Employment Background Check Strategies

Employers must have Employment Background Check Strategies for  ‘before AND after’ hiring an employee or vendor.  While this requires spending money and the cost of employment, background checks can be seen as a drag on the bottom line. To paraphrase a well-known 1970s marketing slogan: 


“You can pay (a little) now or pay (a lot) later.”


Employers are increasingly concerned about the risks associated with employees, temporary workers, independent contractors, and others who can wreak havoc on an organization from the inside. This is often referred to as an “insider threat.”


The good news is that employers can take steps to minimize surprises with a well-thought-out pre-employment screening program.


The first step is to have in place policies, practices, and procedures to carefully select your employees in the first place through a well-thought-out pre-employment screening program that is commensurate with the risk involved.


Numerous types of insider and post-hire threats range from fraud, embezzlement, theft of trade secrets, workplace violence or active shooters, and everything else in between. Potential insider threats include employees and anyone with access to a business office, including contractors, vendors, and temporary workers. 


The potential for insider threats always exists; every new hire is full of risk.


After getting applicants in the front door, a business must be concerned about employees with substantial authority (C-level and above), access to Information Technology (IT) or company proprietary information, cash, and accounting, or sensitive information such as customer lists and operations information.


Employee screening after hiring


Employers should also ensure their application forms clarify that any material falsehood or omission can result in termination ‘NO MATTER WHEN DISCOVERED’ and have language in employee manuals dealing with discovered errors or omissions post-hire.


Background check releases can have an “Evergreen” clause to allow future screening if needed. Employers must remember that any screening program for new or existing employees should pay careful attention to the requirements of the local laws! 


Employers need to be mindful of their obligations under Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws and other laws, such as Ban the Box rules that prohibit asking about a criminal record on an application form, to ensure that the use of criminal records is both relevant and fair and complies with an employer’s legal obligations.


Some experts recommend employers consider “continuous” evaluation that occurs periodically after hiring. The argument for such screening is that employees may commit a crime after being hired, which can also be a deterrence. Employers may also need to screen newly acquired employees if a merger or acquisition occurs. Besides, specific contracts may also require only screened employees.


Employment Background Check Strategy is a critical part of the corporate risk-management system.


Generally speaking, people with a history of honesty will likely be honest in the future. Conversely, there is evidence to suggest that if applicants are dishonest in how they obtained a job, they may be dishonest once they have the job. But it is difficult to identify potential “bad hires” just by interviews with some applicants who lie so often they come across naturally as if they believe their own story.


Employers utilize background checks to minimize the risks associated with workplace violence, lost customers, negligent hiring lawsuits, identity theft and fraud, embezzlement, data breaches, and high turnover.


Background screening – Types of inquiry


Background checks broadly cover two types of inquiry:


Firstly, a background check may verify an applicant’s information about their credentials, such as past employment and education.


Secondly, a check may involve searching relevant public or private records, such as driving records, criminal matters, exclusion or sanction databases, or credit reports. A competent screening firm will have several tools that can help an employer depending on the nature and risk of the hire and the industry involved.


The walkaway point is that pre-employment screening is critical to detecting and deterring internal corporate fraud and insider threats and should be supported by other corporate fraud controls & investigation programs. 


You can visit our Employment Background Check page to learn about our capabilities.


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