Vincit Omnia Veritas—In Background Screening, Truth Conquers All
Seek truth. Speak truth.
Now more than ever, it’s critical for organizations to hire a partner who shares knowledge with transparency. A partner who shares expert advice in bad times and good. A partner who is truthful.
This can be very difficult for employers who find a solution advertised as faster and/or less expensive so appealing, due to their sense of urgency to fill vacancies and the demand by leadership to reduce cost. And why shouldn't employers believe claims of superiority made by another background screening firm—after all, the background screening industry cornerstone is truth.
Again, Caveat Emptor!
True Colors in a Trying Time
The COVID-19 pandemic may likely and hopefully be the worst crisis of our professional and personal lives, adding incredible amounts of stress and uncertainty to every facet of life. We are all human, and when under stress we do what we can to survive. It is instinctual.
Unfortunately, being altruistic and doing what is right is not always a basic instinct. I suppose the human condition was the impetus for this quote from lecturer Robert McKee: "True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure—the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature.”
Most companies are under an incredible amount of stress due to this crisis and as a result, so are their employees. This includes individuals working for background screening companies. Declines in revenue and the prospects for the future may appear grim for some, and that leads to stress. It is this level of stress that makes McKee's quote regarding character so poignant because many companies and their employees are in survival mode, which will ultimately reveal the “essential nature” of their character.
When evaluating the claim that screening firms are not experiencing any delays despite COVID-19 closures of many primary sources, how do you know for sure if you are being misled?
The easy answer is yes, you are being lied to. But equally as important is determining the “essential nature” of the firm’s character. Are you being misled intentionally or as a result of naiveté? In either scenario this is harmful to your organization.
Different Philosophies, Parallel Risks
Perhaps another question to ask is: Do you even care? In our experience, we have found two basic philosophies employers have toward background screening.
- Employers conduct background screening for its intended purpose and benefit: mitigate risk, create a safe workplace, maintain regulatory compliance, etc. These organizations value screening for its intended purpose, usually because their industry and regulation require it, like in the healthcare field. Subsequently, industry and regulation dictate their purpose for screening which ultimately shapes their philosophy on screening.
- Employers conduct background screening simply because it is a box to check. The benefits of screening under this philosophy lean more towards being unintended consequences.
I share the philosophy of the former, but go figure—I run a background screening company. However, I do understand Employer Two’s box-to-check philosophy. I too hate delays when hiring, and it drives me nuts when a criminal record search is delayed only to find out later the candidate is clear. To these employers, claims that are otherwise misleading or false may not even matter so long as the background screening company delivers on their claim: quick and cheap.
For Employer One, it should matter that claims being made are misleading or false, but by virtue of the facts that the cornerstone of screening is truth, and speed and price matter, these employers may still become victims to false promises from background screening companies.
And here is the thing: how would they ever know?
On average, 85 percent of county criminal record searches are clear unless that employee slips up or even worse, and you may not know until it’s too late.