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Why Pre-Employment Screening is So Critical

It is the ultimate nightmare for every human resources, security, or risk-management professional: Your phone rings late Friday afternoon as you wind up loose ends from yet another challenging week and are looking forward to a quiet weekend. A panic-stricken voice informs you that Pat in accounting has assaulted another co-worker and threatened to harm a supervisor. It turns out Pat was not only stealing money, but did not really have the experience claimed.

As the mess is being sorted out, everyone will be asking you the same question over and over. From the company CEO, CFO, and corporate attorney to managers, supervisors, and co-workers, there is one thing everyone wants to know: How did that person get hired in the first place?

If the matter turns into litigation, the legal fees for just one incident of workplace misconduct can easily soar into the six figures, and jury awards can be astounding. Your firm can be sued by injured co-workers, members of the public who were damaged, or even the bad employee who may claim wrongful termination. Once litigation starts, you will also find that in addition to your normal duties you now have a second and nearly full-time job–dealing with the discovery process in litigation and the organizational fallout. Human Resources

The statistics on the consequences of even one bad hire are chilling. The financial cost to businesses from theft, violence, and false credentials can be enormous. There are other costs that are hard to measure, such as the harm to employee morale or the firm’s reputation. Industry statistics suggest the cost of even one bad hiring decision can exceed $100,000, taking into account the time spent recruiting, hiring, and training and the amount of time the job is left undone or done badly by an unqualified applicant.

Given the enormous price tag of a bad hiring decision, it is no surprise that employers of all sizes are turning to various tools to boost the effectiveness of their hiring process. The tools run from honesty and skills testing to behavior-based and group interview techniques.

Ultimately, none of these tools has proved effective in weeding out bad candidates, unless used in conjunction with a program of pre-employment background screening to obtain hard facts about a candidate.

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