Posts Tagged ‘prescreening applicants’

Employers’ Most Common Interview Pet Peeves

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

employee screening, employee background checkBased on their behavior, you sometimes have to wonder if interviewees even want a job. After listening to ill-prepared answers and observing odd behavior, you might want to ask just one question, “Why are you here, wasting my time?”

You’re not alone if you can’t stand to interview applicants who don’t dress appropriately or chew gum. We’ve found some additional pet peeves reported by human resource professionals and employers of all kinds.

Interviewers don’t enjoy candidates who:

  • Are late.
  • Interrupt when you’re talking.
  • Answer a simple question with a 10-minute answer.
  • Have never made a mistake in their lives. (It’s always someone else’s fault.)
  • Talk badly about their previous employer.
  • Don’t bother or can’t seem to follow instructions, like where to park.
  • Are rude to receptionists.
  • Use the wrong company name on the cover letter.
  • Are egotistical, not authentic.
  • Ask about salary before they’re offered the position.
  • Act like they don’t care whether or not they get the job.
  • Don’t follow up with a “thank you.”

How often do you experience these annoyances? How do you deal with them?

When you’re recruiting the perfect team, don’t neglect employee 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 Criminal Background Questions on Employment Applications Going Away?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

pre employment screening, employee background checkCivil rights organizations, politicians and others are calling for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to prohibit employers from asking job seekers if they have a criminal record on employment applications.

Last summer, the EEOC held a hearing regarding a possible ban on criminal background checks for screening employees, but has not yet released its opinion. Some states are already eliminating the criminal record question for state job applicants.

Why are supporters calling for the “box ban?” Some say that it prevents applicants from getting a fair chance at a job, because they don’t have an opportunity to explain the circumstances if they don’t ever get an interview. They say that too often, employers automatically eliminate anyone with a criminal history during the application process.

Others say that in most cases, the conviction is not related or relevant to the position being filled. Still others say that the disproportionate number of people of color with criminal records means this is essentially a civil rights issue. Advocates say they are behind the ban in an effort to reduce discrimination and unfair barriers against people with felony and misdemeanor convictions—particularly those that occurred years or decades ago.

Some cities have enacted ordinances prohibiting employers from asking anything about criminal backgrounds until after an applicant’s first interview. In Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston, criminal background checks are permitted after an interview, but requiring an applicant to reveal his or her criminal record on a job application is not.

Advocates say that employment is the way to a better life for individuals with criminal records, and that it levels the playing field by allowing everyone to be judged on qualifications and merit. But many employers are understandably hesitant to take that chance.

We’ll keep you posted on these possible changes, so you can make the best hiring decisions for your business.

Have you hired an employee with a criminal conviction? How did it work out?

5 Signs That You’re Wasting Your Time on a Job Candidate

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

employee screening, employee background checkHiring a new employee? Whether you’ve been through the process many times—or never before, you might be surprised at “what’s out there.” A more-casual approach to life might spill over to the job interview process for many of your candidates. Some might attribute the following behaviors to nerves, youth or any number of excuses; savvy hiring managers know that these actions can be excellent predictors of future behavior.

Five Signs You’re Wasting Your Time on a Potential Employee

She Arrives to the Interview Late: Traffic, wardrobe malfunctions, child issues, whatever! A conscientious candidate has already driven the route to your office, knows how long it will take and knows where he or she is going to park. They chose their interview outfit days ahead of time and absolutely have child care for such an important meeting. Being late indicates that your time is not as valuable as theirs—and never will be.

He Parks Rudely: Grabbing a spot before another person can get it, or parking where the “employee of the month” is supposed to be, shows either complete ignorance or basic rudeness. A conscientious candidate parks as far away from the building as is feasible, leaving the closer spots for you and your employees.

He Disregards Your Employees: Talking down to the receptionist, not holding the door for those behind him, and exhibits of bad manners could mean that the candidate is not someone you’d want to work beside every day.

She Hasn’t Turned Off Her Phone: There are few excuses for being so unorganized that you forget to turn off your phone before a job interview. But even worse is the candidate who answers it when it rings.

He Uses Foul Language: Letting an “F-bomb” slip indicates the speaker either has no filters, considers you a friend, or uses an offensive term so often that he cannot stop himself. In any case, unless yours is a business that encourages such language, it should be the kiss of death for the candidate.

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.

Small Companies Cannot Afford Bad Hires

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Bad Hires can Break up Great Teams

Bad Hires can Break up Great Teams

Even one bad hire can have a huge impact.  A friend recently shared the story of a “nightmare” she once worked with at a small Midwest company. At the time, small teams interviewed each potential hire, and the boss made the final decision based on the group’s evaluation. In the case of the “nightmare,” everyone liked and recommended her. Except my friend.

