It used to be that an application, a resume, and a simple job interview were enough for most employers to know whether or not they wanted to hire somebody. These days though, with a growing number of horror stories involving dangerous criminals working in retail stores or rapists working in schools, more and more hiring managers are asking their applicants to undergo pre-employment background checks. If you run your own business and have been trying to decide whether or not to run background checks on your employees, here are eight reasons why you should choose to do so.
1. It protects you from liability: Picture this scenario: you hire someone without running a background check, thinking them to be a friendly person with good credentials. That person ends up getting angry on the job and severely injuring a customer or another employee. If that individual had a criminal record that could have predicted this violent outburst, then you could be held liable for the incident and charged with negligent hiring practices. It’s your responsibility to keep your customers and employees safe, so you absolutely need to do everything in your power to make sure the people you are hiring are not dangerous. In many cases, background checks are the best way to do that.
2. It tells you if your applicant was lying to you: It’s a sad fact of today’s employment sector that virtually everyone embellishes their work experience, but a background check can help you find out who is being honest with you and who is not. From spotting fake education information to verifying whether or not your employees really have the professional licenses they claimed on their job application, background checks give you the information you need to weed out the liars. After all, no boss wants an employee who isn’t honest.
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3. It helps show whether or not someone is responsible with money: When it comes to jobs that involve handling money, from stock brokers to accountants, you naturally want to know whether your applicants are good at managing their own personal funds. Credit checks are valuable for learning more about an employee’s financial past. You’ll want to use these records sparingly, but if you don’t feel comfortable putting control of your company’s funds into the hands of someone who can’t even make their own credit card payments on time, then feel free to remove them from your applicant pool.
4. It clues you in to how your applicant performed at previous jobs: Many background checks include reference verifications, which look into the personal and business references an applicant provides and use them to judge that person’s work ethic and character. Sometimes, former bosses are the best source of information for any prospective employee, since they will usually tell you, with complete candor, whether or not they were satisfied with the work performance of the person you are considering for a job. Glowing references should set your mind at ease about a lot of things; applicants who get called out by former bosses for poor teamwork mentality or overall lack of dependability, on the other hand, are people you probably don’t want to hire.
5. It helps uncover aliases and warrants: If your applicant is operating under a fake name or using somebody else’s identity, you would never know about it without a background check. Screening a person can help uncover aliases, verify social security numbers, or ping active arrest warrants. In other words, a background check can help you catch an identity thief or a fugitive from the law, and even if not, someone using an alias is probably someone who is hiding something. Best to pass on those applications and let the authorities sort everything out.
6. It gives you a window into applicant driving records: This one is specifically for companies whose employees drive extensively, whether to deliver products and services to customers or even to commute extensively by car. If you are hiring someone for a driving position, you absolutely can’t make that decision safely without knowing what their driving record looks like. A speeding ticket is probably okay, but a DUI conviction is a huge red flag and should almost always give you reason to dismiss an applicant. You don’t want to be the root cause behind an alcohol-traffic accident, and you might be if you put a known drunk driver on the road for a job.
7. It spots drug use: Many workplaces maintain a strict no drug use policy, a numerous background check vendors bundle a drug screening option with their more traditional criminal background check services. If you are looking to create the safest and most efficient workplace environment possible, then this should be reason enough for you to establish numerous pre-employment screening processes.
8. It gives you peace of mind: Last but not least, running background checks on your applicants and employees gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you made the right hiring decision. Often, it can be difficult to tell who is the best candidate for a position simply from the interview, the resume, and the application. Everyone tries to put their best foot forward during the employment screening process, to the point where you might not even see the real person behind the interview façade until you make a hiring decision.
Background checks can not only help you get to know your applicants better, but they can also give you a means of discovering things about people that aren’t going to be listed on resumes. As a result, employers who run background checks across the board can feel more assured in knowing that they hired a safe, honest, reliable, and trustworthy person for the job. You can’t put a price on that.
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