Trust, but Verify
Employers receive plenty of resumes throughout the year and many seem too good to be true. Whether the candidate's past employment, education, or references seem out of line, the worst an employer can do is neglect to follow-up and verify the accuracy. Other serious job screening oversights are not performing drug tests on applicants and relying on social media as a form of a background check. According to an article on Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) titled, Screening Lapses By Small Businesses Invite Large Risk, all of these errors can have disastrous consequences for any employer, but small employers, often not having adequate resources to perform these screenings, are especially at risk.
Background check provider HireRight noted that a mistake in hiring has a larger proportional cost for small organizations because almost every employee has an impact on the business and its customers. With a focus on nearly 600 respondents with workforces of fewer than 100 employees, the 2014 HireRight Small Business Spotlight indicated that of these respondents, 64% said employment screening has exposed a person who lied on a resume or application. In addition, 53% said that screening improved the quality of hires, 49% noticed a safer workplace, 36% noted better regulatory compliance, and 54% reported that screenings exposed issues that would not otherwise have been found.
Besides screening for resume and applications issues, an employer should consider screening for drugs and alcohol. There are many federal and state laws regarding the proper procedures for this, so if an employer decides to perform this type of screen, they should consult with appropriate counsel.
One way an employer shouldn't screen job applicants is through social media. While social media can often be effective in recruiting candidates, it is unreliable in terms of validating information. This is because what's posted on social media websites can be biased and inaccurate. This has the potential to cloud the judgment of the person in charge of hiring.
When all these factors are taken into consideration, it's in the best interest of small organizations to use the same hiring practices used by midsize and large companies. Not only does this ensure consistent quality, but it could decrease the risk of discrimination in the hiring process since all job applicants would be subject to the same or similar screenings. For small business owners who say they don't have the funds to conduct these deep screenings, it should be noted that mitigating the risk to their business and long-term cost effectiveness of the hiring decision far outweigh any short-term cost savings.