better, he asked me. Hmm.

Lately, I heard the end of this story. The young man was fired within six months of starting. Apparently, he had a terrible propensity to sleep at his desk and work expectations were his least concern.

On another occasion, I audited a client's hiring process and found that they were not doing background checking. At the same time, they were experiencing huge product losses due to employee theft. Long story - short, but they were eventually able to fire several people for theft and several others for different reasons including attendance.

In the most astonishing example of hiring without background checking that I have experienced, the employer had unknowingly hired an employee who was recently released from prison. He served time for arson and part of his sentence was to make restitution to the building owner of $100,000. Guess who was stealing products to pay his debt? Yup, you guessed it.

Background checking, including reference checking, is a critical component, if not the most important component, of your hiring process. Joshua Levy talks about five significant issues in background checking for employers. You'll want to take a look.

What have you experienced doing background checking? Have a good story? Please share.

Image Copyright Kirby Hamilton

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December 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm
(1) Denise says:

My organization, once hired a gentleman without a background/reference check and he only worked 15 full 8 hour days out of the 90 days we allowed his employment to continue. And, of the 15 days he was on the clock, he was missing in action a lot and offended some of the ladies in borderline sexual harrassment behavior.

January 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm
(2) Suzanne C. says:

Our most flagrant example of a skipped background check occurred when we were going through staffing services to fill our front office hiring on a temp-to-perm basis. We were sent a candidate to fill an A/P position. Although the vendor we used claimed to perform full background and reference checks on their recruits, we followed up by personally calling the last three employers listed.

To our surprise, our new A/P coordinator had been fired from a similar position for writing checks to himself! We immediately dismissed both the individual AND the staffing service.

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