As a marketing professional, your business relies on influencing consumer behavior and providing high-level guidance to your clients. To maintain credibility, it’s imperative that you hire dedicated, honest employees with the right skills and credentials.
Employee background checks are vital for verifying important information about prospective team members and for maximizing your chances of success. Nearly 7 in 10 organizations consider the process so fundamental that they conduct criminal background checks on all their job candidates.
As you begin background screenings on employees and prospective employees for your marketing company, consider these 10 do’s and don’ts.
1. Do Create a Thorough Application
The first step in hiring valuable team members for your marketing organization is asking the right questions in your employment applications. You’ll want to get a signed release that allows you to conduct a thorough background screening, and ask for important information including date and place of birth, addresses over the past decade, educational background, military service and complete work history.
2. Do Speak to References
In the rush to bring on desperately needed new team members, some marketing organizations skip the important step of actually checking references. You can expect job candidates to list only those individuals who will provide a favorable review, so it can be helpful also to speak with previous employers and colleagues if possible.
3. Do Use a Fair Process
You want to be consistent with all applicants to avoid any discrimination accusations and to ensure a level playing field. While different categories of jobs in your marketing organization may necessitate different types and levels of background screenings, try to implement a uniform process for all applicants for the same position.
4. Do Consider the Big Picture
Rather than focusing on a specific, negative piece of information in an applicant’s past, consider the full array of available data, including criminal background, driving record, employment history, academic achievements, social media presence and others. By placing too much emphasis on one unfavorable metric, you could lose a great candidate.
5. Do Look for Behavioral Patterns
While you should not base a hiring decision on a candidate’s single positive or negative action, it does make sense to look at patterns of behavior over time. For instance, you might decide to overlook one charge of impaired driving, but multiple occurrences should give you pause.
6. Don’t Try to Search on Your Own
If you attempt to conduct background checks in-house, you likely will miss important information. Work with a professional background screening firm that can ensure your access to comprehensive, lawfully obtained data on your employment candidates.
7. Don’t Skirt Legal Requirements
The reputation and success of your marketing firm depend on your integrity; and background screenings are fraught with ways to run afoul of local, state and federal laws. An experienced background screening firm will ensure that you comply with all applicable regulations as you gather vital information about your candidates.
8. Don’t Avoid Communicating
In some cases, thorough background screenings will turn up unexpected — and potentially deal-breaking — information on top candidates. In such instances, make sure you communicate with the individual to ensure that the data is correct. You would not want to lose a good candidate over an error or misconception.
9. Don’t Ask About Convictions
Across the country, more than 150 counties and cities have enacted so-called “ban the box” rules, encouraging employers to consider the overall qualifications of a job candidate before looking at criminal history. Consider working with your background screening provider to interview and give equal consideration to all applicants before conducting criminal background checks.
10. Don’t Focus Exclusively on the Negative
Many marketing organizations use background screenings as a method for uncovering potentially negative information about job candidates. Why not flip that paradigm and use background checks to find the positives? Information on academic achievements, professional excellence and community service, for instance, might help you make a choice between two highly qualified candidates.
However you decide to use the information, background checks clearly provide a hiring advantage for marketing firms. By partnering with a provider of high-quality screenings, you arm yourself with the data you need for a strong team and a successful company.
Christian Moore is COO at Global Verification Network. He has more than 20 years of investigative and business experience with competencies including surveillance, competitive intelligence, pre-employment and course-of-employment background screening.