Great Article on Background Checks for Contractors
August 28, 2008
Those of you that follow our blog know that we have recently spent some time discussing who is responsible for conducting background checks on contracted employees. In fact, we thought it was such an important topic, we included it in our Top Background Screening Trends for 2009. Often times, organizations that hire contractors either forget to inquire about the contractor’s background screening procedures or they just assume that they do so and then further assume that they utilize the same screening criteria?.
Today, I found an interested blog post on The Vendor Management Office Blog which caters to procurement professionals. The post, Contractors Gone Bad, Who’s Responsible for Screening/Vetting?, authored by Steven R. Guth, Esq., addresses this very topic from the standpoint of a purchasing agent. See below.
At a prior employer, my procurement organization experienced a dramatic year-over-year increase in the number of staff aug contractors sourced. In just a couple of years, we went from sourcing around 10 or so staff aug types to almost 200 per year. Accordingly, we expanded our supplier base of professional services firms and implemented processes and automation to deal with the increased workload. However, as our requirement for staff aug contractors increased, we began to see a decrease in the “quality” of the contractors and an increase in problems with contracted staff.
In one case, we engaged what appeared to be a very talented contractor with a correspondingly stratospheric hourly rate, but who had an unusual quirk: he didn’t drive. We didn’t think too much about his quirk and things seemed to be going smoothly. Until he showed up on the job intoxicated. For the second time. The project manager in charge of the contractor tried to work through the first incident with the contractor, but then wisely decided to raise the second incident to my level. Needless to say, the contractor was gone that same day.
There were other situations where we discovered “flaws” in contractors after they came onsite, but nothing nearly as dramatic as the incident I described here. We didn’t seem to have this problem with professional services companies where the contracted staff were employees of those companies, but only with staff aug companies (what I coined as “people mills”).
The question that arose from this was: who had the responsibility for screening / vetting the contractors?