Monday, October 20, 2008

Pre-Screening: More Important Now Than Ever

The economy continues to stumble and the uncertainty and apprehension that exists on Wall Street has translated to uncertainty and apprehension on Main Street. There are number of news reports of the bankruptcy and failure of automobile dealerships (Bill Heard), home furnishing stores (Levitz, Domain, D&D, Breuners), apparel shops (Mervyns, Linens 'n Things, Steve & Barrys, The Bombay Co. Sharper Image), and the list goes on.

Companies large and small are tightening budgets, trimming costs, thinning payrolls, and all else to try to get their costs in line with smaller expected revenues. What does this mean for the world of pre-employment screening? Typically, it means that companies who understand the cost-benefit invest more in screening. They do not bring on board many new employees, but those new positions that need to be filled are more rigorously screened and well-vetted. The costs of making a bad hire are not lost on these companies.

Unfortunately, there are number of companies that do not yet grasp the full import of the cost-benefit of pre-screening. They see only a cost, and a controllable cost at that; and mistakenly choose to cut where they should not. Some will escape this poor choice because they'll not hire many or are unusually good at spotting the "keeper" candidate. Others, will get caught in the poor decision and bring on board a candidate that will not only disappoint but can cause some real nightmares (sexual harassment, workplace violence, employee theft, etc.).

These problem employees consume an inordinate amount of time, attention, and effort. Something that is ill-afforded in good times much less the uncertain times of today. So as companies seek for additional ways to keep costs down, don't fall into the penny-wise trap (and pound-foolish). Practice not only cost reduction, but more wisely, cost avoidance; by thoroughly pre-screening all of your candidates, because it is more important now than ever.

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