When You Need More Than Just a Reference Check
You may think you’ve looked into everything you need to uncover about job candidate. You’ve interviewed them, maybe more than once, they’ve presented an impressive resume and they fit in with your company’s culture. Just to be extra sure, you call their references, all of whom have glowing reviews about the candidate.
While this may seem like all you need to go ahead and hire them, this may not be an accurate portrayal of the person. At this point you’ve only completed the first step of a background check by gathering information yourself via interviews and information provided by the candidate. This information is used to determine things like:
- Skills: Is the candidate skilled enough to handle their job duties?
- Company culture: Would the candidate get along well with other employees?
- Salary and compensation: Does their salary expectations match what you can provide?
- Past accomplishments: Does the candidate have enough experience to handle future situations?
Although the candidate may pass your initial interviews, you must keep in mind this is information provided by the candidate, who obviously will have an interest in providing information that portrays them in the best light. Not all candidates will lie, but there is no way to be completely sure without a more thorough search. While you may have a good feeling about a candidate, you may be at risk by relying on your intuition too much. For example, reference checks, while helpful and necessary, won’t often reveal negative information about the candidate. If the candidate has provided you with these contacts, chances are they specifically chose references that are more likely to provide praise than critique. References reinforce the things you may want to hear about a candidate you already have begun to like.
This is where the second step of a background check comes in – a thorough database search provided by a consumer reporting agency you to verify the candidate’s identity, criminal history, and credentials. A CRA or background check company has instant access to billions of nationwide records to help you quickly identify any red flags that may have been hidden by the job candidate. The beauty of a data based background check is that it leaves little room for high risk hires to hide. You’ll know right away if the candidate will pose a threat to company’s safety, reputation, or finances.
Imagine or recall a scenario in which you’ve hired a “bad” employee. Perhaps in a large company one bad hire out of thousands of employees will likely not send the company into chaos. However, consider a small business setting of 25 employees or fewer, in which one employee represents a more significant proportion of employees. A bad hire could potentially stop a company’s progress in its tracks. Even in a large company the benefits of a proper pre-employment screening are many.
For starters, you’ll expose white lies about graduation dates, GPA, or degrees helping you hire only trustworthy, qualified individuals. You’ll potentially avoid lawsuits for negligent hiring and improve the quality of new hires by relying on better insights. So don’t forego a detailed check. If you’re diligent now, you’ll likely save yourself a headache later and keep your company moving forward.