When you hire someone, you’re not just giving them a job. You’re allowing them to be a member of your team, believing in them to bring something special to the table, and relying on them to represent your business the right way. When considering the magnitude of your responsibility to your business and your employees to hire the right person for the position, a background check on every candidate that you’re considering is absolutely essential… But what sort of things should you be looking out for on these background checks? Dan Ribacoff, an expert private investigator, describes the top 5 things to do before hiring someone:
#1. Are They Really Who They Say They Are?
Let’s say that you put out an ad that your business is in need of a new Operations Manager. You’re searching and searching, but you just can’t find a good fit for the job. Finally, you get an application for the position and the candidate’s resume says that they graduated at the top of their class from Harvard with a 4.0 GPA, they’ve had tons of work experience in operations, they’ve done charity work in South America, and they’re proficient in 3 different languages. Sounds like the perfect man/woman for the job, right? Not really… Odds are that pretty much none of that stuff is true.
According to an employment screening benchmark study, 85% of job applicants lie on their resumes in some way or another. While most of those lies are only small exaggerations that don’t make a huge difference, there are still quite a few applicants who will forge their entire resume to land a job that they are in no way qualified for. According to Dan Ribacoff, in addition to a background or reference check, a good strategy to spot the frauds is to ask each applicant to walk you through their resume as one of the first few interview questions, then ask detailed questions about each aspect of the their resume or LinkedIn profile. He states, “You can easily tell who knows their stuff from memory and who is making it up as they go if you’re really looking out for it.”
#2. Criminal Record Search
The last thing you want to do is hire the next Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. A lot of employers forget the importance of looking up candidates’ criminal records, so sometimes they have to learn the hard way. If you hire someone who was arrested for embezzling funds from the firm that they used to work for, what’s to stop them from doing it again to your firm? If a guy was charged with sexual harassment or sexual assault, do you really want that guy working in the same office as all of your female employees? These are things that you have to be aware of when you are making your hiring decisions because you never truly know what people are capable of. As an employer, recruiter, or human resources professional, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone you hire does not pose a threat to your business or the well-being of your employees and customers.
#3. Drug Tests
Drug testing your candidates or even current employees is a great way to uncover more about who you’re hiring. If you run small business, like an ice cream shop, and hire high school or college kids part-time, don’t have high hopes for negative test results. However, if you are a firm that only hires professionals with high forms of education and industry experience, drug tests can be a useful tool to ensure that you are hiring serious and healthy candidates.
In most states, drug testing applicants is completely legal as long as the applicant is made aware that the drug test is just a part of the interview process. Drug testing prior to the offering of the position is allowed sometimes, but most of the time, the applicant is offered the position first, so it’s normally the final step of the hiring process. A simple urine test is relatively inexpensive and is all that is necessary. It can detect marijuana use up to a month prior and harder drugs 3-7 days prior, which may not seem like a lot, but if someone can go without addictive drugs for over a week, it means that they are not regular users, nor are they dependent on them.
#4. Social Media Analysis
Taking a look at a job candidate’s instagram is a great way to learn more about their personal life and what they do outside of the office. A lot of the time, you’ll be surprised at what you may find. A lot of people think that what they post on social media stays private between them and their friends/followers, so they’re more likely to post things that truly represent who they are and how they feel about certain things.
Let’s take a second to look (and laugh) at some big social media mistakes that employees and job applicants have made:
#5. Prior Employment Verification
Listing 2-3 references are a standard part of any interview process and provide a great perspective on how others felt as their employer. The biggest problem that we’ve seen is that often times, candidates will lie about their reference: they’ll give you contact information of their former employer, but the phone number that you call will actually be the phone number of a friend or family member who will pretend to be their reference and will provide them with a stellar that they would not have gotten otherwise.
There are 2 different but effective steps in conducting prior employment verification to get the most accurate information about a job candidate. The first is to verify that the contact information given to you is real. You can do this by calling the number and speaking to the person and asking clarifying questions about their business, emailing the reference at a verified company email address, or even meeting the reference in person. The second step is to use their resume to contact previous employers who were not listed as references. Obviously, if the candidate was fired from a job or an employer had a negative experience with them, they will not list them as a reference, so you’ll have to do some research in contacting them, but by contacting non-listed references, you can uncover things that the candidate planned on leaving out of their application.
What We Can Do For You
After reading this, you can tell how much time and effort goes into screening just one candidate. We know that as a working professional, you may not have the time to do all of the things listed above, so we’re here to help. Here at International Investigative Group, we have over 30 years of experience in conducting background checks, drug tests, criminal history searches, social media analysis, prior employment verification, education verification, financial checks, and much more! Feel free to check out our Pre Employment Screening Services.