Pre-Employment Screening Procedures
Mr Jonathan Lucas Jessop (Director)
From: Ms Kaylinn Elizabeth Jackson (Recruiter and Personnel Manager)
Re: The Importance of Effective Pre-Employment Screening at IT People.
Dear Mr. Jessop
Nobody knows better than you and I the challenges we face today in terms of personnel recruitment and retention. Indeed, today’s demographic, economic, and technological developments have created a recruitment base fraught not only with opportunities, but also with challenges. It is far easier today for potential employees to manufacture any information, ranging from the personal to the professional. For this reason, it is vital that we, especially in the IT industry, weed out such fraudulent applications to ensure that we employ the best persons from our pool of applicants.
It is also true that applicants simply omit pertinent information from their applications that might be to the detriment of the company, such as a criminal past or problematic behavior in society or at previous workplaces. These are often more difficult to identify, but not less important than identifying and avoiding outright manufactured information regarding experience or education.
Many critics point out that not using a pre-employment screening process is highly detrimental to a company in terms not only of potential harm to the company, its employees, or its customers, but also in terms of employee turnover and costs in terms of recruitment and training when a less than positive hire begins to show his or her true colors. For this reason, I am offering this proposal for your consideration to streamline not only our recruitment process, but also to identify screening techniques that would be most useful for our particular situation. Particularly, one of the most useful techniques I encountered included cross-referencing, as suggested by Bonanni et al. (2006). In addition, important considerations include libel issues such as employee rights and consent, as suggested by Laws.com (2013).
As mentioned, Bonanni et al. (2006, p. 6) suggest that cross-referencing might be the next step in the evolution of pre-employment screening. While techniques such as background checks, employment checks, and criminal record checks offer individual rates of risk when considering an applicant, in combination, they significantly raise the risk estimate. In other words, a high-risk employee might only be identified as such when a combination of screening tools are used. Specifically, the authors state that any singular screening tool offers a “not clear” rate of about 10%, while a combination of four screening tools raises this to about 46%. Hence, if we were to identify the very best, and lowest risk employees to recruit in our top-level positions, this would be a good technique to use.
Varying Levels of Recruitment
The level of recruitment is also an important consideration. At IT People, we tend to use a single recruiting technique for all employees, from first-level data entry professionals to top-level managers. The same interview questions, personality tests, and background checks are performed for all of them.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC, 2008), for example, suggests that a risk-focused approach should be used when determining the appropriate level of pre-employment screening technique. For lower-level employees, for example, we could maintain the simple personality tests, interview questions, and background checks. For more important levels of employment where greater responsibility is required, we could use a more integrated approach. My suggestion is that we should streamline our pre-employment screening techniques with the level of employees we are recruiting.
The FDIC (2008) also notes that this should be a continuing process. At IT People, we offer various opportunities for advancement. Since lower-level employees will be recruited according to lower-level screening techniques, I suggest that each advancement opportunity should be accompanied by the appropriate screening procedure for higher-level recruitments. This will mitigate future risks, not only in terms of employee retention, but also in terms of unethical conduct or other types of misconduct the company has faced in the past.
Costs and Risks
Although some screening techniques may be costly, the costs incurred when the risks without screening become reality are far worse and could even tarnish the reputation of the company, as we have seen in the past. I therefore feel that any costs associated with implementing my suggestions will be more than offset by the risks that we mitigate. Indeed, Laws.com (2013) warns that one faulty decision during recruiting could lead to disaster and even failure as a result of misconduct such as employee theft or attacks against fellow-employees, management, or customers.
IT People’s Business Relationships
As IT People is an internationally well-known company, I believe streamlining or recruitment processes in this way will also lead to a better reputation among our peers and among potential employees. Having a reputation as a recruiter of only the best and most well-respected employees will also improve our customer relationships, since these employees will be concerned with gaining and retaining customer trust.
Clearly, there are many benefits to using effective screening techniques. Kinsey (n.d.) confirms that the quality of applicants submitted to screening techniques is generally better, which leads to a better pool of employees. For us, in the IT field, this is of great importance, particularly since we operate internationally. It is easier to ensure international consistency in the quality of our work if thorough screening procedures are used, especially for higher level employees. On the other hand, there are also some things of which we should be mindful in order to implement screening procedures effectively.
First, Kinsey (n.d.) notes that qualified candidates may be discouraged from applying when screening procedures are announced. However, it is also true that such announcements will encouraged to eliminate themselves from the process by not applying at all. On the positive side, applicants without serious background concerns will not be discouraged from applying. It is therefore far more beneficial than not to both include and announce background checks when new applicants are recruited.
