Why Are Background Checks Important in Hiring

Hiring staff is a company responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

Most governments and syndicates around the world are extremely protective toward employees. You know the drill – companies are abominations of the capitalist society that exploit manpower and squeeze the best out of their slaves.

In various European countries, layoffs may be prohibited unless you’re closing an entire department, filing bankruptcy, or firing the employee due to serious disciplinary failures. Otherwise, the company is required to pay several salaries upfront and cover additional benefits for the employee.

As a result, a wrongful hire may cost the company a fortune. Small businesses may simply close shop if they hire a couple applicants that don’t support the business initiatives in the best possible manner.

I won’t even cover the expensive process of publishing job descriptions, sifting through applicants, going through interviews, hiring an employee (while taking care of tons of paperwork), allocating office space and equipment, handling the internal training/onboarding and working along other team members over the first months.

That’s one part of the story.

A friend of mine encountered something frightening in their office last year. One of their colleagues was handcuffed at the office. Turns out he had escaped from a court order for a case they were involved in. They were the prime suspect and basically dodged a bullet without knowing it.

Their company hadn’t been doing thorough enough background checks. They had been expanding fast and so hired dozens of people within 6 months.

And there’s also the part about finding the right (or wrong) fit before scheduling an interview.

A CV – or even a cover letter – showcases a tiny portion of the work and personal experience of an applicant, and they are aimed at portraying the best possible profile of the applicant for the sake of landing an interview (and a job).

However, there are two additional details here.

  1. Some applicants may act outright inappropriately in public. Think of illegal protests on the streets, supporting certain shady organizations, posting tons of photos from night bars near drugs and tons of alcohol and the like. That may very well impact the company’s reputation – let alone the probability of rampage backlashing after a layoff.
  2. Other applicants may enjoy certain activities or participate in various organizations that may be important to the company. While looking for a marketing assistant at the moment, we’re building complete profiles of our applicants that include conference talks, non-profit activities, and different hobbies that may resonate better with our existing team members.

All in all, building a more detailed profile of an applicant through a background check is much more convenient for an organization. It’s about risk management and finding the right applicant for a job.

Most jobs cannot create a good sandbox environment for testing a candidate during an interview. Software development companies ask for GitHub or Bitbucket profiles. Content writers are asked to provide a portfolio of their work. But that’s not applicable for many – which is why the best public profile has a higher chance of landing an interview and a follow-up offer.