Posts Tagged ‘Employee Pre Screening’

Employers: Should Employers Be Suspicious of All Employees?

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

employee background checks, pre-employment screeningHow can you tell which are the trustworthy employees in your company, and which are potential thieves? The news is filled with stories of companies who have been victimized by seemingly great workers—the ones who are always on time, helpful and friendly, who are also skimming cash out of the register or taking merchandise home every night.

Most business owners don’t realize they’re vulnerable until it’s too late. In fact, the Association of Fraud Examiners released a report stating that typically, employee fraud continues for 18 months before it’s discovered.

Employee fraud affects more companies than you might expect. And since 87% of these acts are committed by first-time offenders, pre-employment screening won’t always help. That doesn’t mean it’s not necessary for helping employers determine whether a prospective employee is a good fit, based on criminal background and credit history. But it is possible for a person with a clean record to be hired, only to commit fraud on the job.

Employee fraud might entail falsifying payroll records, embezzling from company bank accounts, taking a few dollars out of the cash register on a regular basis, stealing merchandise or helping other employees cheat the company by covering up their actions.

How can business owners protect themselves from employee fraud? Should you be suspicious of all employees? No, but keep in mind the three factors that must be present for fraud to occur: motivation, opportunity and rationalization. Some employees are motivated by greed; others, by need. Know your employees. Listen to their problems. Does one have a child with a drug problem? Does another have a gambling addiction?

Then, keep your eyes and ears open at all times to make sure your employees with motivation don’t have the opportunity to steal. Implement proper controls, such as dual signatures on checks. Keep tight controls on access to cash, and never allow the same person who counts the money to also deposit it in the bank.

Finally, eliminate the possibility for rationalization. If you are skimming cash from the register yourself, what does that say to your employees? And what about the employer who brags about cheating on his or her taxes? Some employees who commit fraud think it’s okay to steal from an employer they perceive as “rich,” or whom they feel is underpaying them. This isn’t to say that you need to pay employees high wages to prevent stealing, but paying them fair wages—and never bragging about your own financial situation—can help eliminate the rationalization of thieves.

If employees like and trust you, and feel respected and trusted, they are less likely to commit fraud.

When hiring new employees, be sure to conduct proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Are Your Employees Headed Out the Door?

Friday, June 8th, 2012

employee screening, employee background checkEmployee retention is an issue for every employer, at one time or another. For some, turnover is a constant problem. And it could be on the rise. After a few years of economic troubles, cutbacks and demands for more productivity, today’s workers are burned out.

A few recent surveys show some numbers that back up that remark:

  • Fewer than one in three employees are engaged in their work.
  • Only 45% of workers say they are “satisfied” with their jobs.
  • Approximately 32% of employees hope to find a new job within the next year.

And just because employees are “satisfied,” it doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy. Besides costing you money, turnover affects morale and productivity. And even if your employees are staying put, if they’re not happy, they won’t be as productive.

Engaged employees are pleasant to be around. They treat customers and co-workers well, and excel in job performance. Engaged employees are not content with simply doing what’s expected—they’d rather go the extra mile so that the organization’s goals are met.

Creating a culture of engagement requires some work. Employers and managers in any business can improve employee engagement with these tips:

  • Involve employees in decision-making, by keeping lines of communication open.
  • Inspire trust by being truthful and transparent, taking blame for their mistakes and doing what they say they will do.
  • Give employees the chance to learn new tasks, along with a path for advancement.
  • Take the time to recognize employees’ efforts.

While no company will ever have 100% engaged and happy employees, most could use some improvement in this area. While these ideas won’t work miracles overnight, they will create a foundation for progress.

Hiring? Avoid Making These Types of People Your New Employees

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkIf you’re hiring, you’ll likely see all types of applicants. Some will be a good fit for your company, and some won’t. Some will help you weed them out with big red flags, like lying on their resumes, while others throw out little pink flags that are more difficult to spot. While they look great on paper and interview well, certain types of employees may prove to be more trouble than you expect. The impact can range from simple aggravation to permanent harm to your company, your reputation or your brand.

Three Types of Employees You Don’t Want to Hire

  • The first type to avoid is the employee who performs at the “just enough” level. They do just enough work to get by. They come in exactly on time, and leave just when the clock says their shift is over. They contribute just enough to the company culture, share just enough ideas and give just enough of themselves to help out fellow employees. While one of these types on staff probably won’t hurt your company, can you imagine if you had an entire “just enough” team? Avoid hiring this type of person.
  • Next, you might see the entitled type of employee. You might think you’re doing them a favor by hiring them, but their opinion is quite the opposite. They feel you owe them a job, and you’re the one who’s receiving the favor of them showing up for work. Soon, you’ll hear that they are not being paid enough, or that their job description doesn’t cover the tasks you’re asking them to perform. They may expect special treatment. Some view benefits like paid sick leave as just like vacation, and therefore theirs for the taking—whether they are sick or not.
  • The constant complainer is another potentially burdensome employee. When interviewing, ask lots of questions about why the applicant left his or her previous job, what they liked and did not like about it, the company, their supervisor and fellow employees Look for clues, which might range from negative comments about a previous boss or company, or even “joking” about the dress code. And ask about how much interaction they had with customers. An interviewee who complains about customers has his or her priorities in the wrong order.

