Avoid shortcuts in background screening and it will save your company time, money and safeguard reputation
Attributable to Peter Cleverton, General Manager of EMEA at HireRight
In this competitive hiring market, the road to making somebody a job offer can be long. This explains why some hiring managers may be too eager to follow the shortest route: if they’re quick to make an offer and bring the candidate on board, they’re more likely to land their choice of top talent.
Many organisations have tried to take shortcuts around their employment background screening and they often learned the hard way that bringing the wrong person into their business can have serious consequences, including reputational damage, a loss of customer faith, and even falling stock prices in extreme cases.
I’ll take you through some of the common shortcuts to avoid and give you HireRight’s suggestions to include in your background screening programme to make sure you’re heading in the right direction.
Common shortcuts to avoid
The global unemployment rate is at a historic low of around 5.5%, with Dubai recording the world’s lowest rate around 0.5% (this low rate can be attributed to only working-age people with job allowed to stay in UAE). With fewer people being unemployed, many employers are having more difficulty in filling open positions. This can often mean that they are recruiting from a wider pool of candidates, with some applicants requiring more thorough investigation. The result? It’s taking more time to recruit and hire.
Hiring managers, seeing the gaps in their staff, want to onboard new employees as fast as possible. But as they try to complete the process swiftly, there are some areas they may try to shorten or avoid to make the recruitment process concise:
1. Comprehensive CV review
Even with the help of new technologies, with hundreds of CVs to review, recruiters often don’t have the time to do a deep dive. By only skimming over your applicants’ CVs, you run the risk of dismissing the best candidates before you even get to meet them.
2. HR skills gap
Having the right people making your company’s hiring decisions is essential when building your workforce. However, many HR professionals feel they don’t have the skills to hire people effectively. In a survey of over 500 HR professionals conducted by HR.com, only around half view themselves as excellent or good at quality hiring (55 percent).
3. Positive candidate experience
In the rush to get new faces through the door, it can be easy not to put yourself in your candidate’s shoes, and offer a sub-par hiring process. However, many HR professionals rightly fear losing qualified candidates due to an unsatisfactory candidate experience. More than half of job seekers say they continue looking for other positions even after they’ve received an offer and the background check is in process.
The cost of over-accelerating the hiring process
With all of these challenges, it’s no wonder that Human Resources is tempted to speed up the process. But organisations that are reckless put themselves at risk for hiring the wrong employee or losing the quality candidate they want. Many HR professionals acknowledge that they brought on the wrong person because of the pressure to hire someone quickly.
Subsequently, hiring the wrong person can have direct and indirect costs. Directly attributable costs include recruitment advertising fees, training costs, and time spent by HR staff and hiring managers interviewing and onboarding new hires. But the indirect costs are what’s potentially devastating. A bad hire can damage the employer’s brand and alienate customers. Productivity, morale, and business results can drop when the team has to continue to perform despite an open position or a bad fit being placed in that role.
Why you should never bypass education checks
It’s an unfortunate fact that many candidates misrepresent, exaggerate or outright lie about their education on their CVs or application forms. According to HireRight’s 2019 Global Employment Screening Benchmark Report, almost a third of organisations say background checks uncover misrepresentation of educational credentials, and yet only 52 percent of firms say they make an effort to verify education.
The BBC recently uncovered a number of NHS staff purchasing fake qualifications through the company Axact, including a consultant at a London teaching hospital who bought a degree in Internal Medicine, an anaesthetist who bought a degree in Hospital Management, and a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine who bought a Master of Science in Healthcare Technology.
Five tips for your next hire
1. Keep the pipeline full
Fearing a bad hire and the associated costs, some organisations have actually lengthened the hiring process. Candidates may have to jump through more hoops before an offer is extended, including multiple rounds of interviews, testing, and finally a background screening. While all this is happening, you can lose the candidate to another job. The key is to nurture potential candidates before a position opens and keep them warm. Build a relationship, let them know that you value their talent and want to stay in touch. The end result is that when a job does open, you have pre-qualified people waiting in the wings.
2. Don’t forget to screen your executives and board members
Too often background screening for C-suite candidates and the board of directors is inconsistent or nonexistent. It can be a “who you know” environment where much is assumed, which may be leaving businesses exposed to unnecessary risk.
3. Follow consistent legal processes
The key to effective use of background screening is consistency. Develop a standard process that all candidates, at any level or position, must complete. Work with trusted legal advisors to define the screening process, and then hire a background screening provider who is efficient and thorough.
4. Ensure quality and transparency
A good background screening provider will deliver quality results as they are available via a direct integration into your applicant tracking system (ATS), if you have one. It should also offer mobile-friendly tools and simple procedures for candidates to follow and see where they are in the process.
5. Don’t DIY
With the pressure to hire quickly, it’s tempting to skimp on background checks or even conduct them yourself. Without years of experience and highly trained researchers, you can never be sure if you’ve got the right person and that the information is totally accurate.