Red flags for new employees

There’s an interesting discussion going on at the EvilHR Lady Blog about “Red Flags” and hiring. It got me thinking about some basic things you should do when you receive an employment application that looks good enough for you to consider the person.

A “red flag” is any indicator that you may want to find out more. You may want to clarify an issue. You may want to get more information. You may want to ask about why your applicant did something.

Before the background check

Start with the basic documents. You should have an application and a copy of the applicant’s unaltered, government-issued photo ID. You may have a resume or other documents that the applicant has shared with you.

Gaps are red flags. Go over the application. Make sure everything is filled in. If it isn’t, find out why. If there are gaps in the employment history, get an explanation. Clarify reasons for leaving previous jobs.

Inconsistencies are red flags. This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often employers don’t check to make sure that the names and signatures are the same everywhere. Make sure the picture on the ID looks like the applicant.

If everything still looks good, it’s time for a background check. With a criminal check in hand, you can look for another set of red flags.

Using the pre-employment credit check

If the position involves access to cash or significant financial responsibility, a pre-employment credit report may be called for as well. Look for inconsistencies again. Start by comparing the information on the credit report against the information you already.

Check to see if the name and social security number on the report are the same as on the application and any other documents. Make sure job history and previous addresses match.

At this point you’ve verified important data on the application and you’ve clarified issues related to employment. What else should you look for?

Look for things you want to know more about before you hire this applicant. Look for things that strike you as odd or worrisome.

Here’s the bottom line. When you’re hiring, a red flag is anything that you don’t know enough about yet. They’re the starting point for interview questions. They will help you weed out the unfit and bad actors.

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