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Consent for Background Checks

Conducting a background check must be done properly.  There are many laws governing how one proceeds with an investigation.  These laws vary from state to state.  It is important that they be conducted properly.  I advise using an experienced, knowledgeable organization to ensure compliance with both federal and state laws.

There are several areas of liability from Title VII violations to Fair Credit Reporting violations.  It’s important to “know your stuff”.  Most HR Professionals are familiar with the process.  If you do not have an HR Professional in your organization, I would recommend using a third party so that you can be sure you are in compliance.

I’ve included a copy of a consent form in today’s blog for your reference.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this topic.Background & Credit check consent form – standard

A Pre-Employment Horror Story

Yesterday I spoke about the importance of pre-employment screenings.  Not to scare anyone or to have you think you are hiring the next “postal” worker but it should be taken seriously.  As an owner one must take precautions to ensure the safety of not only the stakeholders within the organization but also to anyone who comes in contact with that organization, vendors, customers, etc.

Case in point, what if your business suddenly picks up and you need to hire several new customer service reps to handle the  new volume of business.  You place an ad, receive a multitude of resumes and start the interviewing process.  You find the perfect person, they are well groomed, well-spoken, and have the perfect background experience . . . just what you are looking for.  In fact, you’ve fallen in love with them and hire them on the spot.  Good move?  No!!!!

In most cases it doesn’t take more that 24 hours to perform a thorough background check on that person.  You then have peace of mind knowing you’ve done your due-diligence and you have protected your business and all concerned.

You ask, “What about the Horror Story”?  OK, here goes:

This happened to John (names have changed to protect the “not so innocent”).  He needed to hire a customer service rep because business had consistently picked up and because of the overtime it was costing him.  He found the perfect guy (Steve) and hired him on the spot.  A week later he got a call from one of his customers stating that Steve “flew off the handle” when John called about an error on a recent order.  The customer knew that John stressed the importance of superior customer service and wanted John to be aware of the unusual behavior.

John called me to ask how he should handle the situation.  We asked about background screening and John said he didn’t have time.  We then conducted a “post hire” screening to discover that Steve had several counts of domestic violence charges all stemming from a “short temper”.

We discussed the results with John and he was not willing to give Steve a second chance based on the results of the report and his behavior with one of John’s customers.  Because Steve was within his 90 day introductory period, we advised John to terminate Steve immediately as he was within his introductory period and to state that Steve just wasn’t the right fit for the position.

John was fortunate because his customer cared enough to report Steve.  What would have happened to John’s business if the customer did not report Steve?  Take the time to check the backgrounds of those you hire, it will save you in the long run.

Don’t have time to do it yourself? Use a third-party vendor.  We’d be happy to assist you.

The Importance of Pre-employment Screening?

How honest are applicants on their resume?

What are good pre-employment screening procedures?

Pre-employment screening is more common these days than ever before. It’s estimated that over 40% of resumes can contain false or ‘tweaked’ information.  Employers want to insure that what they are getting in an employee is what they were promised.  The employer may perform a reference check to find out whether an applicant actually graduated from the college they said they did or to confirm that they worked at their previous employer(s) during the time stated on their resume or job application.

Employers need to know who they are hiring and they have a duty to their stakeholders and co-workers to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Background checks typically include both a criminal and credit check on the potential employee.  Finding out the truth about someone using a background check is quick, inexpensive and allows an employer to take the guess work out of hiring.

Do you know who you just hired?  Do you REALLY know who you just hired?

November 19, 2010 No Comments

Finding the Perfect Hire: Traits are More Important Than KSAs!

I was talking the other day to a friend about a recent hire their company made.

There were several highly skilled, knowledgeable people in the running for the position.  This position had been filled several times over the past few years and management was willing to take extra time in the process in order to find the right person who was willing to make a long-term commitment to the organization.  Having gone through several people they did not want to make the same mistakes they had in the past.

They conducted group interviews to get feedback from several team members throughout the organization; they did extensive reference checks on the individuals’ backgrounds; they put scenarios before the candidates and asked them how they would handle each situation; they posed real-life issues in the organization and asked the candidates if they had any solutions they might suggest; they had senior management spend considerable time with each candidate.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

The process took many months to complete and they finally chose who they thought was the “perfect” person.  Well, guess again.

After two months things are not what they seemed to be during the interview process.  Although the person possessed the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), the person does not possess the traits that would make them compatible with the rest of the team.  They have great ideas but their approach on how to implement change is not cutting it.  Staff is finding the individual abrasive, offensive and not considerate of others.  I am not saying that the individual needs to be “warm and fuzzy” but there should be some consideration for those who have been in the trenches, dealing with the battles without a leader.  Someone once said that the only one who likes change is a wet baby.  Well there are ways to handle change that can make it more palatable for those involved.  This person just doesn’t have what it takes to bring the team together.  Rather than rallying the troops, they are alienating them. 

This is a common mistake made in the hiring process.  Possessing the right traits and personality is so much more important than knowledge, skills and abilities.  Traits are not as easily learned as KSAs.  When looking for the right person, it is so important to look at the whole person and not just segments of their constitution.  In the case of my friend and their current situation, they are now “stuck” with another bad hire.  They need to cut their losses and move on.  I only hope they’ll listen to some sound advice before making the next move.