Investigative work Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2008

There is no such thing as the perfect employee. But there are ways to find out, through pre-employment screening, if a candidate will be right for your company or if that person could potentially cause problems once hired.

“Statistically, companies end up with fewer turnovers when they screen employees because they hire the right candidate to begin with,” says Ted L. Moss, founder, president and CEO of Crimcheck.com, a Berea-based background check company.

Moss, a certified protection professional, says the two main types of screening are instant checks that check criminal history and comprehensive checks, which cover a criminal record check and verification of employment, education, credit and driving history.

“We know it’s important to make sure we’re not hiring a criminal, but why?” Moss says. “It’s to protect customers, provide a safe work environment and ensure that the company runs smoothly and is profitable.”

Moss says that first you should decide which type of check is most appropriate for your organization, and then find a company that suits your needs.

“It isn’t just looking on the Internet but finding organizations that have outlined what the best practices are,” he says. “Also, ask people you know from business and find out what they’re doing and who they’re using.”

You also need to determine the scope of the check, how far into the person’s background you want to go, how much information you want and how you are going to apply it to the hiring process.

You can either do pre-employment screenings on your own, or you can use an established company, which can educate you about the different types of screenings and how you can use the information obtained.

“It’s like, you can hire a plumber to fix your pipes, or you can get a book and figure out how to do it yourself,” Moss says. “You can do these things yourself, but it takes some expertise to make sure you’re doing it correctly.”

When using pre-employment screening, many employers want the information immediately, and while instant checks are possible, they might not be the best choice for your company.

“Think about it — instant check or hire this company that says, ‘It’s going to take 24 to 48 hours to get this check,’” Moss says. “It indicates that someone’s doing a little more work.”

But even with the extra time, something in the candidate’s background may get overlooked because a pre-employment screening isn’t as in-depth as a full-blown background check.

And remember, no one is perfect. Even if your candidate doesn’t have a spotless record, there may be some things you are willing to overlook.

Moss says pre-employment screenings are worth the cost of between $75 and $100 because the alternative is much more expensive.

“Considering it can cost between $7,000 and $15,000 to hire and train a new employee, the investment of $75 to $100 up-front is probably smart money,” Moss says.

Moss says the benefits of pre-employment screenings are immense.

“The Society of Human Resource Management says that 45 percent of all resumes contain at least one major fabrication, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that 33 percent of U.S. business bankruptcies are due to employee theft and embezzlement,” he says. “It’s risk mitigation. It’s a necessity; it’s like buying insurance. Providing a safe work environment for your employees and customers is the goal. You increase productivity and profits and reduce turnover.”

“It’s just a smart business decision. Having the information up-front allows you to make a better hiring decision and run your company more efficiently.”

Successful pre-employment screenings

Ted L. Moss, founder, president and CEO of Crimcheck.com, offers these tips for successfully using pre-employment screenings.

  • Evaluate.Ask yourself why you’re doing it, what your risks are, how it would benefit your company, what your budget is and what return you expect on investment.

  • Determine the scope and define the categories and types of jobs you have in your business. If you have a lot of sales-people, you’re going to want to run the driving records of potential candidates. If you have people dealing with money or confidential information, you might want to run a credit report.

  • Decide if you want to do it yourself or outsource it.

  • Do your research. Find screening partners who are truly concerned about your needs. Do they take the time to understand your business? Do they offer education and training? Will they come on-site and train your employees? Can they offer technology to suit your needs? Are they flexible? Are they recognized in the industry? Lastly, check their references and the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are a viable candidate.

  • Centralize your screening process. It’s much easier if you pick one person to be the main point of contact and filter information through that person because he or she can be your in-house expert and work with your provider. The provider is then constantly educating that person and updating him or her about any industry changes or new legislation.

HOW TO REACH: Crimcheck.com, (440) 816-9920 or www.crimcheck.com