Employee screening: Finding and retaining the right employees

April 4, 2007 | by Valerie Killifer
**This is an excerpt from the FastCasual.com special report, Employee screening: Finding the right employees. 
People skills make the difference between a good business and a great business. Developing these skills will help improve your ability to source, hire, embrace and encourage the hiring and retention of the best employees for your business.
Because finding and retaining dependable employees is an industry struggle, employers now have to think outside of the box when it comes to hiring and retaining quality personnel.
Employee screening has been one answer to the problem: a way to weed through dishonest applicants and employees based on work history, past driving records, background checks and the like.
Those records can help reduce a restaurant operator's risk, minimized by the operator's knowing beforehand a potential employee's driving history and whether a candidate has a criminal record, said Stefanie Haggerty, sales and marketing manager for College Station, Texas-based iiX Employment Screening Services.  
These factors can further help the operator make hiring and placement decisions based on timely and accurate knowledge. In addition, if a restaurant advertises they have a pre-screening or screening process, it could discourage applicants who have something to hide. And since perspective-employee authorization is required for all reports, it could encourage a candidate's honesty during the interview process.
MVRs, SSN verifications and criminal records
Reports such as driver's records were initially used by pizzeria and deli operators that offered delivery services. Now, restaurant operators in many other food specialties are obtaining and maintaining employee-driver records on an annual basis.
Most MVRs have an instant turnaround time and generally return 3-5 years worth of a driver's history. Information includes speeding tickets and other driving violations, such as drunken driving or whether a person is driving with a suspended license.
Since 1984, iiX has provided of motor vehicle reports (MVRs), and more recently, criminal records, Social Security Number verifications and employment and education verification, to restaurant employers seeking quality help. iiX also offers a driver monitoring program that sends employers monthly e-mail notifications, another way employers can keep track of employee driving records.
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There is no sure-fire way employers can protect themselves from the occasional dishonest employment candidate, but they can operate with the most due diligence possible.
Social Security Number verification and background checks are two ways operators can uncover potential employee skeletons.
SSN verification reports give a person's state and residency history. They also give a history of where the person has lived and if the SSN the person provided is valid.
"There have been cases where customers have told us (residential) locations that differ from what has been put on the application," said Haggerty. "Chances are, if the employer looked up the Social Security Number it would have shown somebody else. Utilizing SSN verification gives the employer another screening tool that helps with weeding out dishonest employees."
Criminal background checks are a bit more detailed. They can incorporate state records, county records or both. Reports also can include information such as any felonies or misdemeanors a person has, and provide information such as prior sex offenses, or whether a person is a registered sex offender.
If you have pre-screened an employee, check their records again in another three, six, eight or 12 months, to ensure they are maintaining a level of honesty with you. And, keep them abreast of any changes in the organization so they can feel you are being honest with them.

Topics: Independent Operation , Operations Management , Service

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