Who you hire can determine the success of your company; they influence your company culture, productivity and ultimately drive revenue. How can you look beyond an interviewee’s résumé and do your homework to make sure your hiring the right person for the job?
We sat down with NationSearch’s Brenda Lund, chief development officer, and Andrew Dose, business development strategist, to learn about the importance of background screening and how businesses can strengthen their company with the right candidates.
Taking Care of Business: NationSearch specializes in background screening for employers. Why is this so crucial to companies when they are considering a new hire?
NationSearch: From our experience, employers are playing with fire when applicants are blindly hired. Unfortunately, bad hiring decisions carry consequences now more than ever, and many companies can’t withstand losing a lawsuit and all the financial and reputational damages that come with it.
Employers are also at risk for lawsuits from job applicants if background screens aren’t handled appropriately. Our industry’s guidelines fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), along with myriad laws and regulations on the state and federal levels. Background screening companies stay on top of legislation so businesses don’t have to.
TCB: How can employers build a proper background check into their hiring procedures and policies?
NS: Thankfully, companies can know they’re in good hands when their background check vendor sets up continual one-on-one communication, guidance and education from the get-go. As users of these reports, companies have set responsibilities and processes that must be merged with their hiring policies. The critical first step is to establish and maintain good, open, two-way screener-client communication.
TCB: What are common mistakes you see employers make when screening a potential new hire and how can they be avoided?
NS: Strong hiring strategies and the implementation of solid, consistent background check policies and procedures (P&P) cannot be emphasized enough.
Do-it-yourself background screens and promises of instant-reporting results are also a minefield for those not versed in criminal search regulations and background check law; it’s our obligation to keep clients from becoming vulnerable to the hazards of instant reporting. Employers are encouraged to weight the cost of a conducting cheap, unreliable online offers against the risk of missing key records and/or applicant discrimination.
Another critical piece ties into the direction the U.S. is going with “ban the box” and “fair chance hiring” legislation. Instead of conducting the background screen too early in the hiring process, there’s a strong movement toward giving applicants the possibility of making a good impression before being reduced to a collection of past crimes and bad decisions.
TCB: How does the business’s culture play into the hiring process and even before that, in the recruiting process?
NS: The recruiting and hiring process is, hands down, ground zero for a company’s success. From our perspective, companies’ hiring P&P is the foundation and first line of defense for the types of behaviors allowed to take root in the business. Consistent criteria in the realms of recruiting and hiring will absolutely serve as a funnel for building the caliber of culture desired.
This all falls by the wayside if the values, goals and practices [of a company] haven’t been defined. How can a company’s leadership determine the likelihood of new employees to adopt and fit into a culture that changes on a day-to-day basis?
TCB: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned since starting NationSearch?
NS: A big lesson for everyone on the NationSearch team is that applicant’s rights are impressed on our team from day one. A long time ago, NationSearch’s owner adopted the policy that if we protect applicant rights first and foremost, then our clients will be protected automatically.
On the more technical side of things, it is important for applicants to neatly and thoroughly complete their applicant and consent forms. It’s imperative for people looking for employment to make sure they’re not hurting their chances through hastily filled-out forms.
TCB: Why do you love doing business in Colorado?
NS: Who wouldn’t love doing business in Colorado? Not only is it a great place to live, but we have such a wide variety of nature, culture and business, especially since the rest of the world is finally catching on to the awesomeness Colorado provides. Many of our employees are Colorado natives, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be taking active steps to further establish NationSearch in the Colorado business community. Opportunity abounds in this swiftly-developing, continually-evolving state, and we are so excited to see what Colorado is capable of!
Laura James is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber.