As Face-to-Face Interviews Decline, Pre-Employment Screening is Critical

Let’s face it: nobody likes job interviews. The old hiring standard of bringing a group of people in and asking them a series of sometimes-absurd and irrelevant questions has been under fire recently. Does the job interview really communicate a candidates’ qualifications? Does it serve any purpose except wasting everybody’s time? Are face-to-face job interviews going the way of the dodo?

Possibly, if you believe industry trends. The Wall Street Journal has reported that some employers trying to recruit in the tightest job market in decades are hiring some candidates sight unseen—after just one phone interview. This isn’t generally for high-powered jobs. But the trend could spread from retail and low-level office work into more professions. The reason, according to Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed by the WSJ, is that most companies are “so bad at interviewing, and the interviews are so full of bias, that it’s not crazy to just ignore them altogether.”

What’s Wrong with Interviews?

Interviewing, it’s felt, only represents a person’s interviewing skills, and few people conduct interviews for their jobs, noted Suzanne Lucas writing for Inc. magazine.

“This job requires that I sit at a computer, analyze information, and write about it in a coherent and entertaining fashion (hopefully with the least typos possible),” wrote Lucas. “An accountant’s job is to make sure that all laws are followed and all numbers balance out. A computer coder’s job is to write clear, clean code. None of these jobs require great interview skills on a daily basis. Someone who is great at interviewing may not be all that great at doing the actual job, and vice versa.”

Interviewing candidates face-to-face is also expensive and time-consuming. Companies are instead relying on applications, resumes, recommendations, and telephone interviews. In some cases, they’re engaging would-be employees in short temporary assignments to test their work capability. They’re also putting research procedures in place to check out potential employees.

Should You Stop Interviewing?

Experts say that while eliminating interviewing altogether may not be in your company’s best interests, they do recommend shortening the process. What they don’t recommend, however, is foregoing the kind of pre-employment checks that can protect your business.

Why Are Pre-Employment Checks Important?

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you screen your potential employees for the information you need to know before you hire. DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today. 

Don’t Skimp Background Checks for Seasonal Workers

November means Thanksgiving, blustery weather, first frosts, and seasonal employment. Thousands of retailers are now in the process of hiring extra staff for temporary positions through the holiday season and into January’s mass merchandise returns. This year, seasonal hiring may be particularly tricky. Low unemployment coupled with good consumer confidence could lift this year’s holiday retail season. But it will also present a headache to companies trying to find good workers to fill seasonal slots in their stores and operations.

According to National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay, the association is predicting that retailers will hire 650,000 seasonal workers for the holidays in 2018, up more than 10 percent from last year’s seasonal hiring. NRF is forecasting that annual retail sales for 2018 will increase at least 4.5 percent over 2017. This number is the highest since 2014, when unemployment was around 6 percent, compared with a nearly five-decade low of 3.7 percent in October of this year.

“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” Shay said. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is…where are retailers going to get all these seasonal employees in a time of record-low unemployment?

Wage Competition Will Be Fierce

With minimum wages edging up in cities around the country and unemployment below four percent, companies will also be paying its seasonal workers more. Amazon has said it plans to finish filling seasonal positions by early December. The company’s new minimum wage of $15 an hour will likely attract the best candidates for seasonal positions.

Who’s Checking the Candidates?

When it gets difficult to hire good workers – especially when those workers are only temporary – it’s tempting to skip some of the bells and whistles of the hiring process. Many companies will look the other way on less-than-ideal candidates, but this could put their business and their other employees at risk. Background checks are important, even for seasonal candidates.

Call the Professionals

A pre-employment background check company can help you safely expand your pool of job applicants while continuing to protect your business and your existing employees.

DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information as well as background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.

Expanding the Labor Pool by Considering Rehabilitated Offenders

It’s an economic cycle: when labor is plentiful, employers can afford to be choosy about who they hire. When labor pools shrink, employers often need to remove some of their restrictions and consider hiring people with less formal education or fewer years of work experience. One place employers can look for workers to fill labor shortages includes a pool of applicants they might be accustomed to rejecting: ex-offenders.

Thinking Differently About Hiring Ex-Offenders

It’s been conventional wisdom for years that former offenders are riskier to hire: they may present a threat to other workers or steal money or stock from a business, so the thinking goes. But a new study has shown this may not be true, and that there may be benefits to hiring ex-offenders. The real question for employers willing to take the chance is how to evaluate and select these candidates, according to EHS Today, which highlights research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) which a demonstrated consistent work history is a better marker of a good worker than a clean record.

“It’s time to put an end to the stigma that holds back inclusive hiring and retire outdated employment practices,” said SHRM’s president Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “With unemployment falling below four percent, employers must think differently about both jobs and the people who can fill them. A criminal record should never be viewed as an automatic disqualification for employment.”

