Why Screen? This is a question that we as screening professionals used to have to answer on each and every sales call. Fast forward to 2006 and I can’t remember the last time I had this conversation with a prospective customer. We know that there are people out there still asking the question, but because there are so many that are not, many of us have chosen to focus on those that know they need to conduct background checks on their applicants.
The article How to Hire Better for Less in the trade publication Convenience Store Decisions makes a great real world case for those still on the fence about screening or those that do not believe it can produce results.
Whether you are a believer in the impact pre-employment screening can have on your hiring process or not, this article is worth a quick read.
The good news is that after one year of virtual inactivity criminal courts in New Orleans have finally started hearing cases. The bad news is that the court’s backlog of cases has swelled from 3,500 case pre-Katrina to over 6,000 cases. It is going to take some time, but progress is good for the city of New Orleans, it court system and for employers who conduct background checks and the applicants they screen.
The benefits for city and its courts are obvious, but here are the not so obvious benefits of the courts reopening. Imagine if you were an employer, screening an applicant with a pending criminal record in Orleans Parrish in September of 2005. Do you know that to this day, there still wouldn’t be a decision in that case? Say that pending case was serious in nature and if a conviction resulted would adversely affect an employer’s hiring decision. The employer has a few choices. They can hire the applicant knowing that this case could result in a conviction. This has the potential to compromise the employer in several ways. First, what if the case ultimately ends with a conviction and results in a jail sentence? The employer now invested time and money into that employee and very well might lose them to the prison system. Maybe the conviction doesn’t result in jail time, but due to the nature of the offense, the employee is no longer eligible for employment. The same scenario repeats. In the event that the employer withheld an offer based on the outcome of the case, chances are that the applicant would be long gone by now and an otherwise perfect candidate will have been lost. Under this scenario, the applicant might be unfairly affected as well. Let’s assume that the pending case does not result in a conviction and the charges made them unemployable until cleared. This person would have been denied employment for nearly a year even if the case was heard and dispensed of today.
The fact of the matter is that Hurricane Katrina caused massive devastation to an entire city and one year later we are still seeing the ripple affects it has caused. We look forward to many more positive developments out of this region in the weeks and months to come.