HR & Management

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Two-thirds of new staff starting work without reference checks

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Human resource (HR) departments are calling for a clearer way of deciphering which possible new hires may be harbouring ulterior motives.

Research compiled by due diligence company HireRight finds that two thirds of new employees begin working before reference checks have been conducted. Furthermore, 39 per cent of survey respondees believe this to be “normal practice” in their industries.

However, references are found to be an “administrative burden” for HR departments, with 31 per cent weighed down by queries regarding references and 27 per cent complaining to management about how long is spent on the process.

Steve Girdler, managing director for EMEA at HireRight, states that references are key to revealing important details regarding an individual’s history.

“By failing to carry out due diligence before people start work, companies risk hiring someone who is unable to fulfil the duties of the role, commits fraud or theft, or damages customer relationships,” Girdler said.

“A great deal of damage can be done between the moment an employee starts a new company and when referencing requests are completed.”

The HireRight survey, which saw 140 senior HR leaders interviewed, also shows that 34 per cent of HR departments’ time is spent on administrative tasks – meaning two hours and 12 minutes of every day is spent on “low value work”.

HireRight added that departments want to see a clearer way of identifying candidates with malicious intent. Some 58 per cent of successful applications are found to contain errors.

IT and technology, professional services and retail lead the way for sectors which are not properly conducting reference checks. The percentage of new workers who start without them in IT and technology are 89 per cent, professional services 69 per cent and retail 67 per cent.

The HR departments that are most “bogged down” can be found in the IT and technology, financial services and retail sectors, with financial services leading the way for time spent on low value work with 3.2 hours a day.

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