When hiring new employees, think of yourself as a bodyguard. What are you protecting? Once the interview process has brought you to a point where you are ready to make a hire, it is your duty to protect your current employees, your company security and your company’s reputation. Performing checks on new hires is an absolutely essential part of keeping your business safe. There are three major checks you must make during the hiring process; just because they are commonplace does not mean that they should not be top of mind.
As an employer, you have not only the right but the responsibility to conduct thorough background checks on any potential employee. Arrest and conviction records will be made available to you via the Public Information Act. Be careful, however; many employers do not realize that the ability to hire based upon these background checks varies from state to state. Some states only allow employers to discriminate based upon criminal convictions, not an individual’s arrest record. In others, the rules vary depending upon the position or the field; that is, a teacher will be vetted differently than will an accountant. You can check on the North Carolina state regulations here, and you can find those for South Carolina here.
It may seem like a strange idea to conduct a credit check on a prospective hire, especially if the job in question does not require handling money. Credit checks, however, are a good measurement of a person’s ability to be responsible and keep account both of money and of tasks to be completed. A person with a good credit score is a person who not only pays his or her debts, but does so in a timely and complete fashion. Keep in mind that a low credit score is not reason enough to discriminate when hiring; extenuating circumstances – such as the loss of a job or medical costs due to catastrophic illness or injury – may be more to blame than irresponsibility. At worst, a credit check should be cause for a conversation with the candidate in a forum which allows for the explanation of a poor score. If you are going to conduct a credit check during the hiring process, make sure that you provide explicit and visible (read: no fine print) notice that you may require such a check, and get written consent from your applicant.
This one seems like a no-brainer. After all, if you’re not checking applicants’ referrals, you’re just asking for incompetence and loss of productivity. What you might not know – or simply may have forgotten – is that former employers are only required to give the beginning and ending dates of employment along with a job title. Except in the instance of your applicant having given permission – through a waiver or other written agreement – to a former employer, no confidential information may be released. You should use a reference check as proof against résumé fraud. An important tip during a reference check is to listen to what is not said. Employers, as you well know, are prohibited from giving negative impressions of or information about a former employee unless company policy was violated, other employees’ safety was threatened, or a crime was committed while on the job. No ex-boss is going to refrain from gushing about an excellent worker, however. Listen for that gush. You can tell a lot about what a manager thinks about a person by what that manager says and does not say.
CEO Inc. conducts background checks, credit checks and reference checks in a thorough and professional manner for our clients. Call us at 704.372.4701 or visit www.CEOHR.com for more information about how to protect your company’s security and reputation during the hiring process.