What happens when a candidate gets too far in the hiring process before a criminal history surfaces?
In the age of the internet, criminal history becomes common knowledge quickly. When you’re hiring an employee for a front- or client-facing position, conducting employee background checks gives you the peace of mind that something defamatory won’t surface later on.
As business consultants and COOs, we do see this problem come up. Our answer to the problem, though, can often reveal underlying roadblocks in the business that were going to stop it from growing. Take the following situation as an example.
What Happened Without Employee Background Checks?
A business was looking to fill a client-facing role in their business. They had their systems in place to find a person who met all the qualifications and would mesh with their culture. Unfortunately, they did not conduct pre-employment screening or background checks.
One candidate went through four interviews with different team members. He met all the criteria and seemed to meld with the team. The hiring organization had initiated the onboarding process when a routine Google search revealed troubling information about the candidate. He had committed a crime that had very negative connotations and would not reflect well on the company.
When approached, the candidate revealed what had happened. He had a valid story that did not justify the crime but showed he had advanced his life over the last several years. He had consulted with his lawyer and therapist and decided to not bring the problem up until asked about it.
This resulted in a highly emotionally charged situation for the hiring organization. The team member who had discovered the information was mortified and sick over it. They were concerned about their reputation on the team. Beyond that, they were aware this was a client-facing role. Their business worked with people in industries affected by the crime the candidate committed. It could very easily become a big problem.
What Was The Ultimate Problem?
To the hiring organization, the problem appeared to be the next step in the situation. The role that needed to be filled was a very front-facing role. Should they hire a person with a background that could reflect poorly on their business? What could be done legally? How should they approach the candidate about what happens next?
But we see a deeper concern in this scenario. A candidate should not get to the onboarding stage with such a major gaffe in their record. Something in the hiring process had fallen through. We would suggest re-examining the interview and hiring process to avoid future hardships and set the team up for success.
We also see another issue in this scenario: the anxiety of the team member who had found the problem. They had been so concerned about making a mistake that they were hardly able to function within the business. This tells us that there was not only a practical business issue that needed to be addressed, but an underlying culture problem.
How Would We Resolve The Problem?
We would suggest cordially confronting the new hire about their criminal history that came up in the employee background check. You can explain that this was a client facing role and their insurrection was in the public eye. The situation can be diffused through honest, straightforward, and kind communication.
From there, it is time to reevaluate their hiring process - specifically pre-employment screening. We would suggest constructing a hiring system that allows them to find a qualified team member who fits the criteria and culture with as few surprises as possible.
Lastly, we suggest working with the management team to take their culture from one of fear to growth. We can train them how to take an anxiety-ridden situation and find prosperity in it.
What Is The Ultimate Take Away?
In order to buy back our time, we need to hire new people and build systems that allow us to scale. We need to invest in teams that give us the opportunity to build a business without working 90 hours a week. In that process, however, mistakes and surprises will happen.
We can take steps to mitigate risks - and we should do so - but surprises will still come up. When these surprises come our way, what matters the most is how we respond. We can get angry, frustrated, and shut down, or we can learn from them and take away valuable lessons.
So take a look at the business you are building. Are you creating a culture that allows for problems and encourages growth? Are you establishing a culture of authenticity and honesty? Are you providing systems and processes to discuss problems and implement solutions? Are your employees terrified to make a mistake?
If a mistake or surprise in your business results in major anxiety and panic, growth will be very difficult.
Finding The Root Cause Of Your Growth Complications
It’s not always possible to see the root cause of culture and system problems. You can get so entrenched in your business - making it run, working on growth, trying to strategize - that you can’t see the true problems. What you might notice are the symptoms of the real issues. You might notice that you, as the CEO or founder, end up being overworked and burnt out. You could see cashflow hurt and profitability suffer. You might know that your team is unhappy.
But you can’t seem to figure out why. You just know that makes it impossible to scale.
That’s where a third-party and extra set of eyes comes in.
As business consultants and COOs, we help entrepreneurs to establish strategic systems that build the culture their business needs to grow and allows them to grow. We offer insight into why you are finding it so difficult to build a business and team that scales. We help you navigate and learn from the problems that arise, so they become stepping stones to success instead of a brick wall.
If you’d like to take the first step in finding the root cause of your stumbling blocks, schedule a hassle-free, no-obligation 30-minute discovery call. You can email us at email@example.com to schedule yours today. We’re here and ready to help your business grow!
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