Hire then fire: Who’s slipping through your background checking net?

A couple of months ago I ranted I call BS on employer groups: Get
better rather than want things to be easier
 about the whining of Australian employer groups,
specifically the Ai Group   and Australian Chamber of Industry
and Commerce  , and their respective calls to make it easier to fire workers.


I suggested that these
groups would be better off helping their respective members improve their own
recruitment, induction, training, performance accountability and overall
employee development.


Another recently released report has provided evidence
of another way in which Australian employers might reduce the likelihood that
they have to fire employees; through improving the background checking of
potential employees before an offer of employment is made.


The most recent data available from international
background checking company, First Advantage,  suggests
there is much to be gained in increasing the rigour of pre-employment checks.


The  First Advantage Background Screening   Employment Screening Trends Report 2015: Asia Pacific reveals the following:


  • Australia and New Zealand (26.94 percent) have consistently
    recorded the highest discrepancy rate across Asia Pacific  ,
    followed by Singapore (18.88 percent) and Hong Kong (16.38 percent).  
    Comment:  As the report states, this fact is mostly due to employers in
    Australia and New Zealand conducting, on average, a higher number of
    checks, compared to their  counterparts in other Asia Pacific
  • Discrepancy
    related to employment history continues to be the highest  at 54 percent in 2014. This is
    followed by education discrepancies at 21 percent.  
    Comment  : The incentive for any candidate to fudge their employment
    history is most likely due to the fact that this area has the greatest
    impact of any part of a candidate’s resume, in terms of likelihood of
    being contacted for an interview. The type of person who feels little or
    no compunction to provide a resume that is both complete and accurate will
    also, most likely, be the type of person who can ‘talk a good game’ in the
    interview and consequently win over interviewers with their engaging
    communication skills and stylish presentation.
  • Asia Pacific employers conducting 6
    Checks and above are 12 times more likely to uncover a discrepancy as
    compared to those who conduct 2 Checks.  Specifically the research revealed that 31% of the time a
    discrepancy was revealed when at least 6 checks were undertaken on a
    potential employee, compared to 12% of the time when 3 – 5 checks were
    undertaken and just under 4% when only one or two checks were undertaken
    on a potential employee.  
    Comment:   The type of candidate that will provide a resume that is
    either incomplete or inaccurate (or both) is counting on the fact that
    most employers will only do a basic amount of background checking. As a
    result the candidate will be able to do the necessary covering-of-tracks,
    fudging or obfuscation to get through one or two background checks. When
    six or more checks are completed the cracks in the back-story will most
    likely be revealed. (This is the same tactic detectives use to crack an
    accused’s alibi – keep asking the person to repeat their alibi and, if
    it’s a lie, the difficulty of remembering a made up story will soon lead
    to contradictions and holes in the narrative.)
  • Employers are increasing the number of checks for their
    candidates   with 67 percent of all cases subjected to at least five
    checks in 2014, compared to 42 per cent percent in 2013.  
    Comment:  As the costs of a poor
    hire are becoming increasingly clearer (and larger) employers are waking
    up to the fact that the costs of background checking are, in fact, a very
    prudent and cost-effective insurance policy when making hiring decisions.

The nature of skill and cultural-fit assessment, in
terms of whether a candidate will succeed or not in a role with your company,
will never be 100 percent accurate, no matter what technology or human elements
you use in your hiring process.


However, what you can be 99 percent sure about, is
that the candidate is who he or she says they are, because in-depth (ie six or
more checks) background checks have been completed by a person(s) skilled to do


What changes to your background checking process would
lead to a much higher hiring success rate (even if you made no other changes to
your recruitment process)?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.