by Kim Kerr

Nearly all executives have a different opinion as to what keeps their organization in a leadership position, and these answers can range from innovative products and service to competitive pricing and advertising.

But the most important factor in the success of any organization is the people that show up to work everyday. These employees not only interact with key customers, media and executives, but also serve as the public face for the business.

Finding the right people to employ for any organization is usually one of the most frustrating and costliest elements of running a successful business. As the employment market continues to tighten, discontinuing background checks is a common response amongst employers who are not looking at the "big picture." When considering the expenses associated with recruiting, hiring and training-typically $7,000 to $10,000 per candidate-turnover becomes a bottom-line problem many organizations cannot afford to ignore. Simply stated, employee turnover will be reduced drastically if the proper screening is implemented at the beginning stages of the interview process.

Company executives and human resources professionals also have to address some employees who lie about their backgrounds during the interview process, which dilutes their level of trust. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, 34 percent of all job applications contain lies regarding experience, education and the ability to perform essential functions of the job, proving that a resume is only as good as the paper on which it is written.

Additionally, the latest statistics released by the U.S. Department of Commerce state that internal employee-related thefts occur fifteen times more often than external theft, and employee fraud costs companies more than $400 billion annually, proving the importance of hiring the right person for any business, regardless of size. It can be a frightening reality to think that one wrong hire could be so detrimental to a company, but it is even more frightening to know that this could have been prevented with one simple step-screening applicants prior to an offer being made. 

For years, employers have searched to find a fast, inexpensive and reliable way to verify a candidate's background and credentials during the interview process-especially during times of explosive market growth, when multiple employees need to be hired at once. In the past, businesses would spend days or weeks, and a great deal of money to try and determine a candidate's past employment and criminal history, but times have changed, and so has the process.

Today, it is even more important to get the right information at an affordable price. Speed and efficiency can make or break an important hire, meaning there is no time to waste on unqualified candidates or employees who misrepresent themselves during the interview process. Every employee that is excused following the initial probation period puts a strain on profit margins and could also pose as a threat to the overall reputation of the organization.

New technologies, such as online background screening, are increasingly being used to help employers identify and weed out undesirable candidates. These applications offer faster and more affordable background-check capabilities since they leverage breakthrough data management technologies and massive data repositories, containing billions of existing public records documents. Additionally, they offer employers a fast, cost-effective way to identify unacceptable job candidates before they spend valuable time and money.

Like any other acquisition or major transaction that a business would face, staffing is heavily reliant on innovative tools and resources that enable both speed and efficiency for increased profit margins and productivity. Today's online screening technologies not only help employers to be more confident with their hiring decisions, but also help to increase both profitability and image of the organization.


Construction Business Owner, January 2007