The best way for employers to make one of the most critical decisions in their business is to institute a Safe Hiring Program (SHP). The definition of a Safe Hiring Program is: A series of policies, practices, and procedures designed to minimize the probability of hiring dangerous, questionable, or unqualified candidates, while at the same time helping to identify those candidates who are capable, trustworthy, and best suited to the job requirements.
A Safe Hiring Program will help employers substantially minimize risk to their businesses. The Program requires taking appropriate steps toward the development of policies and countermeasures before the hiring process begins. Properly implemented, a Safe Hiring Program helps employers in four key ways.
- Provides Deterrence
Making it clear that screening is part of the hiring process can deter potentially problematic applicants and discourage applicants with something to hide. An applicant with a serious criminal history that is inconsistent with the needs of the job or falsified information on his or her resume is less likely to apply at a firm that announces pre-employment background checks are part of the hiring process. Do not become the employer of choice for people with problems when simply having a screening program can deter those problem applicants. However, as discussed in Chapter 10 (The Safe Hiring Manual 3rd Edition), an employer should be mindful of the proper and non-discriminatory use of criminal records.
The goal of a safe hiring program is not to find “perfect” candidates. Many job-seekers with blemished records may still be well-suited for employment. Few employers enjoy the luxury of choosing only from a pool of perfect candidates. However, employers need to be fully informed when making hiring decisions. Having a Safe Hiring Program encourages applicants to be especially forthcoming in their interviews. Making it clear that background checks are part of the hiring process is strong motivation for applicants to be open, honest, and truthful.
Yields More Factual Information
Although intuition can play an important role in hiring, basing a decision on solid information is more reliable and safer. Effective screening obtains factual information about candidates to supplement interview impressions. It is also a valuable tool for judging the accuracy of a candidate’s resume. Facts limit uncertainty in the hiring process. As the old saying goes, an employer can “trust, but verify.”
Promotes Due Diligence
Implementing a Safe Hiring Program helps employers practice due diligence in their hiring. Having an SHP is a powerful defense in the event of a negligent hiring lawsuit, and understanding how due diligence is associated with liability for negligent hiring is critical for any employer. If a bad hire results in a legal action, then an employer must show that it utilized appropriate measures of due diligence.
Firms that do not perform due diligence are sitting ducks for litigation, including attorneys’ fees and big damage awards. Employers who implement and follow a Safe Hiring Program show due diligence measures that are a powerful legal protection. Fortunately for these employers, the cost of exercising due diligence through a SHP is very modest. Even if there is a cost involved, employers need to measure the risk of hiring blind with the considerable and near certain risk of litigation and attorney fees stemming from a single bad hiring decision. As another old saying goes, it is a matter of “paying now or paying later.”
In addition, a SHP protects employers when bad hires slip through. Despite an employer’s best efforts, there is always the possibility someone will be hired which may result in a lawsuit. Employers who can demonstrate to a jury that due diligence was maintained as part of a SHP will have a powerful defense against a lawsuit.
This information was taken from The Safe Hiring Manual 3rd Edition by Lester S. Rosen. For more information on this publication, please visit the BRB Bookstore.