5 Myths about Employment Background Checks

Myth #1 – Small Companies Don’t Need to Conduct Background Checks

According to Inc. Magazine, over half of embezzlement cases occur in companies with fewer than 100 employeesFurther, overwhelmingly, small and medium businesses were the victims of workplace theft of any kind (check fraud, funds theft, payroll fraud, theft of merchandise and property, vendor fraud, etc.), representing 68 percent of cases.  The median loss to companies, in 2016, was a whopping $289,864!  That amount of loss can cripple a small company.  What does this mean about your small business?  It means that you are not immune to the possibility of embezzlement.

Myth #2 – Background Checks Are Only Needed for Employees with Access to Sensitive Information

Financial fraud isn’t the only risk that businesses face when they decline to obtain background checks on candidates and existing employees.  A firm’s professional and legal reputation can also be damaged by employees who have access to sensitive people, such as children, elders, mentally or physically-challenged family members, or, quite frankly, any loved one.  Therefore, companies that provide childcare, elder care, health care, housekeeping, and in-home services, such as construction, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc. should obtain background checks on their workers.

Myth #3 – Background Checks Are a Luxury

Compared to potential business losses, background checks are relatively inexpensive.  Ordering background checks on potential candidates should be a critical component of any organization’s hiring practices.  A small amount spent on checking the background of candidates and existing employees could save you from significant financial damage down the road.

Myth #4 – Instant, Online Background Checks Are Adequate

Have you heard that saying that “good, fast, and cheap are nearly impossible to achieve at the same time”?  This is true in home repairs, auto repairs, and yes, background checks.  A good one cannot be instant, and it’s unlikely to be cheap.  And while an instant one can be cheap, it’s unlikely to be good.  Furthermore, a cheap one can be fast, but it isn’t likely to be good.  Hire a firm that has certified research professionals.  While their research will cost more, you can be comfortable in knowing that they meet, and often exceed, standards for the background check industry.

Myth #5 – Repeat Background Checks Aren’t Necessary

Background checks for existing employees are a good business practice.  Just because you ordered a background check on someone during the hiring process doesn’t mean that their status remains the same.  A best practice that allows you to maintain a safe and compliant workplace is to order periodic background checks for your employees.  This is particularly important in cases where employees are given additional duties that give them new access to sensitive information, such accounts payable and receivables, banking information, payroll, and social security numbers.  If an employee will be given access to company vehicles, it’s a good idea to order a background check to determine their driving history.

Bottom Line:

Complacency often leads to broken trust that can wreak havoc on a small company.  While it may seem like an intrusive and unnecessary expense, background checks are crucial to protecting your company’s assets and reputation.  Before you hire your next candidate or assign new duties to existing employees, hire a reputable company that has certified professionals to conduct background checks.  Remember, your company is only as trustworthy as its employees.