Employee Screening - running background checks
The importance of employee screening in the home health and home care fields cannot be underestimated. Services that do not do employee screening not only risk hiring a bad employee, they risk inflicting that bad employee on their clients, the consequence of a bad business reputation, and a potential resulting lawsuit.
Employee screening however isnít as easy as it used to be. Bad employees have come up with numerous ways to work the system, including identity fraud. Because we donít wish to give anyone any ideas on how to do this, these methods will not be discussed.
However, with the increase in technology, you need to consider that whatever seems obvious on the face is not necessarily valid. It is not enough to merely check a driverís license and call a former employer for a reference.
Employee screening basics
Employee screening starts with you, the employment application that you accept, and the information that you make available before each applicant comes to fill out the employment application. Employers that inform applicants in advance that such screening will occur, almost always find that their number of ďbadĒ applicants goes down. Applicants who know they have employment or criminal issues often wonít bother to apply once they know they will be checked out.
In many cases, applicants who have a problem will leave information off their application or in their resume that will give them away, with the hope that if they donít provide it, you wonít bother pursuing it. Therefore, it is important that you gather as much information from them as possible.
Blank spots or fields that are not legible should not be left blank, and these can be your first sign that an applicant is not telling you the truth or is hiding something in the past. If the applicant doesnít wish to provide this information, it is very doubtful that the employment application is worth further consideration.
If you turn your applications over to a third party for employment screening, the more information that is included, the more the employment screener will have to work with. Information that is not provided cannot be checked out.
One other safeguard in accepting an employment application is to require the applicant to present their driverís license to verify their current name, address, and driverís license number. By doing so, you take one additional screening step in making sure that someone is not presenting you with an application with false information. This however, is not a failsafe and will not protect you if the person has obtained fraudulent identification.
One word of caution: It may be tempting to start an employee in the screening process and then hire them while you wait for the results. In doing so, you risk the possibility that you will have hired a problem employee and sent them out to see your clients. Even though you may have only hired this person upon condition, you are still an employer and are still responsible for their actions under agency law.
Outsourcing employment screening
Many companies now use professional employment screening services to conduct their pre-employment checks. In most cases, these companies can perform screening processes quicker, with more accuracy, and sometimes even cheaper than you can do on your own.
There are many reasons to look at outsourcing your employee screening. Though it could be cheaper because of the volume discounts, price is not the major consideration.
If one of your employees is negligent and a jury decides that you were negligent in your hiring practices, this can be the basis for adding punitive damages to any compensatory damages that might be awarded. Punitive damages are often awarded in a lawsuit as an afterthought when the court thinks that the defendant has been cavalier in their attitudes towards protecting their clients.
In other words, if you hire someone with a criminal history of abuse and that person assaults your frail client, you will probably be judged as negligent. Ignorance of the facts is not an excuse in such a case.
By hiring an outside screening company of good reputation, not only can you find better information, it shows that you have done your due diligence in your hiring. If the screening company makes a mistake, that burden of negligence no longer applies to you, it applies to the screening company. In a world where people like to sue, this can be no small consideration.When looking for an employment screening company, consider your full-service companies that do a wide variety of checks. If you hire quite a few people, also ask them if they have multiple checks that you can buy in advance at discount rates. This is also where franchise organizations can come in handy as well. By working with a nationwide screening company, they can offer substantial discounts in screening costs to their member franchises.