A bad hire is a liability. It is a waste of resources and a threat to the organization. According to the US Department of Labor in 2003, a bad hire costs the company about 30% of the employee’s salary in the first year. Losing thousands of dollars because of a single employee is no laughing matter. The figures are overwhelming, and no business wants to suffer because of a bad hire.
Although bad hires are not 100% preventable, you can significantly lower the risk of hiring the wrong candidate through criminal record checks. By conducting this check as part of your recruitment process, you can identify the applicants with a criminal history, and move on to interview those who passed the check.
A criminal record check is the process of obtaining information on a person’s criminal history which includes warrants, convictions, and arrests. This is most commonly used by human resource managers for recruitment.
HireRight estimates that in 2017, 85% of hiring managers spot false declarations on applicant resumes. What are the odds that one applicant or two has a criminal record? Criminals are now so elusive, and those with a past troubled record can be very evasive even when they have been off the hook.
You need to know why a criminal record check is so important today, and why you should do it as part of a comprehensive selection process. Here are frequently asked questions about criminal record checks:
“Are criminal record checks and person background checks the same?”
Both checks contain information on an individual’s criminal history or absence thereof.
However, criminal record checks are more comprehensive because they focus exclusively on criminal history. If you need an overview of an applicant’s overall background such as educational qualifications, past employment, credit history, and criminal records—a regular background check will do. If your concern is on the criminal history alone, a criminal record check will provide you with the information you need to look into the individual’s previous or current offenses.
“What is the significance of criminal record checks?”
Complacency is the silent killer of business.
You may think that no person with a criminal record will ever have the guts to apply for a job, but don’t be surprised if a criminal record check on one of your applicants generates a hit for workplace theft.
Through criminal record checks, you avoid employees with convictions like violence, theft, fraud, embezzlement and substance abuse. The goal is to determine any past or present criminal record that threatens your organization and employees. You need to prevent potential losses due to worker theft, and avoid lawsuits for negligent hiring and workplace violence. A safe workplace is the best workplace.
Conducting criminal record checks also speaks a lot about your company as far as recruitment is concerned. Do you do a routine check during the selection process? Do you repeat the check when offering a promotion to a current employee? Do you conduct a check every few years or so? Hiring and maintaining employees with zero criminal history mirrors the quality of employees, increases your company’s success, promotes your brand and magnifies your revenues.
“What are the limitations of criminal record checks?”
One disadvantage of criminal record checks is that some states do not disclose all information pertaining to criminal records. California, for example, only displays the convictions and not the arrests of the individual concerned. The extent of information disclosure depends on the policies of a certain country or state.
This is why it’s recommended to employ third-party experts in criminal record checks. If your company’s legal department is unable to obtain criminal record checks, trained investigators can do so on your behalf. Not only are they knowledgeable about where to get information, but they are trained to obtain records legally. They also have access to other resources that are otherwise not available to the public.
“What can you expect from criminal record checks?”
A criminal record check is an effective tool used by investigators and security experts to make sure that you practice reasonable care and due diligence in your selection process. Criminal record checks are so thorough, that you are able to get hold of information that a regular background check may not reveal.
A typical criminal background check starts with the person’s personal details, such as the complete name, aliases, physical description (height, weight, skin color, eye color) and distinct characteristics (moles, tattoos, scars). Results reveal all these details including outstanding warrants, convictions, arrests, and prison terms.
Investigators obtain records from courts, police and law enforcement agencies. They can also get information from international agencies such as that from INTERPOL to verify international warrants.
Once you have the information at hand, then you have the confidence to make an informed decision about the applicant’s chances of getting hired.
“Do I need to conduct criminal record checks?”
Small and medium enterprises need to protect their businesses as they can be an easy target for criminals to apply, believing that criminal record checks are too costly for small business owners. Although many countries allow their own people to conduct criminal record checks on themselves, these records do not often display the details of the offense committed, if any.
For large corporations, criminal record checks should not be neglected. A bigger company entails a bigger brand to protect, and an even bigger name to carry. It only takes one bad hire to tarnish the organization’s reputation and risk the safety of all employees.
If you run a business dealing with children or seniors, or operate a trade in health care, pharmaceuticals and financing, a criminal record check is an absolute necessity.
A simple criminal or police clearance from your local government is not enough. Rather, a comprehensive investigation by a trained security provider is essential. A thorough check will provide you with information not found in state databases, such as that from academic institutions, previous employers, professional and civic organizations, and other establishments for any record of misdemeanors.
Results of criminal record checks can be analyzed with findings of pre-employment screenings, person background checks, online dating background checks, and nanny background checks to gain a deeper insight on potential employees and their relationships with other people.
The cost of criminal record checks vary, starting from roughly $100 and may increase depending on factors such as the location where records are obtained, cost of records, the extent of the check, and difficulty of the investigation.
By now, you may be contemplating how much it will cost you to perform routine criminal record checks. The cost is quite steep, especially if you are still starting—but it’s a small price to pay. What do you get in exchange for the accuracy and reliability of criminal record checks? You get the best hires for your organization.