While you might not discover these toxic types of employees until after they’ve been hired, if you can avoid them, you’ll be glad you did. And remember, employee pre-screening is a must to uncover any credit issues, an undisclosed criminal background or discrepancies that can indicate a potential problem employee.

For Employers: 5 Ways to Uncover Resume Fraud

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Just because it’s almost assumed that job seekers fudge their résumés doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it. Hiring managers can and should uncover little white lies and big fat fibs on a resume. From misleading the employer about where a college degree was earned, to inventing positions at companies that don’t exist, experienced human resources pros have seen it all.

Various studies show that more than 50% of job applicants submit false information to potential employers. And this includes everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to college football coaches. A 2004 survey of human resources professionals reported that over 61% of them had uncovered falsifications or inaccuracies in resumes “often” or “sometimes” after carrying out pre-employment background checks.

With a more competitive job market than we’ve seen in a very long time, business owners and hiring managers are sure to see an increase in desperate job hunters hoping you’ll believe what they claim for education and experience—or at least that you won’t take the time to verify it.

Here are 5 Ways to Uncover Résumé Fraud:

  1. Conduct a thorough employee background check: You can receive reports verifying an applicant’s name, social security number, sex offender status, criminal and civil court records, address history, credit report and more.
  2. Verify employment and personal references: Job seekers sometimes get away with phony references—because employers don’t take the time to actually check them. If a phone number and reference name provided by an applicant don’t match, that could be a red flag. It could also be a simple mistake, so be sure to follow up with the candidate. Make sure you double-check employment dates with previous employers to determine whether the applicant stretched them to cover gaps in experience.
  3. Do some social network sleuthing: a simple check of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could reveal more about a job candidate than they want you to know. Or, it could provide you with the good feeling that they are who they say they are.
  4. Ask questions: Require job applicants to explain gaps in employment history. Ask detailed questions about education or work experience. If you know a professor at the school they claim a degree from, drop the name. Ask about their supervisor or team leader. Listen for any signs of nervousness or inability to answer questions immediately and succinctly. Broad, vague answers are another warning sign.
  5. Make them nervous: It might sound a bit unkind, but suggesting to a job candidate that you’ll be checking references, including past employers and colleges or universities, might spur a confession by one who has been less than truthful. Those who do not fudge will have no problem with you checking every reference, so try this tactic if you wish to sort out dishonest applicants.

When hiring, you have an obligation to your company, your customers and the rest of your staff to take the time necessary to check out applicants thoroughly. After all, if you hire a liar, trouble could follow.

Schools Fail Students by Failing to Screen Sex Offenders

Friday, December 17th, 2010

background checkFederal investigators reported that individuals with records of sexual misconduct are hired to work in public and private schools as teachers, other staff, volunteers or contractors. The Government Accountability Office explored 15 cases and found disturbing trends. Schools are failing to thoroughly screen sex offenders who then go on to abuse additional students.

Among the findings:

  • A Virginia teacher who recently pleaded guilty to abusing a student also faces charges in three other states and Japan. His long career in education mirrors his long list of sex and pornography charges.
  • In 11 of the cases, offenders who had previously targeted children found new jobs in schools. In six of these instances, more children were abused.
  • A teacher and registered sex offender was hired in Louisiana in 2006 and 2007 without undergoing a background check at all. He is now sought on charges he engaged in sexual conversations with a student. The teacher had previously taught in Texas, but had his license revoked.
  • In Arizona, a teacher who had been convicted of sex abuse on a minor was hired as a teacher without a criminal screening of any kind. He was subsequently convicted again of having sexual contact with a minor.

According to the GAO report, sex offenders are in schools because:

  1. Teachers accused of misconduct are allowed to resign rather than face termination or prosecution. School districts avoid litigation because of the financial impact and time involved. Even harder to believe, these teachers are given positive recommendations or reference letters, and suspected abuse is not always reported to law enforcement.
  2. School officials fail to perform criminal background checks. And when they do, they are not thorough. Some schools checked only their own state’s database, instead of conducting a national criminal records check. This makes it much easier for sex offenders who move across state lines to prey on new victims.
  3. Schools miss the obvious. Even when the Arizona offender answered “yes” on his job application to the question about whether he had ever been convicted of “a dangerous crime against children,” no one followed up on it.

