Considering the mind-numbing volume of news stories about horrific crimes going on across the country, employers must constantly be on the look out for workers with questionable pasts. The child sex abuse scandals involving high-ranking employees in the Penn State University and Syracuse University basketball programs underscores the importance of getting to know your staff. I recently read a story about a sex offender who had been flying under the radar at a Pittsburgh-area daycare center. He had been working there for three years before being arrested on an unrelated charge and violating his probation. Surely the daycare center lost a lot of business and maybe even had to close its doors, and it was for one reason: a failure to conduct a thorough background check. The relatively nominal cost to perform a sweep of public records that lend insight into a prospective employee’s past is well worth it. Corporations fall victim to theft, embezzlement and even public humiliation if someone on the payroll commits a crime that generates headlines.
Countless websites direct convicted felons toward ways to land jobs in all industries, and while most of the sites encourage those with criminals histories to be up front with their new bosses, others undoubtedly try to skirt the screening systems that prevent undesirable workers from joining the ranks. An estimated 37 percent of job seekers falsify their applications and 16 percent of applicants have a criminal record. Nothing is guaranteed if a hiring manager uses only h/her instinct to sniff out the bad apples.
Relying on an overburdened HR manager to screen every applicant can be risky, so many growing businesses use outside firms with an upstanding reputation for knowing the ins and outs of the system. Streamlining the hiring and selection process has never been easier and the Internet is providing the tools to get things done more efficiently and for a lower cost.