As an employer, how do you know that the candidate you’re interviewing doesn’t have something in their past that could become an issue in the future?
At Alaska Executive Search we do extensive vetting (including preliminary background checks) of potential candidates before we send them over for an interview.
We do this because we don’t want our clients to spend time and resources to interview and offer employment to somebody, only to discover a problem with their background. It happens, even to the best of them.
In mid-September, we received an application form, what looked to be, a very qualified candidate which included information as a temporary contract employee for a competing staffing agency here in Anchorage. The candidate came in for an interview with 2 of our recruiters. With a positive interview, they came away very impressed and immediately had her take a few skills tests to make sure she was proficient in the applications that the employer needed for the position. Her test scores were outstanding, and we were excited because we knew that this would be a quality employee. We wanted to send her over to the client right away, but we hadn’t completed the background check and even though we thought there was no way anything would come back, we decided not to send her over. Because we didn’t want to lose her, we hired her to run our front desk for a few days (while our admin was assigned to the project) and when her background check was completed, we would then send her out on temporary job assignments. After working in our office for 3 days, we received the results of the background check and we were shocked. The results showed she had a recent criminal record (including being on the “no-fly list”). Now, we were going to have to a very awkward conversation in which we were going to have to fire the employee. Now the good thing was that we didn’t have to have this awkward conversation with a client because we didn’t send her over to fill the job assignment. But it was a good reminder that our process is solid and necessary, whether it’s for a client or our office, no matter how “fantastic” we think the candidate might be.
This begs the question, how did this person fill job assignments for another staffing agency when this information would have been readily available on her background check? How is it that she had glowing references?
And last, the burning question, when we asked her “We require a background check will we find anything?” How could she possibly think this would get by our office and reply, “No?” Regardless, lesson learned. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that far too many employers have learned the hard way.
Written By Vince Dixson
Alaska Executive Search Business Development Director