In addition to a consistent work history, employers should look for references, job training, and a certification of rehabilitation. They should also be sure to conduct a thorough background check to validate the truth of claims on an application. It is, however, important to do so within the law. California already has restrictions on how criminal background check information may be used.

FIRST STEP Act

Another factor that may make relaxing rules on hiring ex-offenders more appealing is criminal reform legislation at the federal level in the form of the FIRST STEP Act, which cleared the House in May. Among other things, the legislation would provide $250 million over five years for new inmate education and rehabilitation programs, which include job training.

Call the Professionals

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you safely expand your pool of job applicants while continuing to protect your business and your existing employees. As a full-service background investigation company, we specialize in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.

Background Checks Are Important Even for Temps

Today’s workplace doesn’t look like it did a few decades ago. Increasingly, it’s made of freelancers (the “gig economy”), part-timers, job-sharers, third-party contactors and temporary employees. While this may reduce the cost of doing business, it also creates complexities employers need to plan for in advance.

Hiring is a difficult and time-consuming process, and many employers believe they can lower the bar a little when they’re hiring temporary employees. After all, how much damage could a bad temp hire do in a short amount of time?

Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Temp Steals Permanent Employees’ Identities

A cautionary tale from the second installment of the new CNBC Make It series HR Confidential shows how hiring a temporary worker without a background check led to identity theft for the worker’s colleagues at one company.

A senior HR manager for a foreign banking interest was approached by several employees who reported their identities had been stolen. The manager was ultimately confronted by the local postmaster general and postal police officers (who were armed with guns!)

“The guy was a temp employee who we had hired through an outside agency to work in our file room,” the HR manager told CNBC’s HR Confidential. “When you have 3,000 employees, their personal files quickly pile up, so we hired him to clean up each person’s file, add information to them and put them away. However, he was going into these files, taking people’s social security numbers and stealing all of their information.”

How a Background Check Would Have Helped

The temp, as it turned out, was already under investigation by the post office for fraud. The culprit and a friend were signing up for credit cards with the stolen identities and having the cards delivered to their home addresses. The post office was able to easily make the connection between the individual, his address, and the fraudulent credit card applications. Unfortunately for the bank, the damage to employees was already done, and it cost the company a lot of money to help employees clean up their credit.

“For the employees who had their identity stolen, this was such a nightmare,” the HR manager told HR Confidential. “It took some of them more than a year to get this solved. I also felt somewhat responsible because I’m the one who hired the temp and this happened under my watch. I did the best I could in providing support.”

Make Background Checks Routine, Even for Temps

Always perform background checks, even for temp employees (just like you would for a full-time employee), especially if the temp will be handling any personal or sensitive information. Full-service pre-employment checking companies like DataCheck, LLC can ensure that any temps you hire are fully vetted.

Contact DataCheck to inquire about professional pre-employment services such as criminal background checks that protect your workers and your business from identity theft, fraud and negligence.

Sharing Economy Boosting Need for Employee Background Checks

While certain jobs have always required background checks for security of employees as well as protection from lawsuits on the part of employers, a new generation of needs are cropping up thanks to the “sharing economy.”

The Internet has enabled a variety of new business models, and one of them involves enabling consumers and service providers to reach each other directly. The result has been companies like Airbnb, which allows private homeowners to put their unused rooms and apartments to use as rentals, or Lyft and Uber, which help vehicle owners earn money by providing affordable ridesharing services.

Security an Issue in the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy has its downsides, and one of them has proven to be security. Hotels and taxi companies, for example, are often regulated by federal, state or local authorities, but collaborative platforms frequently are not. Thanks to some high-profile stories in the news about a lack of security with some sharing services, consumers are understandably nervous about opening their homes to strangers or getting into a car with one.

Uber has been hit hard in recent years by high-profile security issues. Under guidance from a new CEO, the ridesharing company announced it will begin performing annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers and hire third-party service providers to continually monitor criminal arrests in an attempt to do a better job of keeping riders safe. A series of high-profile security problems and scandals led to the resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick last year.

Providers Need to Build Trust

Peer-to-peer sharing, while a revolutionary idea that is cutting out extra expenses from “middlemen,” is a concept that doesn’t work without trust. For digital and app-based sharing businesses to grow in the current economy, they must create a sense of safety and trust for buyers.

“If you’re not working to build and demonstrate it, then the future might be about to leave you behind, as trust is quickly becoming the global — and most-valued — currency of modern time,” wrote TechCrunch’s Adriana Stan, who noted that the sharing economy needs a “codification of trust.”

Hire Professionals

Most companies aren’t equipped to ensure that all employees are deserving of positions of trust. (And do you really want to take the chance?) Professional third-party background investigation companies like DataCheck specialize in obtaining pertinent information through criminal background checks on a statewide and national level, past employment and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other aspects on individuals for employers nationwide.

Before you begin offering services to the public, ensure your customers can trust your employees.

Contact DataCheck today with your employment screening needs.