Why must employers prioritize employee background checks?

Ensuring employee and company protection before hiring is the duty of the employer. Background checks are not just a means to ensure that you avoid damages to company reputation; it is also a way to determine whether your instincts served you well.

Employee background checks are usually the crucial last step that employers take before the offer letter reaches the other side of the table. Often ignored in the Indian context, pre-employment screenings include a variety of social, financial and personal checks on potential employees that can serve as a binary decision-making tool in the hiring process.

This article aims to understand why background checks are crucial to ensure conscientious hiring by your HRD:

Why is Background check important?

Most employers tend to override pre-screenings, as they say, it as an additional cost with minimal ROI. But, it is important to acknowledge that your employees are the most valuable resources in your firm. Faltering during the hiring process can lead to dire consequences that could have a ripple effect over time, which may or may not go unnoticed. This could eventually lead to poor performance across the board. It is mindful to note that “one rotten apple could spoil the whole basket” – intentionally or unintentionally.

Take a look at what direct functions and benefits background checks offer to employers:

1. Highlights criminal history

Ensuring a safe environment, especially for women in the workplace, is crucial in setting the office ethos for your organisation. Checking for criminal history also acts as a way to ensure that company data remains in safe hands.
Criminal verification is all the more critical when the person you are hiring is the face of interaction with your clients.
Whether it is a barrage of small misdemeanours or something more heinous, having this repository of knowledge before conducting interviews can save your HR Department from making embarrassing and potentially dangerous hiring mistakes.

2. Ensures a drug-free workplace

Workplace productivity is directly correlated to the mental and physical health of the individuals in your organisation. Some applicants may have a history of usage, possession or even distribution. It goes without saying that background checks can easily help you identify the rotten apples. Moreover, it’s the best way to ensure a zero-tolerance policy right from the start.

3. Highlights dishonesty

An open and honest work environment is initiated by the workhorses that run the daily show – not just the front-runners.

The ‘Trends & Insights on Background Screening in India’ study by AuthBridge in 2017 found that 1 in every six candidates was found to lie on their resumes last year. Some areas where discrepancies occurred include previous salaries, addresses and legitimacy of references.

Most importantly, though, background checks with education verification allow you to ensure that your hire is capable of handling his roles and responsibilities efficiently.

4. Gives you the full picture

It’s important to understand that applicants are portraying their smartest most dignified versions on hiring day. A background investigator can help you identify your potential hire’s employment history.

If multiple employers are tending to complain about similar behavioural traits that forced them to let the person go, then it’s best to sidestep the potential employee.

5. Avoids liability

Negligent hiring can lead to severe damages to the company. Hiring some with multiple DUI charges and entrusting them with the responsibility to handle heavy equipment, machinery or delivery, can potentially lead to crises.

6. Improves transparency

Say you come across someone with a black mark on their background check, but you find them to have changed their ways for the better. With the information available to you, you can have an open dialogue with the applicant and ensure that you are making the right decision for yourself, the employee and the organisation.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring employee and company protection before hiring is the duty of the employer. Background checks are not just a means to ensure that you avoid damages to company reputation; it is also a way to determine whether your instincts served you well. Never judge a book by its cover. But it doesn’t harm you to keep the cliff notes handy.

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One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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