Background Checks are Critical, and Should be Handled by Experts

A new article in Finance & Commerce underscores what a lot of successful business owners already know: Conducting pre-employment background screening is a critical fraud prevention measure, and it is best left in the hands of professionals who can provide thorough, expert service.

The title of the article, in fact, is “How To: Background checks may be best left to the pros,” and the author raises a critical point that is often overlooked. The writer notes that having a third-party conduct background checks can actually help protect the hiring company from discrimination liability, not to mention the obvious benefit of helping to screen out undesirable candidates.

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Any owner or hiring manager who has been in business for just a few years knows risks that come with hiring new employees. A single bad actor in your organization could cost thousands of dollars in losses or more, whether through incompetence or outright fraud. Worse, their actions could cause damage to a company's reputation, affecting how both the public, as well as other employees, view the organization and its management. Once trust is shattered, it often takes years to rebuild. 

As the Finance & Commerce article states:

Fifty-three percent of resume and job applications contain falsifications, according to 2012 research by Accu-Screen Inc., ADP and the Society for Human Resource Management. ADP reported that 46 percent of employment, education and/or credential reference checks revealed discrepancies between what the applicant provided and what the background check reported.

The realities of a difficult job market can cause a normally honest person to fudge certain things about their background to try to gain an edge. For a company, that can mean hiring someone who isn't qualified for their job, thus putting your organization in peril.

Worse, there are other candidates who may be blatantly dishonest, even with criminal backgrounds that they have managed to cover up. These people pose significant threats to your business, as most frauds can last up to 18 months on average before being detected. They also cost thousands of dollars or more in losses that cannot be recovered.

Leave it to the professionals to do expert background checks, and make sure they cover all of the following in a thorough manner:

• Employment verification

• Education verification

• Criminal history

• Risk management assessment

• Identity and address verification

• Character references

• Credit history (in accordance with applicable laws)

At CRI Group, we've worked with many clients to provide background checks and keep them protected, and we know the importance of doing this proactive measure of due diligence. We've also worked with clients who did not perform background checks, and subsequently have needed help unraveling a fraud or other criminal action that has occurred at their expense. It isn't pretty, and in each of those cases, the business owner regretted not doing professional background checks in the first place.

It's a painful and expensive lesson to learn. Better to be proactive, and take the safer road.