Three critical pre-employment screening tips to help ensure you’re recruitment decision is the right one.

It’s an unfortunate truth that all businesses at some point will have discovered the consequences of a bad hiring decision. More often than not this boils down to nothing more than an issue of cultural fit, or a simple skills gap, which is relatively easy to rectify. However, more and more often we are hearing of companies who, after hiring a new employee, are left facing much more potentially damaging consequences.

From hefty fines, legal implications, and not to mention the detrimental consequences to your company’s reputation, the cost of a bad hiring decision has ramifications that can often last long after the employee in question has left.

Of course, ensuring your hiring processes are comprehensive can go some way to ensuring you don’t have the misfortune of facing such dilemmas. Hiring managers are increasingly moving away from the traditional question and answer approach to interviews, instead requiring candidates to undergo psychometric testing and a variety of other assessment activities, which affords employers the ability to gain greater understanding of how a person works as part of a team, as well as what motivates an employee, while uncovering their competencies in a working environment.

But after interviewing what can employers do to ensure that their hiring decision is the right one.

1 Check references:

In public sector organisations reference checking is meticulous. However, that same cannot be said for organisations who operate in the private sector. All too often employers take candidates at face value, or believe that the referencing process is a long and drawn out one. Yet, while it can mean that the time from interview decision to employee commencement is extended, it does pay dividends in the long run. Obtaining references from previous employers is a trusted recruitment tool and can give insight into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their sickness absence history.

2 Check online presence:

With an abundance of social media platforms, these days you will be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t have an online presence in some form or other. Checking for an online presence is a quick and simple process, and may afford you human insight into a prospective employee. While there is an abundance of examples where employees have lost their jobs as a result of what they have said on social media, on a more positive note, it can also afford employers insight in cultural fit, or a person’s interests outside of work.

3 Adhere to legislation:

Recruitment law and legislation is forever being updated, therefore it is important that as a hiring manager you stay up to date with such changes. Certain positions will require a number of background checks to have been carried out before a candidate commences with your organisation. These checks can include disclosure barring checks (DBS) insurance checks, bankruptcy and financial searches, and verification of membership to any relevant professional bodies. Failing to adhere to such recruitment legislation can be costly to your business, and may mean you are operating illegally.

Of course the above tips rely on any business having stringent recruitment policies in place. In today’s working environments time is of the essence, and so affording the recruitment process the time it deserves can be difficult. It may therefore be worth investing in out sourced HR services. At Signature HR, we are experts in providing support for managing the employee life cycle, providing services ranging from pre-employment screening, engagement and pulse surveys through to exit interviews, supplying data which is integral to all key people decisions. For more information on how we can work alongside your own recruitment processes to ensure your hiring decision is the right one, click here.

What can we learn from the hiring practices of Facebook?

Recent revelations from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who announced that his biggest recruitment ‘decision maker’ is to ask himself not only if someone could work directly for him, but if he could work for them, caused a media storm.

Many recruiters, business owners and leaders were all quick to commend Zuckerberg on his powerful recruitment methodology, with a number calling for an industry wide ‘rethink’ of current recruitment practices. Many expected the recruitment industry to take heed of his trusted advice, and adopt their recruitment and subsequent HR polices accordingly.

But scratch below the surface and you begin to see some obvious holes that Zuckerberg’s statement has failed to acknowledge. Firstly, his comment only refers to staff who work directly underneath him. Zuckerberg’s policy, for example, wouldn’t work when recruiting graduates or other none executive positions as candidates here would not be working directly for Zuckerberg and visa versa.

Secondly Zuckerberg has overlooked the importance of effective team dynamics. For example, a marketing manager may wish to hire somebody very competent at a particular task but for whom they would never wish to work, or someone who might make a great employee, but would make a poor manager. In this instance it wouldn’t necessarily be a mistake to recruit that particular person. However following Zuckerberg’s strategy neither of these people, though competent, would be hired. Any successful team is comprised of a number of different personalities who possess a variety of complementary strengths. In an effective team, the whole should always be greater than the sum of its parts.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Zuckerberg fails to recognise the importance of pre- employment screening. While many businesses may be quick to disregard the role effective pre-employment checks can offer, there is no denying that, when done correctly, pre-employment checks remain one of the most effective ways methods of ensuring a recruitment decision is the right one.

While Mark Zuckerberg’s statement certainly grabbed headlines, and in many respects caused the recruitment industry to sit up and take note; perhaps proving to be a useful catalyst for many firms to review and update outdated recruitment processes, unfortunately what it did not do was provide much needed industry context. Zuckerberg has failed to understand that while his fail-safe question may yield results for the Facebook brand, the stark reality is that poor screening following a simplistic approach to recruitment, as offered by Zuckerberg can be very costly to employers to rectify.

Time and time again employers make hiring decisions based on gut instinct, or in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, one single question. However, overlooking the importance of pre-employment screening can be extremely costly to your business both in terms of money, and your reputation. Comprehensive pre-employment screening embodies much more than a formal ID check. When carried out efficiently it can verify a candidate’s qualification or membership with any required professional bodies.

Pre-employment screens can also conduct DBS screening (Disclosure and Barring Service), formally known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, to notify employers should a potential employee hold a criminal record or be the subject of any safeguarding issues. This is of particular importance should the position be public facing, or working closely with children or vulnerable adults.

At Signature HR we go beyond these expectations, working in close collaboration with our clients to offer a completely bespoke pre-employment screening service. We are able to conduct media and internet searches on candidates; for more specific job roles pre-employment screening may involve searching land registry and property searches. For higher level industry specific vacancies, employers may also require information on a candidate’s financial history, including any bankruptcy. This is particularly useful for any candidates entering a high-level position within a financial environment. After all, a successful hire cannot all boil down to one ‘magic’ question or to gut instinct.

The world of pre-employment, along with the recruitment industry it serves, is a complex one. But whatever recruitment strategy your business deploys, from Zuckerberg’s one question, to more formal recruitment methods, it is important to back it up both legally and professionally, ensuring your business continues to unearth talent.

Is presenteeism the new absenteeism?

The CIPD’s 2012 Absence Management Survey has shown that the average level of employee absence has fallen by almost a day.

Effects of presenteeism in the workplace

Although on the face of it this is seen as very welcome news for employers and the economy in general, but could it be masking the fact that because of the uncertain economic conditions and the volatile job market employees are working through their illnesses.

This so called ‘presenteeism’ can be as dangerous and destructive as absenteeism. As employers there can be a massive impact on individuals feeling so insecure in their jobs that they come to work ill. This can have a health and safety impact, for example those working with machinery or those required to drive as part of their jobs, don’t forget your employer duty of care!

There is also the impact on productivity and staff engagement, a workforce of individuals not at their best because they feel they have to come to work or risk being fired or made redundant create a negative atmosphere and this is therefore counter productive.

For employees to flourish they need to be engaged with the organisation, they need to be able to relax and concentrate on how they can add value. Feeling under pressure to come to work can quickly become infectious in an organisation and that will lead to low morale and good staff moving on to better employers.

Lets be clear we are not talking about someone working through a cold or a minor ailment we are taking about people suffering from significant life impacting illnesses, the additional pressure brought about by not feeling able to “phone in sick” can only further impact both an employees physical and mental health, in turn potentially storing long term serious issues for the organisation.

Companies need to ensure in these pressurised times that they do not cut back on occupational heath provisions but are ready to support their employees with the additional life pressures they are encountering, only by doing this will they realise the true value of their employees contributions.