As an employer, have you ever thought why it is essential for businesses to conduct background checks? And what happens if you don’t?
Background checks provide HR managers with an opportunity to verify and validate the information furnished by job candidates. It can also bring to light any information that may have been omitted by mistake or intentionally (such as a second residence where the candidate may have a criminal record).
Background checks are a proven risk management tool to mitigate the odds of poor hiring decisions and promote a safe work environment for all. Here are some of the key reasons why all employers should conduct thorough background checks.
Creating a Safer Workplace
A background check serves as a pre-emptive action to preserve the safety of the workforce and the organization’s overall integrity. Sometimes a job candidate may not be the right fit for a particular job position because of something in their past track record.
For instance, a candidate with a history of substance abuse may not be the right choice to work in a medical facility with accessibility to controlled drugs. Similarly, an individual with a criminal background may be considered unfit for a security officer’s post. People with a criminal history of child abuse or child porn might not be considered for a position at a children’s daycare facility, for instance.
Reducing the Risk of Liability
According to employment laws, all employers have a reasonable duty to determine the fitness of an applicant for a particular job before they are hired. The employer may face a negligent hiring liability lawsuit if:
- The HR team failed to conduct a proper background check
- The employer negligently hired an unfit or incompetent worker when it was possible to avoid it through a reasonable employee screening
- The negligent hiring resulted in an employee’s or a third party’s injury, loss, or damage
For instance, a commercial driver who is a repeat DUI offender may be hired without proper checks and no appropriate training or supervision was put in place. Or, a home plumbing repair worker with a criminal record of theft could be hired without a background check. Any negligent or intentional wrongdoing by these employees could increase the liability of the employer.
Improving Productivity and Competence
In a competitive business environment, employers must aim at hiring the best candidate for the job, and not someone who has managed to manipulate their skills, qualifications or job history because a rigorous screening process was not used.
A scientific and reliable applicant screening system must be put in place to ensure that the best hiring decisions can be made. This can be a useful tool over time to build a dedicated and competent workforce, which will lead to greater productivity and profitability of the organization.
The Bottom Line
Robust policies and procedures to conduct comprehensive background checks are critical to the creation of a resilient and reputable company. While a detailed screening process may appear time-consuming and complex at the outset, it will produce its own rewards over time.
The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) governs background checks. In any case, to achieve the best results from this exercise and lead a motivated workforce, make sure you apply these checks fairly and consistently to all employees.
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