Turned out she was right. The candidate looked perfect on paper and interviewed extremely well, but proved to be a dividing force with a biting personality. No one could work with her and the boss stood by his decision for far too long. She wasn’t dealt with until several long-term employees had already resigned—but by then she had nearly destroyed the entire company.

It’s very easy to be deluded by a perfect-sounding resume and a charismatic interviewee.  The trouble starts when those factors alone make up the hiring decision. In my friend’s case, the employment offer was made before proper reference checks were performed. Oops!  Finally, my friend did some sleuthing into the “nightmare’s” background, and found she overstated her education and understated her experience.  Phone calls were made to former employers, who said they wouldn’t recommend or rehire her.  But by then, it was too late—the good people had already left.

The story sounded unbelievable, but was 100% true—and it happens every day. It proves how overlooked policies—in this case, checking all references—can lead to real disaster. 

An easy way to avoid bad hires is to require background checks on all applicants. You can verify education, previous employment, military service, even credit—in one easy step.  And in my friend’s case, the “nightmare” with the false credentials probably wouldn’t have agreed to the pre employment screening—a big red flag in itself!

Don’t risk your company’s security to a single bad hire. Make pre employment background checks a standard policy for every single hiring decision!

Running Background Checks on Employees

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Employee Screening

When almost half of all resumes contain false information, it is clear that you cannot depend on a job applicant’s honesty to help you make a hiring decision. Today, thousands of industries, such as government, financial, and child care, routinely verify potential employees’ backgrounds.

What does a typical screening cover?

  • Employment History
  • Education History
  • References
  • Earned Credentials/Licenses
  • Military Service

But any employer should consider employee screening to mitigate risk and ensure the safety of your entire staff. Your company’s reputation and finances are too valuable to put at risk with a bad hire.

Before you initiate a screening policy, be sure to do your homework to avoid breaking the law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) covers employee screening, and you’ll need to follow its guidelines. See the Federal Trade Commission’s website for more information on the FCRA. Your state may also have its own consumer protection laws.

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners offers a downloadable guide to best practices in verification screening. This handy guide includes a glossary of terms, general guidelines and lots of helpful hints. And best of all, you can download a copy to your computer (or print out a hard copy) for free!

All employers can benefit from background verification. Don’t forget to check out our Pre-Employment Screening services to ensure that the candidate you choose isn’t hiding an inappropriate background.

8 Interview Mistakes Employers Make

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Not all companies have hiring freezes and layoffs. The current economy presents opportunities as well as challenges: new businesses start up leaner and meaner during recessions, and companies that survive them come through stronger. Plus, there are plenty of highly qualified candidates looking for work right now. 


If you’re ready to hire and starting the interview process, steer clear of these common employer errors:


  1. Letting the interview get personal:  It’s nice to establish a connection with an applicant. But don’t let it become a personal conversation.  Keep on topic, stick to your questions and ensure your agenda—not the candidate’s—leads the conversation.

  2. Going in without a plan: If more than one interviewer is involved, decide who is covering which questions. You should look organized and professional, not haphazard and unprepared.

  3. Assessing the job applicant’s personality instead of their skills:  Related to number 1. It is possible to stay on topic and ask the right interview questions, yet still come away without knowing if the candidate is qualified. 

  4. Neglecting to perform pre employment screening: This includes background checks. Way too many applicants falsify their resumes, so be thorough in checking references and include a background check to protect yourself, your company, and your existing staff from potential harm.
  5. Failure to objectively evaluate interviewees: After the warm and fuzzy feelings of a positive interview have faded, perform a critical evaluation of each candidate. Assess proven skills, ability to fit in with your company’s culture, and previous successes. Each position in your company should have its own evaluation form.

  6. Skipping the pre interview: A simple ten-minute telephone interview will eliminate unqualified candidates and save everyone’s valuable time. Ask broad questions about experience and background, and ask about salary requirements. Most important, ask if they are willing to undergo a background check.
  7. Straying from established questions: Your company developed interview questions for a purpose. Use them, as written, to get the best results, save time and prevent potential legal issues.
  8. Asking illegal questions: Educate yourself! You are not allowed to ask about hobbies, family (how old are your children?), gender-related work issues (would you have a problem working for a woman?), or even where a candidate grew up. Any of these could show an illegal bias toward a candidate.


Proper planning, plus following procedures, are the keys to avoiding common interview errors. Don’t forget to check out our Pre Employment Screening services to ensure that the candidate you choose isn’t hiding an inappropriate background.