It is almost impossible to believe that school officials are allowing sex offenders into schools. No matter what business you’re in, next time you hire a new employee, ask yourself how well you really know him or her. When you pre-screen employees and conduct thorough background checks, you can weed out the criminals and sex offenders, before they have a chance to cause additional harm.

Interviewing Candidates: It’s More than Just Asking Questions

Thursday, September 9th, 2010, employment screeningWhen that nervous job applicant walks into your office, it’s not enough to just ask questions and take notes. There are so many personality quirks, body language giveaways and clues to a candidate’s skills or lack thereof that you could be missing. Taking stock of a potential employee’s complete package is a better way to evaluate a good fit for your company.

Six Other Things to Look for in Job Candidates

Do they pay attention to the little things? We’ve heard of flawlessly-produced resumes followed by a thank-you email full of errors and misspellings. Or a cover letter addressed to the wrong company. A telephone message returned more than 48 hours later. Even of candidates parking in a handicapped space. Lack of attention to these details is an indicator of things to come.

Are they polite? An HR manager we once knew followed every interview with a quick walk through the company’s offices, asking receptionists and others who had contact with the candidate how they were treated. She often heard that an applicant who was exceedingly polite to her was surly to the staff.

Are they engaged? Showing an interest in the position duties, the company culture, the department, and the person they’ll report to are good signs. An interviewee who has absolutely nothing to say when asked if they have any questions is either unprepared or uninterested.

How are their phone manners? Telephone interviews are more common these days. While not as formal as an in-person interview, serious candidates will take them seriously. That means no taking calls at a party or the mall, no laying in bed for the call, and definitely no munching, crunching, drinking or smoking.

Do they follow instructions? Do you offer interviews to candidates who do not provide a cover letter, even though your advertisement asks for one? Then why are you surprised when they become employees who do not follow instructions properly?

Are they on time? This is a no-brainer. Unless there was an accident or other unavoidable circumstances, there is no excuse for being late to an interview.   Conversely, it’s rude to show up for an interview more than 10 minutes early. Candidates who are too late or too early think their time is more important than yours.

When you pay attention to a job applicant’s complete package, you may find the real truth about whether or not you should hire them. And don’t forget to conduct thorough pre-employment screening for background information you need to make the right hiring decision.

Workplace Violence: 7 Warning Signs

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comPreventing violence against employees is an employer’s responsibility—and not one to be taken lightly. Being aware of the risks and taking steps to make your company a safe workplace are the first steps in a successful violence prevention policy.

Seven Warning Signs Of Potentially Violent Behavior

  1. Threats: either direct or veiled threats of harm
  2. Aggressive or inappropriate actions: Intimidating, belligerent, harassing and bullying behavior
  3. Weapons: Bringing one to the workplace or inappropriate references to or a fascination with weapons
  4. References to workplace violence: agreeing with violence as a solution to a problem, fascination with incidents of workplace violence, or identifying with perpetrators of workplace homicides
  5. Indications of desperation to the point of contemplating suicide: over finances, family problems, or other personal problems
  6. Drug and or alcohol abuse
  7. Extreme changes in behavior

These signs differ from broader examples such as a worker who has experienced the ending of a relationship, or one who has been to counseling. Those are not indicators of workplace violence any more than are broad age-group (men in their 40s) or physical descriptions (wears black clothing).

Rather, the seven behaviors above are not to be ignored—they are clear signs that something is wrong. Identifitying and dealing with an employee who exhibits these behaviors may help prevent workplace violence. Depending on the behavior, the solutions can range from immediate police intervention to disciplinary action or referral to professional help.

Providing employees with a company policy on workplace violence tells them that management takes it seriously and that their reports of threats or unusual behavior will be dealt with. Failing to provide a policy, take reports seriously and deal with threats means employers will fail at preventing violence as well as instilling trust.

Employees must be trained in how to recognize signs of violent behavior and encouraged to report it. Emergency procedures should be practiced so that all staff members know what to do in the event of an incident.

Management can take advantage of training to learn how to take disciplinary actions and diffuse anger, as well as handling crisis situations. Most important, management must ensure that appropriate pre-employment screening is conducted on every employee. Knowing whether the candidate you’re about to bring into the workplace has a history of arrests, criminal activity or violent behavior is the one of the best ways to prevent future workplace violence.

While workplace violence incidents can occur at the hands of people without criminal pasts, thorough employee background screening also includes checking references and talking to previous employers about an employee’s work history, handling of emotional issues, anger management and temperament.

Preventing workplace violence is one of the most important duties of an employer. Educate yourself, your management team and your staff on the seven signs of potentially violent behavior.