Applicant consent is another important concern. According to the FDIC (2008), although pre-employment screening is not an invasion of privacy, there are legal requirements that govern it. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), for example, requires written consent from applicants whose screening requires a credit check. The FCRA also protects employees in case of any misinformation revealed during a background check. We should take this into account when performing pre-employment screening for our applicants (Shaker, 2009). On the other hand, cross-referencing should reveal any incongruous information from a single check point. With this comes the right to appropriate pre-employment screening, as established by Griggs v. Duke Power (Carrigan, 2007, p. 42). According to the legislation emerging from this case, employers are allowed only to perform checks and ask questions that are related to the employees potential to perform well on the job. Creating different screening techniques for the different levels of jobs we have on offer will necessarily comply with this legislation, since our concern is to hire the best employee for each level of work we have on offer.
In conclusion, I do believe that, although some investment of time and funding will be required, using higher-level screening techniques for higher levels of employment at IT People will result in a more streamlined workplace and better national and worldwide reputation for the company, as well as a more satisfying workplace for our employees.
Bonanni, C., Drysdale, D., Hughes, A., and Doyle, P. (2006, Nov.). Employee Background Verification: The Cross-Referencing Effect. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 5(11). Retrieved from: cluteonline.com
The document addresses the challenge of using specific screening tools to uncover potential negative indicators in prospective employees. The challenge related to these is that some potential risk factors might not be uncovered by considering the results of even multiple screening tools in isolation. To mitigate this risk, the authors suggest “cross-referencing,” where the results of multiple screening tools are combined to increase the number of potential factors that might indicate a less than positive hire.
Carrigan, M. (2007, Aug.). Pre-Employment Testing — Prediction of Employee Success and Legal Issues: A Revisitation of Griggs V. Duke Power. Journal of business & Economics Research, 5(8). Retrieved from: cluteonline.com
The paper examines pre-employment testing not only in terms of its benefits to companies and employers, but also in terms of the rights that might be expected by employees. By focusing on a specific case — Griggs v. Duke Power Co., the document provides a historical account of the evolution of testing methods and procedures to include anti-discrimination rights. The conclusion is that both employers and employees can benefit from pre-employment testing, as long as there is a recognition of the rights involved for both interested parties.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC, 2008). Pre-Employment Background Screening: Guidance on Developing an Effective Pre-Employment Background Screening Process.
Focused on the banking industry, the authors emphasize the importance of background screening to prevent risks such as high employee turnover as well as potential losses from harm caused by employees with criminal records. The authors suggest that methods include not only standard credit and criminal records checks, but also more in-depth checks involving fingerprint matches. It is also suggested that a standard application form be implemented, which would provide information that might not be included in a CV. The emphasis in this work is on highly responsible positions regarding money and customer management, which might not necessarily be relevant for screening lower-level employees.
Kinsey, A. (n.d.). The Benefits of Pre-employment Screening. James M. Sweeny and Associates, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.sweeneyinc.com/files/benefits_preemployment_screening.pdf
Because of the nature of technology and the economy today, employers face much greater challenges than in the past in terms of hiring “the right” employees. It is no longer a matter of simply interviewing the employee and matching him or her to a task required within a company. Behavioral risks must also be assessed. These can be assessed most effectively by investigating the employee for his or her credit record, criminal record, driving record, and civil litigation. A history of substance abuse can also be an important indicator of behavior in the workplace.
Laws.com (2013). Pre-Employment Screening. Retrieved from: http://employment.laws.com/preemployment-screening
The document consists of three parts: 1) A definition and discussion of the nature of pre-employment screening; 2) A list of screening procedures, and 3) Obtaining consent. The document provides good general information about pre-employment screening that any company can apply to its hiring procedures.
Shaker, J.M. (2009). Pre-Employment Screening Methods: How Much Do You Really Want to Know? Ryan, Swanson, & Cleveland, PLLC. Retrieved from: http://www.ryanswansonlaw.com/Documents/Articles/Article%20-%20Pre-Employment%20Screening%20Methods%20(2009).pdf
On the premise that employers have access to a far wider pool of employees than in the past, the document addresses both benefits and drawbacks of pre-employment screening. Some of the drawbacks include the time and funding expenses involved in some screening procedures; others could be invasive, which might discourage qualified employees from giving consent; screening could result in additional legal liability for employers. After offering information about screening methods, the document concludes by advising that the necessity for certain screening methods match the job for which the employee is hired. Careful analysis is necessary to achieve a good match between screening technique, the type of employee required, and the work to be performed.
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