The need to properly vet potential employees, at all levels, is one constantly reinforced yet inconsistently performed. While employers do not assume potential candidates are lying about their experiences or resumes, it is of paramount importance to take precautions.
For professionals in our field last year’s breakout film, Parasite, was the perfect encapsulation of lessons to be learned from the poor verification of stories new hires might be spinning. A few well placed questions and connections of the dots would have turned it into a rather short movie.
Always know whom it is you are dealing with.
The vetting process involves delving deeper into a potential employee’s background than provided on their resume or in an interview. Vetting employees goes further than checking references and typically includes criminal background checks, verifying professional licenses, certifications, or degrees, and checking social media profiles. The latter has become popular the past few years. According to a 2018 survey by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media at some point during the vetting process.
Why does vetting include checking social media?
Criminal background checks and verifying candidates’ information candidates is necessary, of course, but what are employers looking for in someone’s social media profile? Certainly not vacation pics or toddlers’ antics. Rather, employers typically look at social media profiles to shed light on several key nuances:
● The potential hire does, in fact, have a social media presence. Nearly 50% of employers report that they are less likely to hire someone who does not have a social media presence.
● The candidate does not post inappropriate content. For employers, this includes anything that is lewd, has to do with drugs or alcohol, discriminatory comments against any group of people, and information (good or bad) about previous employers. But this list isn’t exhaustive.
● The candidate’s qualifications. Employers can easily look at a candidate’s social media profile and see their age, where they went to school, previous jobs, and more. Essentially, they can learn if the candidate was telling the truth.
No one is going to give you a bad reference. When you ask a prospect what their greatest weakness is, no one will say they are a poor manager and can’t be trusted with sensitive information. Interfor frequently hears of cases in which upon the announcement of a new executive hire, numerous previous counterparts in their industry come out of the woodworks recounting the horrible experiences they’ve had with this individual and the damage they caused to a previous employer, and exclaiming “had you just asked me first I would have warned you!”
Making discreet inquiries in and around a prospect’s professional circles is a good way to get a lay of the land. There are many artful ways of getting to this information (ask us about it sometime).
Interviews still count
While vetting is important, interviews count. If criminal background and social media checks and background verifications come back clean, you still need to make sure the candidate will fit in with your team. That can only be done through a face-to-face interview.
Additionally, the candidate’s technical skills must be assessed. It is great to find someone with no criminal background and the right degree, but if the skills don’t add up, there’s nothing to talk about.
Vetting employees saves time and money
Is vetting worth all the effort? The answer is a resounding yes. Vetting saves employers time and money and a lot of disappointment. Here’s how:
Without proper vetting, you are likely to hire someone who is not right for the job. When qualifications turn out to be fake or they did not fit with the team, firing a relatively new employee has wasted a lot of time, effort, and money. When hires are properly vetted, there is a higher likelihood they will be kept on.
Not all job candidates need to be vetted – only the serious ones. Sifting through a pile of resumes and social media profiles will likely yield five at most, not requiring a huge investment to vet.
Keep it legal
Vetting potential employees is an important aspect of any hiring process. While companies can reap the benefits of vetting, it is important to ensure nothing illegal is being done. For example, all potential hires must go through the same vetting process. Additionally, employers must be compliant with federal and state regulations, which include not discriminating based on race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information. Vetting is important, but only with non-discriminatory policies.
Interfor’s case files are replete with stories of clients dealing with the fallout from the implosion of a hire which could have been avoided with proper vetting. We always recommend looking at other people’s mistakes when it comes to inviting someone into your work family. You can avoid becoming a cautionary tale by taking a few extra steps just to be safe. It’s worth the investment.
For additional resources and guidance, the Interfor team is here to help.