What is the threat of hiring the devil you don’t know? - HR Future helps people prepare for the Future of Work and is South Africa's leading print, digital and online Human Resources magazine.

What is the threat of hiring the devil you don’t know?

The South African labour market is heavily legislated, regulating the relationship between the employer and the employee – often in favour of the employee. In any business, selecting the right candidate for a position is essential to business success. In this highly protected labour environment, hiring the wrong candidate can be devastating and could prove to be a decision that is very difficult to reverse without legal repercussions.

Regardless of the sector they’re operating in, the right employees are a business’ greatest asset. Conversely, the wrong employees are its single biggest threat. While employee vetting or background screening is often either not conducted, or managed in-house, it is questionable whether this should be a Human Resources function.

It is in our nature to trust, but we do so at our peril. The most effective way to take the risk out of hiring is to conduct reliable, unbiased and professional employment background screening on all shortlisted candidates.

Recruitment can be a gruelling process, but there’s nothing quite as draining as realising the business is saddled with the wrong person, who is unreliable, untrustworthy and likely to put the business’ reputation at risk. With a thorough vetting, a hiring decision can be made knowing with certainty that the candidate is, in fact, the correct investment.

To be professional, background screening must be absolutely exhaustive, and every answer provided should be considered with suspicion. Nothing can be taken at face value, no matter how charismatic or demure the candidate appears to be. The four key elements to consider when hiring a vetting service provider are; experience, international sources, accuracy and sources.

Investigation experience provides a mindset of questioning, analytical thinking and critical exploration skills. These are the diagnostic tools required to get real answers and uncover untruths. In an increasingly globalised society, many prospective employees have lived, trained or worked abroad; therefore, access to international sources is vital. Obviously, the accuracy of the data directly affects the validity of the vetting results. As such, the provider should ensure that all information is quality controlled and personally verified. Lastly, the provider’s sources should be their own. Relying on a business that draws information from a third party opens the door for misinterpretation and fundamental information becoming lost in translation. A reputable and professional screening agency will have direct contact with relevant sources of its own.

There are various avenues to pursue when vetting an applicant, giving the potential employer true insight into the applicant’s character. These include: criminal record checks; driver’s licence and forklift licence checks; ITC and credit checks; identification and passport verifications; the verification of educational qualifications; reference checks and screening of previous employment; outstanding warrants or judgements; and pre-employment polygraph testing.

Recruitment doesn’t have to become a costly error in judgement. Don’t let dishonest employees settle in at your expense.

Kyle Condon is the Managing Director at D & K Management Consultants.

Issued by Perfect Word Consulting.

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