It goes without saying that any company’s goal when interviewing applicants for a new position is to hire the right employee. Everyone knows that employment searches are stressful for the job hunter, who has to go through filling out application after application, writing cover letter after cover letter, all for positions about which he or she may never hear back for. What many people fail to realize is that employment searches are also extremely stressful for the employers running them. Finding the “right” employee takes a wealth of resources, times, and commitment, from getting the word out about a job posting, to coordinating a uniform interview process that will judge all applicants by the same, unbiased criteria.
This process can sometimes take weeks or even months, so when an employee finally decides to issue an employment offer, they want to make sure they are hiring the right person. Finding the “right person” for a job means more than just hiring someone who can do the job at hand and bring valuable experience to table. On the contrary, the “right employee” needs to be someone that an employer can trust to represent their brand and carry their reputation, and won’t prove to be a liability to the company, its workers, its partners, its investors, or especially, to its customers.
From careless confrontations to violent outbursts, an employee who has an altercation with a customer can cost a company a lot of money and respect, whether due to lost business, or worse, because of legal difficulties. Luckily, a company can protect its customers – and thereby protect itself – by simply hiring an employee who will be respectful, trustworthy, and safe. Here are six steps your company should be taking to find such a customer-friendly worker.
1. Run criminal background checks: An employee with a history of assault, child abuse, or any other form of violent crime is a risk for a company to take on. This statement is especially true in jobs where the employee would be working, in a stressful environment, while serving customers, but also holds true for workplaces where co-worker disagreements or altercations could arise and escalate. The easiest way of spotting an applicant with a history of violence is to run a criminal background check. Look at local county, state, and federal criminal records, and also take a look at child abuse registries just to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.
2. Look at sex offender registries: Physical violence is not the only thing you have to worry about when considering your customers’ safety. An employee with a history of sex-related offenses or documented sexual aggression can present a liability to your company, your employees, and your customers alike. It goes without saying that known sex offenders need to be kept out of scenarios where they would be given close access to children, but in many cases, these criminals also just make customers and co-workers uncomfortable. If a sex offense does come up on a prospective employee’s record, look at the details of the offense and the length of time that has elapsed since it took place, then make the judgment call on whether or not you think hiring that person would represent a risk to anyone else’s safety.
3. Speak to former employers: Criminal records and sex offender registries won’t always necessarily contain every trace of an applicant’s violent or sexually aggressive behavior. Speaking with past employers can help you determine whether or not an applicant has a history of angry interactions with customers, sexually inappropriate behavior toward co-workers, or some mix of both. Since this behavior won’t always necessarily involve law enforcement, an old boss is often the best source for finding out whether an applicant will behave in a safe and respectful fashion at work.
4. Look at driving records: If the position at hand involves the operation of a motor vehicle or a heavy piece of machinery, then it is imperative that you include a driving record check in your pre-employment screening policy. Employers often look at driving records to avoid hiring applicants with DUI offenses, reckless driving charges, or other similar vehicular incidents. Obviously, such driving record red flags aren’t always grounds to disqualify someone from employment, but if the position is with a taxi driving company, a limo service, or a delivery business, such offenses are directly relevant and should be taken into account.
5. Verify licenses and certifications: Many positions in today’s job market require an applicant to acquire a special license or certification from a state or national governing board before they are allowed to work in a specific industry. From medical professionals to chauffer workers in the taxi and limo industries, these licenses can tell you whether or not an applicant is a trained professional or just a pretender. With that in mind, a background check that verifies the validity of such licenses is paramount, not only to ensuring the safety of your customers, but also to ensuring that your business won’t be held liable for irresponsible hiring practices if an accident should occur.
6. Run name history, alias, and Social Security checks: It’s an upsetting fact in the employment sector that not every person is honest. Every once in a while, you will encounter an applicant who is not who they say they are. This applicant may have changed his or her name to avoid troubles with courts and law enforcement agencies, or he or she may be an identity thief trolling for a new victim. In any case, dishonest employees who lie to you about their identity should raise a huge red flag, and are not a liability you should be willing to take on. After all, one of the last things you want to do is to leave sensitive customer information in the hands of a potential identity thief.
Guest Author, Michael Klazema
Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.
Kavaliro Employment Agency has offices in Tampa, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Orlando, Fla. and Washington, D.C. and can make sure you find the right people for this important role. We are ready and waiting to help you anytime and look forward to hearing from you.