Question: What can we do to make sure we hire good people?
Any firm that doesn’t use background checks will end up relying on the skill of the interviewer to discern the “truth” from the applicants and their resumes.
Some people are quite good at hiding the negatives in their past work lives, especially date gaps, firings in lieu of quitting, even crimes.
Good and legal interviewers use a structured questioning process: All applicants get the same questions, asked in the same way.
If we believe in the 80-20 rule, then 80 percent of post-hiring problems deal with interpersonal conflicts with 20 percent dealing with lack of skills, such as knowledge of equipment and software.
So why do we spend so much time on the 80 percent that is not at the root of most future discipline or termination problems?
Ask less about skill sets , we can always train bright, energetic people , and more about teamwork, proof of success working as part of a team, and how they “fit” into your employee culture.
Firms wanting to hire an outside contractor should ask if that provider has an extensive knowledge of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in doing background checks.
Companies put themselves in legal peril if they don’t understand the limits and loopholes of the FCRA as it pertains to nearly every step in the pre-employment process.
Reference checking has always been a legal and HR pit of quicksand.
Put the responsibility on the applicant’s shoulders.
First, get a signed waiver from the applicant that you have their written permission to contact every reference (including past supervisors) listed on the resume or job application.
Second, ask the applicant to pre-contact their references first, so they can expect your call.
If applicants can’t find anyone willing to say anything about their past job performance, that should be a warning sign.
Lastly, ask the applicant to bring copies of their last evaluations to the interview.
This will allow you to see what other supervisors have said about them.
Written by Dr. Steve Albrecht, the managing director for Albrecht Training & Development, a San Diego-based seminar and coaching firm. He specializes in HR, security issues and corrective coaching.