The Warm Body Syndrome, part one


How many times over the years have you allowed yourself and your company to hire someone because they had a pulse and were breathing?

Certainly most would agree that recruiting and interviewing potential employees is both a time-consuming and exhausting process that, at the end of the day, can be very frustrating. Regardless of this perception, a critical step in the hiring process to provide a safe environment for your employees and customers, and to protect your company’s interests, is the use of complete and effective background checks.

Why conduct background checks

We have all heard and said many times, “Never judge a book by its cover.” In the hiring process, this statement is absolutely correct. When it comes to selecting the best and most qualitied individuals to work for your business, not only does it make sense to conduct a thorough and complete background check, but in many states, it can help you defend yourself against a negligent hiring/retention litigation claim.

When it comes to hiring, what you don’t know or fail to uncover can impact you and your business significantly. Today we find that individuals are more apt to embellish or hide certain aspects of their histories in order to appear more worthy for a particular position for which they are interviewing.

In my own experience interviewing for over twenty years, I’ve found countless examples of potential candidates who provided false information regarding education, actual work experience and many other important areas of concern.

In one situation, I was told by the individual that he had “two years of landscaping experience with the State of Ohio.” I was later able to determine that his landscaping experience actually took place while serving time in one of the state prisons. In another situation, I had an individual claim to possess a four-year degree in engineering, but the background check did not verify his education. Upon further questioning, the candidate indicated that he had indeed graduated but still “owed fees,” so the university would not give him his diploma — an obvious lie.

In recent research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 50 percent of all resumes and applications received by potential employers contained some type of false information. Given the high incidence rates of employee theft, workplace violence, illegal drug use and unsafe acts committed each and every day in the workplace, the question is: Can your business afford not to engage in properly conducted, extensive background checks for each and every person hired, regardless of the position?

Benefits of background checks

As an employer, you have a responsibility to all of your current and future employees, customers and stakeholders to provide the best possible service. Conducting background checks is an effective way to accomplish at least part of this goal. Since the screening and hiring process is not and never will be an exact science, we must do everything we can to research and ensure that only the best and most qualified individuals are selected.

The best means of achieving this goal is to partner with a reputable and established company for background screening. In the second half of this article, I’ll explain why this is an important step for companies looking to hire new employees.

Also in part two of this article, I’ll cover the legal aspects of background checks — which government agencies you need to comply with and why it’s important to do so — as well as best practices for performing these essential investigations into potential employees and how to go about them.

Click here for part two.


Scott Tackett joined Violand Management Associates (VMA) with a 32-year background in manufacturing, human resource management and organizational leadership. He is currently a business development advisor for VMA where he works closely with business owners and their key management staff as both a business consultant and an executive coach. To learn more about VMA’s services and programs visit or call (330)966-0700.

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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