The downturn of the economy has created an increase in personal stress levels both at home and in the workplace. Employees are consistently being asked to do more with less and corporations large and small continue to turn to layoffs as a means to remain viable.

At the same time, the United States has continued to see an increase in workplace violence. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 564 work-related homicides occurred each year in the United States from 2004 to 2008. Now more than ever, employees want to feel safe and secure in the workplace — and free from fear of their coworkers.

Experts recommend using pre-employment screening as a workplace violence preventive measure, but many companies are still not committed. Companies cite delays in the hiring process — as well as the cost of screening — as the largest deterrents to pre-employment screening.

Pre-employment screening company, HireRight, estimates the typical cost of a comprehensive pre-screening packages ranging anywhere from $30 to $100. The length to complete the screen and provide the results to the employer can take as little as a day to up to week (or more).

Although the costs and delays may seem steep, the issues that arise from failure to pre-screen can be fatal. Here are four additional reasons pre-employment screening is a must:

1) Reduced potential for employee theft:

Candidates with criminal backgrounds are less likely to apply to organizations with rigorous pre-employment screening processes. Those who do apply with criminal backgrounds will be discovered up front by the employer, providing the opportunity to re-evaluate if the candidate’s fit with the job and the company.

2) Discourage fraud:

While only a small percentage of worker’s compensation claims are fraudulent, a much larger percentage (nearly 25 percent) are exaggerated. Worker’s Compensation records are public, thereby creating opportunities for potential to filter out potential fraudulent employees. Additionally, screening candidates allows an employer to ensure the validity of the information provided on the resume.

3) Reduce liability for negligent hiring:

Organizations that fail to conduct comprehensive pre-employment screening, thereby failing to protect their employees, can be subject to costly lawsuits. In 2007, a truck driver for a hazardous waste company in Texas caused an accident leading to a man’s death. A jury awarded the man’s estate more than 20 million dollars because the company failed to adequately check the employee’s driving record.

4) To comply with applicable state laws:

Many states have laws requiring employers in certain industries to complete pre-employment checks. Examples of industries may include: childcare facilities, healthcare organizations, transportation, and gaming.

What incidents can you think of where conducting a pre-employment screen may have prevented a case of fraud, violence, or theft?

For the jobseeker perspective, check out 7 Reasons Employers Will Hire You!

Author: Robert Petti is the Founder and CEO of Resoomay, a cloud-based pre-screening tool that improves the job search process for recruiters and applicants. Connect with him and Resoomay on Twitter.  

Image: Shutterstock

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