If your organization is like most, you are always looking for ways to save time and money on hiring employees. While there are many solutions to help you get the word out about open positions and file your paperwork in the cloud, make sure you invest wisely in screening your candidates. Without a comprehensive background screening, your organization may be risking costly mistakes by hiring an employee with a criminal record.
Pre-Employment Screening Can Be a Challenge
While pre-employment background screening is becoming more common, screening practices and policies still vary widely. For some employers, a background check might be a web search and a phone call to references. For others, it may entail everything from education validation, certifications and work history, to drug testing and criminal, credit, and military service background checks. Since thorough background screening can be a huge resource drain for most organizations, many companies have opted to outsource this process.
Conducting a Thorough Criminal Search
Sometimes searching databases isn’t enough. There are many types of criminal searches you can conduct, such as county, state, federal, and sex offender registry. Each type of search requires a different level of diligence. While instant databases are quick and convenient, they are incomplete, and not compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as a standalone services.
Most companies in the industry are doing more than one search to include both county and state investigations, and many have added sex offender registry searches. These expanded searches are providing employers with more comprehensive results. While a more thorough search can mean more delays in the investigation process, it’s a small price to pay to ensure a good hire.
Even if you pre-screen applicants before they are hired, retaining employees who become involved in criminal activity after they are hired can pose a serious threat to your company and staff. This could cost you millions in legal fees and loss of productivity, depending on the size of your company. You can manage this risk with employee audits and monitoring.
Background Checks are An Investment, Not an Expense
Employers often consider background checks a hiring cost. However, the value of a thorough background screening can outweigh the initial cost of conducting one. Investing up front in a quality background check can not only make a significant impact on the bottom line by reducing costs associated with hiring someone with a criminal record, it can also add peace of mind to the entire organization, especially when workplace violence is on the rise.
A bad hire can result in a number of painful and costly outcomes, including:
- Attrition and wasted hiring budgets
- Theft or embezzlement
- Damaged employee relations and morale
- Endangerment of employees, clients and business associates
- Lost productivity
- Public scandals and negative publicity
Costs of Negligent Hiring
Law Partner Teresa Jakubowski of Barnes & Thornburg says, “It only takes one unfortunate incident in the workplace, whether it is a sexual assault or an employee unloading with [a] gun. The first [thing] that the victim’s counsel will do is to get information on the perpetrator. The argument the employer will face is, ‘If you had done a criminal background check, you would have discovered that this person has a history of violent offenses. If you had been doing your job, you would not have hired this person and my client would not have been injured.’”
Keep Your Company on the Right Side of the Law
Giving employees access to your clients and your facilities means that you entrust them with the safety of your staff, clients, and assets. If you do not conduct a background check, specifically for criminal records, and a serious crime occurs, you may be guilty of negligent hiring. Although many employers purchase insurance against negligent hiring, this solution alone is inefficient. Demonstrate your due diligence by conducting a thorough pre-employment background screening to reduce the risks early on, and by monitoring employees on a regular basis once they are hired.
Reduce Employee Turnover
You spend significant time and money to recruit the best talent, onboard them, and provide necessary training. So it can feel like a bad break-up when they leave a short time after being hired. Then there's the cost - the off-boarding process, finding and training a suitable replacement, and loss of productivity. These costs add up and are estimated at 100% to 250% of an employee's annual salary plus benefits. One of the most valuable, reported benefits of background checks is the reduction in employee turnover. Background checks help employers determine whether or not a candidate is qualified, what their track record with past employers looks like, and if the individual will be a good fit for the organization.
What You Can Do
There are many ways to get a thorough background check, especially a criminal records check, for potential new hires and employees. With an integrated solution like Kwantek, its partnership with Sterling Backcheck allows you to request comprehensive criminal background checks, drug tests, and employment and education verification. Investing in a quality background check will help you save valuable time and resources with the confidence that you are hiring the most appropriate candidates.
See this article in Building Services Management Magazine
 Mary Swanton, “EEOC Focus on Criminal Background Checks Raises Negligent Hiring Concerns”, InsideCounsel, April 2010.
 “Negligent Hiring: How to Reduce Your Chances of Hiring a Claim.” Zurich. Sept. 2010 Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
 Ninth Annual Survey or Corporate Law Departments, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, 2013.
Images originally published by SterlingBackcheck, Leading Global Background Screening Provider. www.sterlingbackcheck.com/Resources/OurBlog.aspx.