Whenever you hire anyone, you are taking a bit of a gamble. You always hope it will turn out well, and that you’ll end up with motivated, dedicated, and trustworthy employees who will stick with you for the long haul. There are many best practices that can give you a better chance of achieving this outcome, and one of them is running a background check for employment on any applicant you’re considering.

4 Reasons You Need to Run a Background Check for Employment

To Protect Yourself From a Lawsuit

Many employers are not aware that they can be liable for negligent hiring. This is a legal liability you don’t want to be involved in: the average negligent hiring lawsuit ends up costing an employer about a million dollars. A good background check could just save you an enormous amount of money and time fighting a lawsuit over an employee you failed to vet carefully.

An Example

If a property management company hires someone to do a job around the property, giving them access to keys or pass-lock combinations, and that employee begins stealing from the tenants, the property management company could be held liable. The question will be whether the property management company did their due diligence in checking out the employee before they were hired.

Who Is Most Vulnerable

Questions of liability are especially serious if you work in any industry involved in caregiving, whether for adults or children. You should also be extra cautious of the possibility of liability when you have employees doing deliveries, maintenance, or utility repair. The best first step in protecting yourself against this type of liability is running a background check for employment on anyone who might be in any position of trust.

To Enhance Trust

Trust between employers and employees is vital if a business is to be profitable. Trust is an intangible. It’s difficult to build and even more difficult to rebuild once it’s lost. If you can trust your employees, you’re free to concentrate on the aspects of the business you need to worry about most. You can give over some of the day-to-day running to someone else without spending that day worrying about how things will run.

Trust is built over time, but it has to start somewhere. A background check for employment is a great place to start. According to HireRight’s 2017 employment screening report, a whopping 85% of all the employers have found lies on applicant resumes. The best professional guesses are that close to 65% of people will put at least a minor fib on their application.

Why It Matters

In some cases, minor white lies don’t make much of a difference. If an employee wants to cast having put some colored stickers on the files as “implemented a new filing system for the office,” this probably isn’t something you need to worry about too much.

What you should worry about are the lies that can destroy trust once you find out about them later. And it’s not just the trust between you and the potential hire that is at issue: if other employees find out you’ve hired someone who lied about their experience and previous positions, you’re eroding trust there, too.

To Create a Safe Environment

As an employer, the government considers you responsible for creating a safe workplace for your employees. Of course, you also have to create a safe environment for customers and clients if you want to keep them coming back! One of the smartest ways to do this is by running a background check on anyone you’re considering hiring.

What to Look for

The most important thing to look for here is a criminal history. In some states, you cannot reject a person solely for an arrest, but the conviction is a different matter. Even there, however, you have to consider the conviction in question. Was the conviction for a crime that has any bearing on what you do or on the potential hire’s employment responsibilities? A college arrest years ago for marijuana possession will probably have no relevance to the position you are hiring for. A conviction for assault is different. It could indicate a person you must protect your employees and customers from.

One other thing to look at in a background check is negative comments from previous employers or coworkers. Tread carefully here, as sometimes people just have been an ax to grind. But if you see a consistent pattern, it’s probably worth investigating more closely to ensure you’re not hiring a troublemaker who could endanger your customers.

To Cut Down on Workplace Theft

Workplace theft is increasingly common. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners recently found that while employee theft accountant for only 10.6% of all corporate losses in 2002, by 2018 employee theft was responsible for 21% of these losses. Ironically, small and medium-sized businesses are much more likely to experience serious employee theft than big corporations.

While it might not seem that it matters much if an employee grabs an occasional extra roll of tape around Christmas, over time these thefts add up. Most importantly, they erode trust.

How a Background Check Helps

A background check for employment can help in this situation by giving you a heads-up as to whether a potential higher has a history of petty theft. This might flag up in comments from previous employers, criminal records, and personal lawsuits.

It also doesn’t hurt to consider a person’s credit history. While there are plenty of people who make excellent employees but just aren’t all that great at managing their money, if credit is too bad, you might be looking at a person with so many debts that they face a constant temptation to steal. This is a red flag it could be worth pursuing further.

Keeping Your Check Legal

Background checks are helpful, but only when you stay in compliance with the law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission oversees there are two key issues to pay attention to.

Avoid Discrimination

You must not discriminate, or even look like you’re discriminating, on the basis of anything you see you about a person. This includes their age, race, sex, religion, and more.

The best way to avoid any appearance of discrimination is to run precisely the same background check and ask precisely the same questions of every candidate that comes across your desk. You can’t, for example, ask only people of a certain color about their arrest record or only ask for medical information about people of a certain age. You can, however, ask these questions about all candidates of every color and age.

Get Permission

You cannot run a background check on a potential employee without getting their permission. In essence, what you must do is make it very clear that you intend to use an applicant’s information for a background check. This means getting a signature assent and informing the applicant with a page of information about what you plan to do. This page can’t have any other information on it. 

Get the Right Background Check

A good background check protects you, your employees, your clients and customers, and the whole future of your business. With something this important, don’t leave it to a random Internet check. Contact the Background Experts today and get a background screening you can trust.