5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Criminal Records

Nick Fishman

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The scenario may seem familiar, whether through a real life experience or something you saw on TV. You interview a candidate and it appears as if they would be perfect for a position with your company. But then, it’s revealed through their admission or a criminal background check that they had a past run-in with the law. In every other way, the interviewee absolutely shines and would be a credit to your organization. You might be tempted to brush the information aside and hire him or her anyway. However, there are several precautions you must consider when your candidate has a criminal record.

1. You need to protect your entire workforce.

Certain offenses, especially those involving violent acts, can affect the safety of your company’s personnel, so it’s wise to look carefully at criminal records. It’s not always the case that they will repeat violent behavior, but previous behavior could result in the person potentially causing harm to other employees.

2. An employee’s criminal background can have an impact on your customers.

Your business relies on customers to be successful, whether your company provides a product, a service, or both. Certain positions that require an employee to be in contact with your customers shouldn’t be filled by someone with a criminal background. Anyone who has been convicted of a crime involving violence, financial activity, or dishonesty might not be a great candidate for these customer-focused positions.

3. A criminal background check is essential to safeguarding your business.

In the event that an employee with a criminal background engages in illegal activity while on the job, there is direct damage in the form of injuries or financial harm. However, you also open your company to lawsuits because you hired the candidate with knowledge of his or her past.

4. History of criminal convictions reveals the character of the candidate.

Criminal records can be an indication of the personality and temperament of the person you’re considering. In some cases, the candidate’s past shows that he or she has no respect for authority or following rules. The employee may not resort to criminal behavior while on the job, affect the safety of your workforce or interfere with customer relationships; however, the person may be insubordinate, insolent or disrespectful. These character traits are signs that this particular job seeker isn’t the right fit for your company.

5. Not all criminal records should disqualify a candidate.

It’s certainly important to look into a candidate’s criminal past as part of the hiring process, but more importantly, remember that finding a criminal past doesn’t mean you should immediately disqualify your candidate. In particular, you must have the appropriate procedures in place to ensure your screening program is in compliance with state and federal laws.  Download our white paper, Keep It Legal: 5 Steps to Compliance When Your Candidate Has a Criminal Record, to learn more.

At the end of the day, your candidate might be a great fit for a position with your company, but it’s essential to take every candidate’s situation on a case-by-case basis.



Criminal Background Checks

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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