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Because so many people misrepresent their background and credentials, it is important to do at least a little checking to see if what the applicant says about his or her background is true. A lot of employers don't do any checking, and they often regret that decision. The applicant may be unqualified for the job, or may have some personality trait or past experience that causes problems for you later.
Avoiding negligent hiring claims. Moreover, if your applicant will have contact with other employees or with customers, an important reason to do that checking is to avoid negligent hiring claims. If you have an employee who turns violent and harms either a customer or another employee, you could be slapped with a lawsuit if reference checking would have kept you from hiring that person.
If you have employees who have or will have significant contact with the public, customers, patients, or children, you'll want to be particularly careful about doing a thorough background check, including a check of criminal records to the extent permitted by law.
Guidelines. For more information on how to do a proper background check, consider the following:
- general guidelines for reference checks
- employment references
- personal references
- education records
- credit reports
- driving records
- criminal records
- documenting the reference check