The Three Rs of Background Checks and Other Evolving Employer Challenges
By Andrew C. Jackson
I have recently seen an uptick in three employment areas that employers should be aware of. If you employ IT professionals, you likely have experience with one of more of these challenges.
Increase in Failed Background Checks
We are seeing a precipitous increase in failed background checks for job candidates. One of the reasons may be due to the shortage of first-tier candidates on the market. As a result, more candidates with background issues may be coming forward seeking new positions.
We maintain our position that rigorous background checks are still needed despite the talent shortage. Lowering your hiring standards is simply not worth the long-term risk to your culture and reputation. However, we do suggest reviewing your background check process to make sure you are not missing out on great employees who may have a ding in their background. A rule of thumb I like is to review the offense in question against the three Rs of background checks. Is it relevant, repeated and/or recent? For example, a DUI from 10 years ago followed by a clean record and stellar job performance might not be the marker that eliminates an applicant because the offense was not repeated and is not recent. However, a history of violence or cyber theft may be relevant regardless of when or how often it occurred.
Candidate Identity Fraud
Fake candidates continue to be an issue for employers, especially in IT. Unskilled candidates are being coached by experts to perform well in interviews. In extreme cases, the person who shows up for interviews is not the same person who shows up for the job. The scam may go undetected for weeks or months, costing the employer significant time and money.
We suggest a collaborative effort between IT and human resources management to address this problem. A well-defined process for detecting candidate fraud should be developed covering phone, video and in-person interviews as well as onboarding and the first few weeks or months of employment. You can read more tips on this topic here.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous IT professionals misrepresent themselves as full-time employees for two or more companies at a time. They collect multiple salaries while producing barely enough work product to avoid being fired.
Detecting employees who double-dip requires close supervision. We suggest having well-defined, measurable deliverables for each employee that are tracked and reported. This is especially important in the first 90 days of employment, when this deception most often begins. In a remote or hybrid work environment, high-touch management, regular (and impromptu) meetings and performance tracking tools are essential best practices.
I’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your experiences in these three areas or additional employment issues you might face. Feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.