What hap­pens if you hire the wrong can­di­date?

Steve Girdler ex­plores the im­por­tance of screen­ing po­ten­tial job can­di­dates and why both prof­its and rep­u­ta­tion are at stake

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

Steve Girdler


88.52 per cent of the UAE's pop­u­la­tion, com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly look­ing at screen­ing po­ten­tial can­di­dates as part of their risk mit­i­ga­tion pol­icy, al­low­ing them to make smarter and more in­formed hir­ing de­ci­sions.

This is due to the re­al­i­sa­tion that they might be risk­ing their rep­u­ta­tion and prof­itabil­ity by not be­ing more thor­ough in their due dili­gence pro­cesses, and they are now look­ing to ad­dress a lack of past screen­ing.

In­ter­nal threats are no dif­fer­ent from ex­ter­nal threats such as com­puter hack­ers, and dis­hon­est ac­tions like theft or de­cep­tion can have se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions for or­gan­i­sa­tions. Iden­ti­fy­ing and mit­i­gat­ing these risks can be a tricky process, es­pe­cially in highly reg­u­lated mar­kets such as fi­nan­cial ser­vices, but it is im­por­tant to meet these reg­u­la­tory stan­dards, be legally com­pli­ant, and de­liver con­sis­tent re­sults.


In March, I mod­er­ated a round­table in Dubai with some key mar­ket play­ers shar­ing their views on cur­rent em­ploy­ment reg­u­la­tions – al­ways a top con­cern for com­pa­nies. This in­cluded in-depth dis­cus­sions about the cer­tifi­cate of good con­duct, which was in­tro­duced in Fe­bru­ary 2018, but has since been placed on hold by the gov­ern­ment.

The UAE is an at­trac­tive place for peo­ple from all over the world to live and work, but this does of­fer chal­lenges for com­pa­nies here when they are look­ing to ver­ify back­ground in­for­ma­tion, as all coun­tries have dif­fer­ent rules and reg­u­la­tions. The UAE is recog­nis­ing this chal­lenge and help­ing busi­ness to nav­i­gate this field.

One of the ques­tions that arose dur­ing the dis­cus­sion was re­gard­ing the things that com­pa­nies should con­sider in­clud­ing in their screen­ing poli­cies that will keep them cov­ered from dis­putes. As a best prac­tice, these should in­clude: The rea­sons they are con­duct­ing the check, who needs to be checked, what they are be­ing checked for, the rel­e­vancy of each check on the can­di­date's abil­ity to per­form, and what the law re­quires or pro­hibits.

The screen­ing process

Stan­dard back­ground checks in­clude iden­tity, crim­i­nal checks, em­ploy­ment his­tory and ed­u­ca­tion back­ground. How com­pa­nies pro­ceed with fur­ther checks will vary be­cause dif­fer­ent roles re­quire dif­fer­ent checks. Though some­times pro­hib­ited by cer­tain laws, some back­ground screen­ings also re­quire a check of a can­di­date's fi­nan­cial in­tegrity.

Em­ploy­ers may find it help­ful to cre­ate a hir­ing ma­trix that out­lines when it is ac­cept­able to hire and when it is not, based on the na­ture of the role and the in­for­ma­tion re­turned from a back­ground check. But keep in mind that it's not just what to screen that is im­por­tant, it's also when to screen.

In ad­di­tion to the ini­tial pre-em­ploy­ment screen, com­pa­nies may want to con­sider per­form­ing re-checks for em­ploy­ees who change roles or re­ceive pro­mo­tions. Times change, con­di­tions change, and peo­ple change. And with­out oc­ca­sional or reg­u­larly sched­uled fol­low-up back­ground checks of per­son­nel, prob­lems may arise that could se­ri­ously im­pact your busi­ness.

Cost of a bad hire

The cost of a bad hire is too high to ig­nore. In ad­di­tion to the time and ef­fort in­vested in hir­ing, there are other se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions of mak­ing a bad hire in busi­ness.

If a can­di­date's CV is not ac­cu­rate, they may not have the skills re­quired or be ef­fi­cient enough to do the job that you've hired them for. This will have an im­pact on pro­duc­tiv­ity, as other staff will have to carry the bur­den. This might strain the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the man­age­ment and staff, which is linked to the sec­ond prob­lem, the cul­tural im­bal­ance. Hav­ing cracks in the cul­ture sim­ply be­cause other mem­bers are in­ca­pable of pulling their weight can im­pact the whole work­force.

The third risk is rep­u­ta­tion. Bad hires, es­pe­cially those who are client-fac­ing, can dam­age re­la­tion­ships if cus­tomers are not treated well. And we all know that re­la­tion­ships are not easy to re­build once trust is bro­ken. Com­pa­nies have to en­sure that em­ploy­ees rep­re­sent­ing their busi­ness can en­hance its rep­u­ta­tion and prof­itabil­ity, not harm it.

The fi­nal cost of a bad hire is fi­nan­cial. A re­port from the Re­cruit­ment and Em­ploy­ment Con­fed­er­a­tion (REC) re­veals that while 33 per cent of em­ploy­ers be­lieve a hir­ing mis­take costs their busi­ness noth­ing, in re­al­ity a mid-man­ager with an an­nual salary of Dhs213,734 ($58,000) can cost a busi­ness more than Dhs671,735 ($183,000). The costs in­volved in­clude train­ing, lost pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­creased staff turnover.

With the cost of hir­ing and de­vel­op­ing new em­ploy­ees con­tin­u­ing to rise, it is more im­por­tant than ever to avoid wast­ing time, money, and ef­fort. Do your due dili­gence, screen pro­por­tion­ately to the role and al­ways use rep­utable sources for your back­ground screen­ing.

Steve Girdler Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor – EMEA at HireRight

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