Tale from the Trenches: On Background Checks

Beginning this year, Bolt Staffing started performing criminal background checks on all employees prior to placing them on long term assignments with our clients.  Until now, we’ve followed industry practice and performed checks on people placed in positions of trust such as accounting personnel, or when requested by our clients.
While that has proved adequate, we decided that these days the risk of a bad decision is just too high. As a result we’ve incorporated the policy into our standard operating procedures.  As with all procedures, there arise situations where judgment suggests maybe it’s not necessary.
One place this can arise is with a payroll service employee. In these situations our clients ask us to put a person they would like to have work for them on our payroll.  There are many reasons for clients to do this, and since the client makes the decision to invite the person to work for them, there’s an argument that says a background check by the staffing vendor is unnecessary in this case.
Last month we were faced with this  exact situation.  Our client had found someone on Craigslist and asked us to “payroll” her.  We sent a recruiter to the client’s office to meet the prospective employee.  In the course of the routine paperwork, the prospect mentioned she’d lost her wallet over the weekend and didn’t have any ID whatsoever.  (Warning bell number one chimes.)
Further into the process, we learn the only reference she has for a former employer is a cell  phone without voice mail. No one answered the phone.  (Bell two chimes.)
At this point our recruiter began to wonder if putting this person through a background check might alienate our client.  After all, the client thought enough of this woman to invite her aboard. Would they be insulted if we found something untoward?  Nonetheless there are more than enough warnings to demand it.
During the interview process, our recruiter mentioned that we do a criminal background check on all prospective employees as part of our hiring procedures.  By this time, the recruiter decided the need to follow procedure overruled any concern about hurt feelings. It amounted to choosing between exposing the client to loss and hurting some feelings.  Looking at it from the bench that’s not a big deal. Things are different on the field, however.
Our recruiter parted company with  “that feeling” that all was not quite right.  After all, the applicant had no ID and no references; all we knew about her was that the client found her on Craig’s List.
This was a problem that was about to fix itself.
Before the recruiter got back to the office, we got a call.  The prospective employee called and withdrew her application. She said she had “made a mistake” in the past that might show up on the background check.  What was the problem? Oh a small offense that resulted in her being charged with Grand Theft!
Ah the comfort of good procedures!  However the best procedures aren’t any help unless they are followed.  That’s where having the ownership of a staffing company on hand to make those judgment calls makes all the difference.
At Bolt Staffing, our owners are Morgan and Joanne Sanders.  They are both involved in managing the business on a daily basis.  They work with their loyal staff members and clients to create policies such as our new background checking procedures because they understand personally how important caution and care taken before a hire prevents huge regrets later on.
Before taking a chance with your company’s future, why not give us a call?


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