Employee background checks: worth the expense? | VailDaily.com

Employee background checks: worth the expense?

Kimberly NicolettiVail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBackground checks will be as common as a resume in the new era of hiring practices in the High Country.

Black Diamond Video in Breckenridge is highly considering doing background checks after a couple of incidents in which the company has lost money due to employees stealing.Weve had enough (problems) that its probably worth $25 for the checks, said store owner Kim Duffy.But many Summit County companies dont feel a criminal background check is worth the $25 one Breckenridge-based company, Ekeholm and Associates LLC, charges. Owner Kirsti Ekeholm hears businesses decline her services due to high turnover or cost, she said. Its always a shock to me because its the people who come here who can put a business under with theft and embezzlement, Ekeholm said in a phone interview, adding that criminal records can reveal a pattern of stealing, and looking at only a Colorado record doesnt show the whole picture because many people have out-of-state records.Instead, a lot of business owners choose to take their chances.There seems to be an aura of trust in the Summit businesses and many feel (background checks) are not necessary due to high turnover and (expense), Ekeholm said in an e-mail. Until they are burned by internal theft/embezzlement.Background checks range from a simple criminal history, which Ekeholm said is essential, to driving records, credit reports and federal criminal-records checks. She believes such measures reduce turnover because employers hire good candidates from the beginning. She also thinks that letting applicants know that a company does background checks automatically increases the quality of people who come knocking at the door. Because background checks can reduce turnover, they also can save companies money in terms of hiring and training expenses.According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $50 billion is lost annually to theft and fraud, and 30 percent of business failure is due to internal employee theft and fraud. Other current statistics indicate that 7 percent of all applicants had a criminal record in the past seven years, 15 percent of employment verifications uncovered discrepancies, 32 percent of driving records had violations or convictions and 49 percent of credit reports showed a judgement, lien or bankruptcy, or an account that was reported to a collection agency, according to Ekeholm and Associates Web site, http://www.screensafecheck.com.Every employer has an obligation to do a due diligence background check, Ekeholm said. Would you just readily leave your door open for someone to come in? The cost (of a background check) is far less than the potential cost of a bad hire.

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