“Dear Megastar” is a feature in our Megastar Monthly Newsletter. Do you have an HR question? Submit it here and get a response from one of our HR experts. You may even see it (anonymously) featured in our next newsletter! The following response comes from the bright mind of our Head of Talent Acquisition, Tegan Nardone.

Why does my HR team have so many hoops my candidates have to jump through before I can hire them?

This is a question I have often heard from candidates and hiring managers during my career in talent acquisition. The proper and professional response it that it is an employer’s duty to complete all pertinent due diligence before hiring a new employee. The short and fast answer is so we hopefully don’t get sued. Let’s dive a little deeper into the implications of skipping due diligence in the hiring process.

Why do many employers still require a full application to be completed even when most of the information is on a candidate’s resume?

Research conducted by ResumeLab discovered 36% of candidates lie on their resumes. By having candidates complete a full application, hiring teams can identify discrepancies in the information presented on the resume and application. While other candidates may not directly lie, some will leave off dates of employment or list a degree without a completion date, implying they graduated even if they didn’t. By forcing candidates to click those extra boxes in the application confirming graduation and dates of employment, employers can gather a more consistent picture of candidate qualifications for comparison. Because it’s understandably tedious for candidates, some companies have found a compromise by allowing candidates to complete a quick version of their application initially and the full application if they are moved forward to certain steps of the hiring process, streamlining the early stages while maintaining appropriate due diligence at the later stages.

While state laws vary regarding what is considered reasonable due diligence during the hiring process, across the board, employers are expected to know everything they “should have known” before making a hiring decision. During the creation stage of any talent acquisition strategy, a hiring team must identify the level of risk associated with the position. Will they have access to sensitive information? Will they work in a close physical proximity to others? A nurse who provides care in a patient’s home has a greater level of risk than a customer support agent working from home and may therefore require additional due diligence before making a hiring decision.

What is considered due diligence?

It varies depending on the level of risk and opportunity for abuse associated with the position, but it usually starts with a criminal background check. Some states have a “ban the box” law that impacts how and when an employer can use a background check to make a hiring decision. This law aims to prevent discrimination as defined by the EEOC, but most companies will still benefit from using this report.

In addition to a criminal background check, employers can utilize reference checks, employment verification, seek explanations for gaps in employment, drug testing, depending on your state laws and the nature of the position. In essence, the greater the risk of injury, the greater the burden on employers to complete due diligence.

What happens when a company is found negligent in their hiring process?

To be considered negligent, a few things have to happen. The company in question must have skipped reasonable due diligence during their hiring process and their negligence must be tied directly to the injury, financial, emotional, or otherwise harmful circumstances experienced by the victim. Beyond legal implications, employers risk damage to their reputation and a loss of trust with their employees and the customers/clients they serve. We’ve included a summary of notable negligent hiring cases below.

Average Settlement: Approximately one million dollars with 79% of employers losing negligent hiring claims

Settlement: $235,000 for a nursing home that did not verify licensure or complete a background check on a nurse who assaulted a visitor (Deerings West Nursing Center v. Scott)

Settlement: $2.5 million for an intoxicated security guard who was involved in an on-duty traffic accident in the company car, resulting in the death of another motorist (Butler v. Hertz Corp)

Settlement: $54 million for the negligent hiring and retention of a trucker with several violations on his driving record and subsequently was involved in a motor vehicle accident while working (Denton v Universal Am-Can)

About the Author

Tegan Nardone, Head of Talent Acquisition, is driven by her mission to help organizations grow and individuals succeed by partnering top talent with the vision, values, and objectives of the companies we serve. As a lifelong learner, Tegan is always looking for opportunities to grow personally and professionally. This has led her to complete her SHRM-CP, HR Management Certification, and Employment Law micro certification from the University of Utah, to name a few.

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