Hiring in the Era of the “Great Resignation” – Don’t Forget Background Checks

    Resume misrepresentations are increasing as all record move online; don’t get snared



It’s harder than ever to find the right people for a growing business. Quality candidates are being snatched up quickly as literally hundreds of thousands leave their jobs in the so-called “Big Quit.” Headhunters or recruiters are often under tremendous pressure to fill roles. Sadly, such pressure and a common tendency to “assume the best” about people can lead to serious blowback. When there’s a rush to find candidates, it’s almost inevitable that some companies will forget the importance of a thorough background check. A candidate can look so good on paper and can also ace their job interviews – only to later fail a background check – after the damage has been done to your reputation and your bottom line. It’s a lot cheaper to do due diligence by finding a reputable firm that finds red flags before you hire someone than to hire lawyers to defend your firm after a less than well-vetted employee does something you might be held accountable for. You also don’t want to open yourself to legal ramifications by making a mistake. Perhaps you decide to skip a real background check and opt for a DIY version. A person with a common name, for example, could be mistaken for another, and there are plenty of other minefields you can stumble into when conducting a background check, all of which means it’s always wise to hire a reputable, professional firm with a proven reputation.


You stand to gain much from paying for the services of a reputable company conducting the background check, such as one of the providers listed at http://www.top10.com/background-check/reviews/spokeo, while you also stand to lose much if you decide to “wing it.” Educational credentials are among the biggest recent problems. In the digital age, it’s become both more difficult and easier to fudge credentials. More difficult in the sense that it’s easy to look up some college with a name that doesn’t sound right – but there are also an ever-increasing number of “gray areas.” These include online schools that claim to be accredited and are perhaps even “technically accredited,” but that are in reality, so-called ‘diploma mills.’ These schools abound and new ones are constantly being born. There are many ways to get an education online, and following the Covid pandemic, there’s little doubt more students will opt for online courses, but with the good of online education comes the chance for scams and, at the very least, serious misrepresentations. The United States does not have a federal law that unambiguously prohibits what are called “diploma mills.” And you should bear in mind that the term “university” is not clearly defined by Federal law.


The US Department of Education does not have some sort of absolute authority to regulate schools across the entire nation. Accrediting bodies are mostly at the State level, but there’s been a rise of new organizations sprouting up that offer credentials to schools registered in States with looser regulations or even schools registered in a foreign nation. Other schools take advantage of religious protections afforded by the US Constitution and represent themselves as Bible Colleges when again they are in essence nothing but diploma mills. The ridiculous 2004 example of a house cat named Colby Nolan that was reportedly awarded several degrees by Texas-based Trinity Southwestern University is amusing, but not if you had hired a person with those same educational credentials. Such schools often use names that are very similar to accredited universities, one example being Concordia College and University, an organization with a mailing address in Delaware. This “school” offers Bachelor’s, Masters and even Doctoral degrees based on a person’s self-submitted life experience. Get your Ph.D. in 12 hours for US$800! Certainly not something you want your firm to have to deal with after you’ve already signed a contract to hire someone.


Companies should bear in mind that there are liability issues as well. Known as negligent hiring: https://www.foxhire.com/blog/what-is-negligent-hiring-how-avoid/ Here we learn this legal term is cited when an incident occurs that was caused by an employee… of whom the employer should have reasonably known posed a risk. This is tricky to prove in a court of law, of course, but not as hard as you might assume. Without doing due diligence you open yourself up to the possibility of serious negligence charges that could result in substantial fines. One estimate says the cost of a negligent hiring lawsuit is roughly a million dollars, and when such cases go to court, employers lose some 70% of the time. Those are not odds you want to deal with nor sums you wish to pay. A quality background check can also help you avoid hiring someone who ends up creating an unsafe workspace for others. This, again, is something a company can be legally liable for. In short, although the US is now facing a labor shortage, and despite a candidate looking excellent on paper and in interviews, skipping a thorough background check is never wise. Make sure the check is diligent and done by a reputable organization. Your company’s future might depend on it.

Interesting Related Article: “Should Workplaces Conduct Background Checks?