Six Reasons Why You Should Run Pre-Employment Screenings


Pre-employment screening has become a standard procedure in the hiring process. A survey by and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners found out that 96% of employers run background checks on their applicants.

Your employees bring your company’s brand with them, and their work ethic speaks of your company’s reputation. If you belong to the 4% who doesn’t perform pre-employment screenings on applicants, perhaps the reasons below will convince you to do so:

1. Due diligence avoids liability.

Based on a friend’s recommendation, you hire a driver for your starting tourist services business without running a pre-employment screening. Days later, you both land at the local police department because of an accident involving the car driven by your employee. The police showed you his past records of driving under influence (DUI). He has a string of police records, and a history of refusing rehabilitation for his alcoholism.

Complacency breeds neglect, neglect breeds failure, failure breeds liability—and liability will cost you your business. By practicing due diligence in background-checking your applicants, you avoid liability.

2. Many applicants lie in their resumes.

According to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, 75% of hiring managers find false information in applicant resumes. Many jobseekers put a white lie or two in their previous work descriptions to make them sound more appealing, and some even go as far as fabricating their academic qualifications and certifications—with supporting documents that turn out to be fraudulently obtained.

So how do you sort out the truth from all the lies? You run a pre-employment screening, and look into the educational background, work experience and character references—and if there is one glaring inconsistency, go to the next applicant.

3. Employee theft is a real issue.

No one wants a theft for an employee, but it is a rampant problem. According to cFirst, 75% of employees steal at least one instance, 55% of these are managers, and 30% of business failures stem from workplace theft. Appalling, isn’t it? Even the Assocation of Certified Fraud Examiners say that businesses lose about 5% of total revenues every year due to employees stealing money and inventory.

Workplace theft also goes beyond cash and equipment as far as intellectual property is concerned, as in the case of employees or managers stealing a colleague’s idea such as manuscripts, drawings, proposals, videos and articles.

Running pre-employment screenings on all applicants filters out those with existing records on theft and fraud. Depending on the extent of the crime, your pre-employment screening provider can acquire records from the police, court and the federal bureau to look into the criminal history of the applicant. Even verification with an applicant’s former employer can reveal plenty of relevant information.

4. Drug use is prevalent.

Drug abuse in the workplace is disastrous—to the employees, business and the country. According to a 2011 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the United States lost around $740 billion due to crimes and diseases related to drug abuse.

Drug users become less productive at work and are a negative influence to their colleagues. They are also prone to involvement in other offenses due to their drug problem, such as workplace theft, violence and bullying.

Whether distribution, possession or actual use of drugs, no employer wants an employee slapped with any of these charges. Apart from pre-employment screening, the hiring process requires a mandatory medical exam that includes drug testing performed by recommended laboratories. In fact, many companies are now doing regular drug testing to maintain a drug-free workplace.

5. Bad hire has its consequences.

Hiring an employee without running a pre-employment check is a bad hiring practice, and it has its consequences. Take for example Zappos, a famous American shoe and clothing retailer: CEO Tony Hsieh once said that bad hires cost his company a whopping $100 million, according to Business Insider.

Mis-hires are actually more disastrous than what you think. An unqualified manager selects a team of his own, spawning bad habits and influencing other employees. When you take out the bad manager from the equation, should you also drag along the employees? Top-level executives and the human resource management should deal with this seriously. You don’t want to be dealing with bad hires, but it’s difficult to reset bad behaviors and make sure they don’t revert to their old ways. Employees may also suffer from a loss of morale.

In the end, the company hires another employee in place of the bad hire, but only after a more careful selection process. Re-recruitment may be beneficial, but definitely not when it’s done due to a mis-hire. Hiring people doesn’t come cheap—the average company in the UK spends around £3000 per hire.

6. Employees should be safe in their workplace.

The ultimate goal of pre-employment screenings is workplace safety—at all times, in all areas, for all the employees. An employee who encounters an injury resulting from a violent colleague, for instance, may hold the company liable. Depending on the country’s laws on workplace safety, additional charges may also be filed.

If you own a business, or belong to the top management of a corporation, you don’t want a sex offender walking freely in the hallway, or a overstaying foreign worker negotiating with clients in your behalf. All employees, from the top level down to the last worker in the hierarchy, should feel safe and protected from internal threats.

The Bottomline

Although pre-employment screening is not required in all countries, there are laws that protect the privacy of applicants. You can certainly run a background check on any of your employees, but there are legal ramifications especially when it is done without consent. In most cases, companies perform the pre-employment screening as a matter of risk management—and when they do, they do it with the applicant’s informed consent.

Most companies may not have the resources to perform pre-employement screenings their own, but there are background check providers who can do all the work. A basic pre-employment screening may cost more or less $200, but the final rate depends on the country or state, the extent of the check and the number of applicants to be screened.

What is a few hundred or even a thousand dollars for pre-employment screening, when you can prevent disasters worth millions of dollars due to a rogue employee or two? What is the time and effort spent in checking every employee’s background, when your mind is at peace knowing you’ve chosen the right people to run your company? Pre-employment screening protects your business’ best interests and makes sure your goals are met without compromising employee satisfaction.