10 Reasons Why You Should Never Skip the Employee Screening Process

May 31, 2022

While the person you’re interviewing might seem friendly and professional, they could be a registered sex offender.

That may seem extreme, but it’s always the ones you least expect. Many serial killers received praise for their charisma right up until law enforcement got wise of their crimes. Fear not, the chances that an interviewee is a serial killer are incredibly low, but the average person might have some shocking things in their backstory.

It’s not enough to judge a person solely on their demeanor, words, or even the references of others. Employee screening is a vital service all businesses should put into practice.

You should have all the information you can get on a person before making a final decision. Employee screening in many cases might be the only thing preventing you from accidentally hiring an undesirable candidate. This simple step can save you from far more than just criminals.

Below are 10 reasons why you should never skip the employment screening process.

1. Employee Screening Prevents Hiring Lawsuits

Hiring unqualified or disreputable candidates doesn’t just potentially hurt you and your business, but it may harm your employees and customers as well. If employees discover that their employer did not do a thorough pre-employment screening for a new hire, they can file suit.

To put it into perspective, last year in August there was a $1 billion verdict against a company whose trucker killed a college student in a crash. The driver in question was driving without a valid commercial driver’s license when the accident occured. This situation could have easily been prevented if only the company had completed a motor vehicle report and checked his commercial driver’s license information prior or initiating employment. 

These types of situations occur frequently. Most often then not, business owners do not consider how much damage an unscreened employee could do until they are faced with a big issue or a lawsuit. 

2. It Prevents Fraud

Studies have shown that as much as one-third of Americans lie on their resumes. These lies vary from small things, such as embellishing what responsibilities a person had on a previous job to big lies like having licenses or degrees they don’t actually possess. 

Depending on your industry, this could be a huge deal. Someone without the requisite experience could risk their life or the lives of other employees. That could set you up for costly liability if your services or products harm customers or fail to meet regulations.

Even if these are small discrepancies, they are things you ought to know. If an employee is off on the dates of when they worked for a previous company by one month, that likely won’t be an issue. But if they were in a lesser position than they claimed, that dishonesty could hurt your business later on.

3. It Prevents Workplace Violence and Harassment

It’s important to know if a potential employee has anger issues, is combative, or has a history of violent crime. Sexual harassment or bullying can land you in deep water. 

Often companies will do harassment training, but these sorts of training are less than effective for people who already have a history of causing abuse. It’s best to root out the cause of violence and harassment before it even gets there.

Again, the person you hire might be a sex offender. It pays to think of the social consequences if you hire a sex offender. This will spread rapidly through the rumor mill and could reach the news and cause significant damage to your organization.

4. It Prevents Data Theft

Every year, there are dozens of major data breaches. This includes not only customer information like passwords and emails, but your valuable intellectual property.

Believe it or not, these are often the result of an internal leak rather than an external hack. Employees with high-level permissions copy the data over to a thumb drive and then sell it or spread it online. If there’s any chance that someone you are hiring might do that, an employee verification could provide insight.

Even if an employee has no past history of intellectual data theft, an employee background check might provide clues as to whether you can trust them or not. 

And in the event that you do hire an employee that commits identify fraud or other kinds of theft, there are services to help you.

5. It Prevents Substance Abuse in the Workplace 

Drug use is not just harmful to an employee themself, it causes issues with tardiness, productivity, and overall work performance. Even worse, they could cause serious harm to their environment and coworkers. For example, an impaired employee operating a forklift or other heavy machinery.

Requiring a drug test can inform you if your potential hire is involved with illegal drug use. Employers who have dealt with employee substance abuse situations know the unreliability and disturbance this situation can cause in the workplace. A simple drug screening can avoid all this headache.

Best of all, you can do regular drug screenings to keep your current employees in line. It’s important to hire a reliable company to do your drug screenings. If an employee finds a way to get urine for their test from a friend, they could skirt your efforts to identify this.

6. It Prevents Hiring Illegal Immigrants

Most illegal immigrants are the hardest working and most trustworthy employees. They will work long hours and cut no corners. It makes sense since they are doing anything in their power to avoid deportation.

Unfortunately, there are steep penalties for hiring illegal immigrants. Even if you have the noble intentions of hiring someone in need, it won’t be worth the risk in the long run.

Even if someone is a legal immigrant, they may not have the authorization to work. An employee background check is necessary even if you would like to hire them. Sponsoring their work visa will be mountains cheaper than a fine.

7. It Helps You Adhere With Legal Compliance

In many industries, employees need certification to do their jobs. Certifications may seem tedious and expensive, but you’ll want every single one of your employees to have their necessary and updated certifications. If an employee lies about their certification, that puts every aspect of your business at risk from safety, to compliance, to OSHA regulations.

In some cases, a person does have a certification, but it has expired. For example, a food service worker got their Food Handler’s Card, but they haven’t gone back to get it updated. If the health inspector shows up at random, you’ll be in big trouble.

Further, your employee could be working with equipment or systems they do not understand. Even if they don’t hurt anyone, they could damage machinery, merchandise, or much more. There’s nothing more painful than those videos of a negligent employee on a forklift causing an entire shelf to come toppling down–likely because they did not have the proper qualifications to be driving that forklift!

8. It Protects Your Reputation

An employee represents your company throughout the workday. If they give a customer poor service, that customer isn’t going to think that that specific employee was at fault. They’ll assume the entire company is.

Even assuming your employee does not cause you direct liability, damage assets, or harm coworkers or customers, the long-term reputation damage could be just as detrimental. While there are other safeguards such as service surveys and online reviews to proactively identify these types of situations, sometimes you might not catch a bad employee’s actions until long after irreparable harm has been done. 
It’s also worth thinking about how negligent hiring could affect your relationship with your business partners. If they discover that your hiring practices are subpar, how will that affect their trust on you and future business ventures? Do you see how quickly negligent hiring can affect your business prosperity?

9. It Protects You Against False References

A common practice among many employees is to give a potential employer their friend’s phone number, pretending that it is a former boss. When you call this “boss” they might give critical acclaim for your potential hire, when in fact they were a mediocre or poor worker in past jobs.

A proper employee screening goes right to the source and determines all you need to know about an employee’s past performance.

10. It Protects You Against Employees That Were Fired

The last thing you want to do is to hire someone whose previous employer fired for poor behavior or work ethics. This one might be harder to spot. The dates at their previous job might line up, as does their previous position, but it pays to know if they were terminated and if they would be considered for rehire. Those 2 questions are covered during a pre-employment verification screen. 

This provides an excellent honesty test. You can ask a potential employee the reason why they left their previous job. If they say they decided to move on but during the employment verification you find out they were actually terminated, this is a huge indicator that this candidate is dishonest. This example is just one of the many ways employment verification can provide valuable insight on a candidate.

Conversely, someone who admits to termination is providing truthful information. That’s an employee you can trust much more than the former.

Protect Your Business With Employee Screenings

Employee screenings are a must-have for any company that wants to avoid all sorts of liability. Paying for a quality employee screening from a company you can trust saves you tons of money in the future. You’ll be glad that you invested in such a small measure to protect yourself and the rest of your workforce.

However, not all employment verification is equal. You need a company that will leave no stone unturned. Contact us today for employee background checks that will save your company from all the biggest headaches.

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