Take a Lackadaisical Approach – Screening Potential Employees

by Joe Killinger
CEO, theRRD.com

If someone refers a friend or it is a friend of a friend you can sometimes be tempted to let an individual slide by without a complete background check, or to overlook a certain aspect of an applicant’s background due to your “personal relationship or gut feeling” that they are a good person or due to pressure to onboard a new employee more quickly. But this is exactly the type of practice that gets employers in trouble. Apply your background screening policy consistency. For example, for individuals applying to the same position, make sure you use the same type of background check on everyone and that you use the same criteria across the board when evaluating the results. Be thorough, be consistent and treat any and every one exactly the same.

When considering bringing a friend on-board, ask yourself: If your friend weren’t your friend, would you think he or she was the absolute best candidate for the job? Doubt means don’t (even minuscule amounts of it). If you have a millimeter of doubt, don’t hire them. It doesn’t matter that if they will “have your back.” If they don’t have the skills, talent, ambition, and availability to deliver, they will be holding you back.

Even with someone you know you should not skip the reference check, reference calls can be hard because some people don’t reveal the candidate’s weaknesses so try asking them like this – everyone has areas of strength and areas that could use improvement, and we truly believe that the candidate is exceptional. What do you think are some areas they can improve in?’

You shouldn’t offer someone the job on the spot or even after one interview, as tempting as it may be to hire the first qualified candidate you meet and get them started, interviewing other candidates will give you a more well-rounded sense of what’s out there. When looking at candidates think about your future growth goals and where the company is headed, your team members need to share your vision and should want to work toward those objectives.

I don’t want to scare anyone away from hiring a friend or referral from a friend, I just ask that if you do chose to interview and hire them that you consider all of the above as you go through your processes. A quality referral from a friend or even a friend can sometimes be a great hire!

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