Dishonest Employees Will Ruin your Business

By: Robin McKay

You are about to make an employment offer to the candidate you have just interviewed - they interviewed well, they looked presentable, they appeared to be a really nice, honest person and they certainly have the credentials to do the job - but wait...What you see is not what you always get. For many, the appointment turns to custard six months down the track because what you've got, you didn't see when hiring!

Dishonest candidates are out there in droves - A recent survey of HR professionals highlighted that around 70% of all applicants had inaccuracies on their CVs or Application Form. What's even more frightening is that many hiring managers accept the contents of these documents as absolute gospel, especially if they have been re-formatted by a recruitment agency.

I like to use the tree analogy when explaining the selection process. The fruits on the tree represent the candidate's knowledge, skill and experience to do the job. This is the "can" factor - can they do the job. This is observable, coachable and trainable. What about the roots of the tree? These represent the personality, mental ability, attitudes, values and motives of the candidate. You cannot assess these from the CV or interview. These are innate characteristics that can best be assessed through a valid psychometric profile.

Most managers hire on knowledge and skill, but they nearly always terminate on personality, attitude and mental ability. Too many managers hire on gut instinct and fail to conduct a selection process in a structured, disciplined manner. It's usually a general chit-chat and you're hired!

A good, simple, structured, employee selection process involves:

Ø An application form

Ø A set of behavioural interview questions (based on the performance factors required for the job). With rating form.

Ø A validated inexpensive profiling tool to test personality/mental abilities/attitudes. Check out the 'solutions' menu on our website for suggestions

Ø A work sample test (based a task they will be required to perform)

Ø A diligent background check and referencing procedure.

I want to touch on attitudes here. This is usually the biggest headache for employers. Can you assess for attitude before you hire? The answer is yes!

A highly validated attitudes assessment like JobCLUES and an independent background check will go a long way to ensuring you hire an honest, hard working individual that won't rob you blind, show up to work drunk or punch somebody's lights out!

The Lisa Clement affair should be a lesson to all hiring managers. This was a classic example of a failure to check an individual's background. Clement defrauding her employer, the Social Development Ministry, of almost $2 million during the three years she was employed as a clerk. She lied on application forms, adding a middle name and falsifying her date of birth. It was later discovered she had criminal convictions for dishonesty offences between 1987 and 1992, and had also failed to disclose that she had been bankrupted twice.

If the proper background checks had been completed, Clement would have had to provide identification to prove she was who she claimed to be. Other recent cases where employers have got more than they bargained for include:

1) Canadian conman John Davy, hired by Maori Television Service. No reference checking procedure.

2) Convicted fraudster Annette Hema, employed by Thames-Coromandel District Council after a recommendation by an international recruitment agency. She used a false name, saying she had a Masters Degree in Computing, and did not reveal she had a fraud conviction.

3) Waitara woman Patsy Janette Hoskin, who stole $22,319 from her employer Waitara Super Liquor. JobCLUE Attitude test may have highlighted her propensity to steal.

There is only one time to do a background check or test for counter-productive behaviours on employees and that is at the front door, before you hire. Testing the "roots" of the tree has to be a condition of being given employment.

Once employed an employer has no right to delve into the past of an employee without their consent and even requesting this information could prompt a grievance case on the basis of lack of trust.

In simple terms Pre-employment screening is crime prevention at its best.

Background checking should not be confused with reference checking, although the latter is important. Background checking needs to done by an independent professional. A pre employment-screening specialist can undertake in-depth background investigations for any applicant consenting to this process.

Irrespective of the type of job, background checking can be tailored and priced to suit. A hundred dollars spent on the final candidate may save you thousands down the track, recent case studies can attest to that.

Don't just rely on an interview (particularly if it is unstructured!) and a CV. These will only show you the "fruits". It's very important to check out the "roots". It's the only way to ensure that the person you are about to hire has the personality, mental ability and right attitudes for the job.

A background check will also guarantee the person is fully trained, certified, experienced, law abiding, honest candidate.

To find out more about pre-screening employee for counter productive behaviours log on to www.assess.co.nz/pages/clues.htm

Human Resources
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