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Any human resources manager, who has been in the field for any length of time, has an “employee from hell” story.  Regardless if the HR manager made a hire at a top business firm, or at a fast-food restaurant, some employees have a way of not living up to their perceived potential.  Though weeding out all prospective “bad” employees is impossible, there is a way to spot potential problems and mitigate loss before they occur.  This can be accomplished with a background check.

Some HR managers will conduct a credit check on prospective employees.  What a credit check won’t show the landlord is the person’s: driving record, criminal background, pending or completed civil lawsuits, and/or social media footprint.  So, why are these things important?

  1. Driving Record – A prospective employer may be interested in knowing if an employee has any recent traffic infractions; including DUI/DWI.  Any of these infractions should send up some major red flags.  Each infraction, depending on circumstances, can indicate maturity and responsibility levels.
  2. Criminal Background – Again, another indication of maturity and responsibility levels.  Some older arrests may not be cause of concern, depending on the charges; more recent arrests should be a strong indicator not to hire an individual.
  3. Pending or Completed Civil Lawsuits – An individual who has been sued by previous employers should send you running.  Though information on any lawsuit an employee is involved in will prove useful in your decision making.
  4. Social Media Footprint – Checking a renters “Facebook” or “Twitter” profile may no longer give you enough information, if any.  Though you may consider yourself internet savvy, there are dozens of social media websites you may never have heard of.  Everyone, including an employee’s parents, is on those highly popular websites.  Chances are an employee is not posting ‘questionable’ photos of their weekend exploits on those sites.

When it comes down to it, hiring authorities need to protect their investment.  Simply reading a number provided by a credit report will not give you an accurate picture of a prospective hire.   Finding out the hard way can wind up costing thousands of dollars.

Hiring managers are not the only ones who can benefit from a background check.  Conducting a full, or limited, background check may also save other individuals time and money.  There are a number of scenarios in which a person could benefit from a background check, such as:

  1. As a parent, when choosing a daycare provider, nanny, or housekeeper
  2. As a home or business owner, when hiring a contractor to build/remodel a home or office
  3. As a business owner, before entering into a business venture with a partner
  4. As a landlord, before renting to an individual

Again, not all background checks need to be a full, comprehensive, check.  Simply finding out if an individual has a criminal background, or is involved in a lawsuit, may suffice. Regardless of the situation, a short term investment of a background check may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

If employees go turn out to be a nightmare, the cost of an experienced attorney can be as much as $375 an hour, while the cost of a new attorney is $150 an hour.   Also, you will have to pay filing fees, court motion fees, etc., etc.  On top of all of the fees, there is also loss of revenue to consider.  This does not even account for the fact you may not win your court case.  A background check designed to confirm a person is on the “up-and-up” is, as you can imagine, much less expensive.