How to Keep Dishonest Employees Off Your Payroll

Re-published with permission from White-Collar Crime Fighter, www.wccfighter.com.

The fact that a person has been convicted of fraud does not mean that he or she will commit fraud in the future. Nor is a perfectly clean record any guarantee of future honesty.

The good news: There are warning signs in a job candidate's background which often indicate the probability of dishonest behavior. You can uncover these signs by:

Deciding in advance what elements in a candidate's background would rule out hiring him or her. You obviously need to make sure that none of your criteria break the law by discriminating on grounds of age, sex, religion, color, etc.

However, you are perfectly free to choose not to employ anyone who has served time in prison...takes drugs ...beats up his colleagues...has an IQ of 12...wears smelly socks or has a beard.

  • Requiring the candidate to produce evidence (such as educational diplomas) that corroborate positive attributes, remembering that failure to comply should normally result in rejection of the application.

  • Asking open-ended questions (rather than closed-ended "yes" or "no" questions) that probe for signs of the candidate's integrity. These might include asking a candidate to describe how he or she handled a sticky personnel situation involving theft, deception or fraud.

  • Performing a list of background checks-detailed on your application form. These should include (in order of importance)...

  1. Psychological testing. This is one of the most reliable and least expensive ways of measuring a candidate's positive and negative personality traits.

  2. Interviews by experienced human resources professionals and/or your security manager. Properly trained and experienced interviewers are unbeatable in terms of picking up tell-tale signs of candidates' dishonesty.

  3. Face-to-face interviews of references and contacts. This is a useful exercise as long as the interviewers are highly trained and the company is willing to invest the considerable time it takes to schedule, conduct and evaluate the interviews.

  4. Routine interviews by line managers or prospective co-workers. This is a standard procedure in many organizations. However, the interviews offer little value in terms of integrity screening, since the interviewers are not trained to screen for these characteristics.

VALUABLE RESOURCES FOR CHECKING ON JOB APPLICANTS' BACKGROUND INFORMATION...

  • Birth certificate: Provides name, place and date of birth...names and addresses of father and mother

  • Marriage certificate: Provides names, place and date of birth... name of spouse and any previous names.

  • Driver's license: Provides name, place and date of birth...addresses... convictions.

  • Education certificates: Name... schools attended and dates...qualifications obtained. Important: If you've never heard of a college or university, check to confirm that it really exists.

  • Previous employers: Employment dates...positions held, salary, reasons for termination, work responsibilities, copy of previous job application (to spot inconsistencies).

  • Bank: Financial condition.

  • Credit agencies: Credit standing and history...previous addresses.

White-Collar Crime Fighter source: Edmund J. Pankau, a nationally renowned author, CPP, CLI, DABFE (Diplomate, American Board Forensic Examiners), President of Pankau Consulting, a Houston-based international security consulting agency.

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