A poor hiring decision can have disastrous consequences for a company.
Not only is there the cost and inconvenience generated by an employee who does not have the qualities and credentials necessary to do the job, but there is also the loss of the investment in the hiring process, the possibility that the financial security of the business may be undermined and the risk to the reputation and integrity of the employer to be considered.
The accompanying media reporting of the consequences of making a poor hiring decision can have considerable impact on the company’s standing in the business world and wider community, leading to a loss of trust and ultimately, profitability.
In order to reduce this risk, it is essential to appoint only those candidate's whose CV's and background have been carefully verified. Business integrity is enhanced by practicing “due diligence” in the hiring process.
The most basic background checks undertaken in New Zealand are a criminal records check, and enquiries with nominated referees. You can do these yourself, but increasingly, employers (and recruitment agencies) are turning to specialised employment screening companies to do this for them. The advantage in using a professional employment screening provider is that they will be conversant with all the legislative and privacy requirements associated with undertaking employment screening. They will know which questions to ask, which questions are unlawful and they will verify your candidates’ background without offending them, or their referees. They also have no vested interest in whether the candidate is appointed, or not.
In addition, employment screening companies offer services which enhance the basic checks you can do yourself. They will have access to Government and commercial databases (such as entitlement to work in New Zealand, drivers’ licence records, credit reports, Companies Office and bankruptcy records, etc) as well as an efficient means of confirming academic records with educational institutions and/or verifying a person’s eligibility to practice their profession with the relevant professional body.
There is also the question of arranging overseas enquiries if the candidate has lived or worked in another country.
Some providers are able to augment the process by offering very specialised services. They have tools which can predict a candidate’s predisposition towards theft, bribery, gambling, drug abuse, and whether they are likely to be a loyal and accountable employee. It is even possible to detect deception within a candidate’s job application by using forensic language analysis.
This type of testing is an inexpensive way to gain information about candidates that might otherwise take years to surface and it is of course just as valuable in assessing the veracity of any applicant.
Some real examples of employee dishonesty
Fake CV - a woman was hired as a Finance Manager on the basis of having several degrees. Her performance was so poor that after a few months she was dismissed. Following her departure the company discovered $54,000 was missing. The ensuing investigation established she did not have the qualifications claimed, and she was later convicted of fraud.
Employee theft - A Supervisor stole $92,680 from her employer. Whilst the theft was being investigated every one of the company’s 86 employees came under suspicion and the husband & wife owners of the company almost had to close their business because of the theft.
In just 11 months, a Manager stole $3 million from his employer. The scale of his theft resulted in the company nearly going bankrupt and two of the company’s shareholders lost their homes through mortgagee sales when they had to make good the company’s losses. The manager was imprisoned for 4½ years.
No background screening - A lawyer hired without any verification of his background was later found to have 39 undeclared criminal convictions and had served three terms of imprisonment. His offending included drug possession, burglary, theft, assault and intentional damage.
So, no matter what size your business or organisation, if you are serious about reducing your legal and financial exposure to hiring unqualified and unsuitable employees, then verify their CV and background. Either do this yourself or get some help.