Relationships with your Personnel – Know Who You Are Dealing With

Posted by Malcolm Campbell on 22 June 2016
Relationships with your Personnel – Know Who You Are Dealing With

There are plenty of statistics out there that illustrate the substantial cost of recruiting and or replacing staff. The figures run anywhere from 50% to 150% of the relevant person’s annual salary.   There are also plenty of statistics which indicate that a very high percentage of people leave their job in the first 12 months of the role. So getting the recruitment process right pays, literally. It also goes without saying that the time, effort, costs and risks of terminating personnel are well known to business operators.

As we have set out in earlier articles, in order to protect your business, you need the right documentation in place when engaging personnel.  The cornerstone of those documents is of course the contract. However no matter how good your contracts and workplace policies are or how great your workplace culture may be there is no better protection (and investment) for your business than knowing who you are dealing with before you engage them.

Recruitment and Human Resource specialists will correctly tell you that it is important to ensure that much care is taken in properly describing the job that you are seeking to fill and  to ensure a good fit between the person and the workplace (and not just that their skills, qualifications and experience match up). However, knowing who you are dealing with is just as important at making sure the technical elements are met.

Statistics from across the board tend to indicate a very high level of misrepresentation or even fraud in the resumes submitted by people to prospective employers. A background screening company, First Advantage, compiled a report ‘2010 Background Screening Trends Australian Report’  from over 1300 background reports they undertook that year.  This followed up a similar report they had prepared in 2004. Over a quarter  of reports (28%) highlighted an area of concern for the prospective employer, up from 21% in their 2004 report. They also reported misrepresentations relating to Employment History and Educational Qualifications had doubled in the six years since their last report. The highest number of alerts were reported for Employment History (72%), followed by Employment References (54%) and Educational Qualifications (34%).

However, the report also showed that employers conducting a total of six background check components per applicant were twelve times more likely to uncover an area of concern (86%) compared to Employers conducting only one background check per applicant (7%).

The key message out of all of this is know who you are dealing with before you invite them into your business. Don’t rely on their resume or their referees alone. In this day and age there are a range of formal  and informal background checks that can be conducted. Google is a great source of information that can often turn up the most interesting of facts about almost anyone.

Further, a simple check of any online or social media profiles maintained by the person should give you a very good idea of they type of person you are dealing with. A quick cross check between the resume they gave you and their employment history on LinkedIn may show any obvious discrepancies. Whilst people may be prepared to fluff a resume submitted privately, it’s far less likely they will make false statements about their career on a public forum like LinkedIn where their colleagues and former colleagues can easily call them out.

Then there is the option of using a third party service provider who specialise in undertaking background checks. As a part of the application process you can ask candidates to complete a consent form for the check to be performed. You can limit performing the check to the short list of candidates to save costs – the information you get back will often surprise you.  Professional background checking providers have the skills and connections to retrieve a vast array of information that you have neither the time, resources nor knowledge to readily access.

Weeding out candidates with suspect background search results will often save you the extraordinary time, effort and expense of recruiting the wrong person, not to mention the risk and headache of moving them on shortly thereafter if its discovered that they aren’t up to the task.

It is essential that businesses have a clear personnel engagement strategy in place – one which in our opinion, should include a comprehensive background checking process.

We specialise in providing clarity and confidence to business operators in their legal relationships with their personnel. If you are experiencing a high turnover of staff or difficulty in finding and retaining the right personnel for your business you may benefit from undertaking our Legal Relationship Review and Strategy session.