13 May The Impact of Character and Integrity Screening
Over the last three newsletters, Via Integrity discussed the shortcoming and limitations of electronic background checks when determining a job candidate’s character. Bottom line, “clean” background checks leave us with a false sense of security. Background checks must be supplemented by a strong character and integrity interview prior to hiring talent. How employers ask questions and how they evaluate the candidates’ answers will ultimately determine if an employer will hire the right talent.
We understand that some may be skeptical that a character and integrity interview can elicit more information not found in electronic background checks. Prior to the launch of Via Integrity, we tested our assumptions to make sure our capabilities produced the insights and outcomes employers needed.
Via Integrity was founded after a horrific incident in which a male daycare employee in northern Virginia sexually assaulted two four-year-old girls. Media outlets reported that the male teacher had passed a background check. Having a child of my own in a Virginia daycare, I researched to find out what a daycare background check consisted of. I was absolutely horrified at what I discovered. Virginia daycare centers, like most other states, conduct a Virginia felony conviction check only. I could not believe it, think of the endless loopholes.
Via Integrity approached several Virginia daycare operators to screen their new employee candidates. In every candidate we screened, all had “clean” background checks through the Virginia State Police. We also conducted a Multi-State Criminal Database Search, which allegedly reports nationwide conviction information. Again, all of the candidates had a “clean” background check. Via Integrity also interviewed each candidate utilizing our proprietary Character and Integrity Interview capabilities. For every candidate that had a “clean” background check, over 75% admitted to involvement in serious, undetected criminal activities and derogatory behaviors. Such behaviors included involvement in felony narcotic trafficking, assault, theft, burglary, anger management counseling, drug use, and viewing child pornography just to name a few. Some of these undetected crimes occurred abroad and will never show up on a background record check even if they were caught and convicted. We were not surprised that we were able to elicit the amount of information we received; however, we were shocked to learn how little value electronic background checks offer knowing this is the primary resource most employers use when hiring talent. After all, online background checks are estimated to be only about 60% accurate.
Clearly our market findings validated that our Character and Integrity Assessment capabilities reveal tremendous insight on a candidate. In fact, multiple universities in the United States and abroad have conducted sophisticated quantitative research on integrity assessments and have concluded two key findings:
1. Integrity assessments do a good job of predicting overall job performance of a candidate; and
2. They substantially predict counterproductive behaviors.
With today’s societal issues, employers are very concerned with employee productivity and counterproductively. If you are the hiring manager or search consultant your job or business depends on putting the right people in the job. Only through diligence in applicant screening can you truly succeed.
Co-founder and Chief Integrity Officer