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August 20 2018

Why employee screening isn't an HR function

In many organisations, the recruitment function is often left up to the human resources department. While there is certainly merit in partnering with HR throughout the talent acquisition process, seeking the advice and guidance of professional employee screening services is essential.

In an over-regulated labour law environment, employers often find themselves in hot water when they realise too late that they’ve hired an incompetent person to fulfil a critical position. According to Kyle Condon, MD of D&K Management Consultants, effective Pre-employment screening is crucial and could save the company time, money and aggravation by ensuring the right person is hired the first time around.

“Creating a partnership with industry experts allows the business to hire employees, knowing full well that the candidate is, in fact, the correct investment,” adds Condon. To be effective, the pre-screening process must be conducted by professional investigation and risk management specialists. These skillsets are not ordinarily built into an HR function.

A full background check includes many elements that are far beyond the HR practitioners scope of work. “It should go further than checking educational qualifications and calling references,” advises Condon.

“The investigator should delve into the candidate’s past employment, their market reputation, their true level of experience and their lifestyle. Do they have a criminal record? Do they have a bad credit rating? Are they really qualified for the job at hand (work permits, driver’s license, truck license, forklift license, for example)? Are they who they say they are – can their identity be verified? Does their address exist, are their bank account details correct, and do they operate with integrity?

“All of these questions are pertinent in determining whether an employee will become an asset or a liability, if hired.”

Recruitment can be an arduous process – and so it should be. It is worth taking the time to screen candidates properly, because there’s nothing quite as debilitating as realising the business has hired the wrong person but has no grounds on which to let them go. With a thorough vetting, a hiring decision can be made knowing that a mindset of questioning, analytical thinking and critical exploration has been applied throughout the recruitment process.

“The fact is that the most important asset in a business (its employees) is also its single biggest threat,” concludes Condon. “Companies must make use of professional employee background screening services when recruiting; those which have access to reliable data and global sources. In doing so, they are effectively taking the risk out of hiring.”