Background Checking

Do ‘temps’ need background checks?

In a CNBN series called HR Confidential that focuses on the most memorable workplace moments of HR professionals, one story highlights the risks of hiring temporary staff members without performing the background checks you would do for your full-time employees. The ‘temp’ will only be working there for a short time; so why bother with the usual process?

In three short weeks, three employees at a foreign banking company complained that their identities had been stolen. After the third complaint of identity theft from employees, the Senior HR Manager knew this couldn’t be a coincidence.

Investigators specialising in fraud were called in and returned one week later with the postmaster general and postal police officers, asking for the newly-hired temporary worker who had been placed through an agency.  The article explains that he was “in handcuffs in less than five minutes.” It became apparent that the temp who had been hired to work in the file room and given the task of ‘cleaning up’ and filing personal files was actually lifting social security numbers and stealing personal information!

This company learnt the hard way that their background checking policy needed to include temporary workers, especially those with access to personal information. Investigations that follow an incident such as fraud (or ID theft in this instance) can be costly, and sometimes these costs can outweigh the investment involved in background checking to minimising risks from the outset!

This article also makes the very valid point that incidents can be more likely to occur with temporary employees, as they are less invested in the company than full-time employees. It highlights how important it is to have a consistent approach to background checking that extends to any temporary or contract workers and how crucial it is to ensure any recruits who have come through a recruitment agency have also been screened – never assume!

You can read the original article here.

The information contained in this publication is the opinion of PeopleCheck Pty Ltd and does not form the basis of legal advice.

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