When hiring, properly screening new applicants is the first and best opportunity to protect your organization. Compare the following tips against your current hiring procedures to ensure you are taking the appropriate steps when hiring:
- Conducting comprehensive reference checks is a must. Both past employer and personal references will often produce additional information that will help you understand what kind of person the candidate is.
- If the candidate cannot provide recent references, or if their reference refuses to cooperate, then give preference to those whose references check out positive.
- It is important to find past employers that can state the applicant is safe and an asset. Don’t forget to ask whether or not the applicant is eligible for rehire.
- Verify that professional references worked with the applicant in the manner that was described to you.
- Personal references may also be a good source of information and be able to direct you to additional references.
- If a financial background check is required, obtain the candidate’s consent before proceeding by providing an authorization and release form in the written application.
- Perform a criminal history check after a conditional offer of employment has been made and prior to the hire date. If an applicant has previously lived in another state, you should conduct a National Criminal History check rather than a Washington State check in order to obtain a complete picture of their criminal history. Be sure to follow the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidelines on Arrest and Conviction information as well.
- Verify their educational background. If an applicant claims to have a license or other certification, call the issuing organization to verify it. Most organizations will tell you if any disciplinary action has been taken against a particular member also.
- Complete a Google search of the candidate. There may be blogs or other writings by or about the candidate that will shed more light on their personality. Also check social media websites such as Facebook. How a candidate describes themselves outside of the hiring process can be very helpful.
- Identify high-risk positions, in advance of hiring, such as those that require interaction with vulnerable populations or finances. Extra pre-employment checks may be required for such positions.
- Move on to the next candidate if you find that an applicant has been untruthful in their written application.
A bad hire always costs an organization in the long-run, which is why it is ill-advised to expedite the hiring process by skipping over these valuable screening steps. Requiring the right pre-hiring measures helps ensure the selection of quality, trustworthy applicants. Numerous articles and other HR resources on this topic are also available on Zywave. Please contact your broker or the Pre-Litigation Program to ask questions about proper hiring guidelines and background checks.