An Employer can Trust, but Must also Verify | DCR Workforce Blog

An Employer can Trust, but Must also Verify

Trust needs to be earned, but can come only after the passage of time.

How much time does a recruiter really have to trust the appearances and affirmations during an interview? After all, the world is full of great advice on how to create a great first impression, especially during an interview. Ask Google!

What happens when a recruiter asks an applicant to talk about her own strengths and weaknesses? She probably smiles self-deprecatingly and goes on and on about how she occasionally misses deadlines because she is a perfectionist who cannot bear to turn in low quality work. Of course, she will also tell you that she is fully aware of this and is working hard to change herself.  Wow. Here is someone who knows what high quality work looks and feels like! How can you reject her?

In the end, an interview is all about image building and perception management – and implementing all the combined knowledge parked on the Net on how to dress, talk and behave in order to ace it. So, how does the recruiter separate fact from fiction? How can an interviewer even know that the person who walked in gave their real name; be it James Bond or Jane Doe!

With temporary workers, what do the recruiters and supervising managers do? Can they assume that the fixed or short nature of a temporary worker’s tenure nullifies any possible threat? The urgency with which a temporary worker is brought on-board as a just-in-time resource does not justify a negligent approach to the issue of conducting background checks for temporary workers. Can a client leave the entire responsibility for verification to the staffing agency which supplies them? Can the client be sure that the agency has verified and confirmed all the information furnished by the candidate for accuracy and veracity?

A client’s responsibility does not end with asking the staffing agency to conduct background and reference checks on each and every candidate placed with them. The client needs to be attentive to:

  • Setting the procedures for the staffing agency to follow which are as rigorous as for their full-time, internal resources,
  • Ensuring that background checks are conducted with the consent of the applicant and documented at every stage to meet the demands of the most stringent of audits,
  • Recognize that intensity of screening may differ for different types of positions.  Be clear on vetting activities that must be conducted for all workers, and additional actions that must be taken for selective positions.  Be equally clear about the documentation or other evidence that must be presented to demonstrate that the checks have been performed.  Specify whether failure to complete background checks and/or drug tests will prevent a worker from starting.
  • Instructing the staffing agency as to the level of detail to be provided when background checks and drug tests are performed.  In most cases, clients simply want a pass or fail.  In cases where a candidate fails a background check, there should be a process for determining whether the issue is relevant to the work responsibility.  Setting the policies for the ways to share and use the information turned up and the approvals required to do so.

The client needs to be vigilant in choosing the right staffing agency to provide the required services. This is important because the staffing agency holds the key to the client’s ability to engage honest, responsible workers who are fit for the assignment.. The staffing company must also protect the client from any adverse repercussions in the use of the results of such background checks. Contractual agreements between the client and suppliers should specify indemnification against the staffing agency’s acts of omission or commission, which could result in harming the client’s interests.  Of course, hiring mistakes will occasionally be made.  The staffing agency should have a contingency plan that enables these mistakes to be quickly rectified so that the client’s business interests don’t suffer.

The possibility of hiring a person with false credentials may pall in comparison to the possibility of hiring someone with a criminal nature and record. It is not humanly possible to verify everything about an applicant’s educational qualifications and work experience and other credentials without running a reference and background check, fully supported by reference checks and rigorous interviews.  To protect against the risk of a bad hire, many companies have added scans of the popular social networking sites in order to gain greater insight into the candidate’s personality and lifestyle.  As we all know, this practice is considered controversial, causing us to rethink the boundaries between “public” and “personal” information.

One final note:  use the information gathered on supplier performance (time to fill, percentage of fills, attrition rate) not just to evaluate the supplier.  Dig a bit deeper, contrasting the screening techniques of your best suppliers with those of lower performers.  Extract best practices, and then ask all suppliers to incorporate those techniques into their practices.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.