Awareness of the possibility of innocently inviting danger into our home and lives is growing. The threat posed by workers employed by service providers that we hire is very real.
The news reports make us very aware of the threat potential involved with hiring someone that has to come to our home without a thorough screening.
Unfortunately, it has become very important that we spend more time vetting those who we allow into our inner circle. The safety of our family, friends and possessions may be at stake if we don't.
So how do you go about making your family safer? What can you do that will assure that those you hire are stable and not criminally inclined?
Let's take a look at some of the possibilities.
You can spend a lot of time selecting a service provider from catchy advertisements, contact that provider and ask for the personal information of those who may be coming to do the job you have hired them to perform, and then spend even more time and money to background check those individuals.
But there are a few drawbacks in going down this road.
First, a background check isn't cheap. Sure, you can get a basic check for $30-40. That's not insignificant. But this price is on the low end of the pricing scale for background checks.
Second,if you do go the cheapest route, you're more than likely not getting a thorough analysis of the individuals your checking.
A thorough background screening includes searching multiple databases that many low-end services may not check. The reason for this is that it cost money for those searches to be conducted.
A bare-bones price doesn't support the expense of running checks through all of these databases.
The companies that you can hire to do background checks are businesses. They operate to make a profit. That pretty much says it all doesn't it?
Higher end, hence, more expensive background checks run about $60.00.
For this price you can hire a reputable company like TransUnion to do a thorough check of the major databases that may contain information on the person you are screening.
These databases include:
⦁ Identity verification
⦁ National Sex Offender Registry
⦁ FBI National Most Wanted List
⦁ State & County checks
⦁ Fraud Alert
⦁ Name & SSN Match
⦁ Current & Previous Addresses
⦁ Prior Employment
⦁ Detailed Credit Report
As you can see this is a lot of information to review. And guess who has to take the time to review all of these reports and information?
That's right, you!
Let's take a moment and review the steps you've taken up to this point just to hire a service provider.
⦁ You have searched for and selected a provider.
⦁ You contacted the service provider and waited who knows how long for them to get back to you with just basic information that may or may not be enough to accurately find and screen the right people coming to your home. Employers aren't going to release an employees Social Security Number, date of birth and other sensitive personal information to you just because you call and ask for it.(Can you hear the attorneys clamoring to get to the front of the line?)
⦁ You've searched for a Background Check Service that will provide you with a sufficient report without putting a hole in your wallet.
⦁ You have sat down with a pile of reports to review and attempt to decipher the information contained in them about each person that may or may not be coming to your home and may or may not be the right information on the person coming to your home. Exasperating.
⦁ You have spent a significant amount of money already and the expense of the work you seek to have done hasn't even kicked in yet.
There is another alternative you can choose rather than going through this very laborious and potentially expensive process.
There are companies out there that advertise that they screen and vet service providers to protect you so that you don't have to go through all of the steps previously mentioned.
This, on the surface, seems to be a very viable option, and in some cases it may be.
However, this can be deceptive as well.
Being a House cleaning service provider myself, I was, and still am, very aware of and concerned about the potential consequences of sending an employee of my company to clean a clients home that I have not thoroughly vetted.
The consequences of doing so could be devastating to the company if an incident occurred, and if something did happen I would have to live with that on my conscience for the rest of my life.
So I made the decision that anyone working for me and being placed in a position of trust would be vetted to the nines!
I experienced a high level of anxiety when considering the potential consequences of the decision to place my company and families' well-being at a greater risk if I decided to go the cheaper route of not being very meticulous in who I was hiring.
No matter what angle I looked at it, attempting to go the cheap route just didn't sit well with me.
I couldn't, in good conscience, place the value of profit over the value of others security and safety.
It turned out to be an easy decision in spite of the advice from others that I should find a middle ground that would be cheap and still provide a modicum of security to my customers.
I think any level-headed person who decides to go out on their own and start a company are going to be concerned about controlling expenses. Funds are not unlimited for most of us and getting the biggest return with the lowest investment is a basic rule of thumb when operating a business.
I'm no different. If I spend dollars I want to get a good return.
But taking half-measures was not something I have ever been comfortable with.
As a child, a very successful friend of my family shared a morsel of wisdom with me that is well-known to many today but unknown to me at the time.
He said," A job worth doing, is a job worth doing well."
It must have made an impact on me because it stuck and I have repeated it many times over to myself and others through the years since.
I adopted the frame of mind that half-measure are unforgiving of mistakes.
There is no justification if things don't turn out well when you make the decision to only give 50% rather than giving your all. Half measures are for those looking for excuses rather than success.
Having made the decision to thoroughly vet prospective employees was easy to make.
Accepting the cost involved was a bit more difficult.
The time, energy and expense of the process is no small thing. Some might even consider it extensive or excessive.
But I am committed to protecting my clients, family and company.
I decided I wanted to be sure that I set the bar very high in order to meet this goal.
⦁ To have a company policy that put potential employees through a three-step interview process; A phone interview, an in-person interview with my Human Resource Manager, and a final interview with me. If there was any doubt about the prospect, then a fourth step of an additional interview would be conducted with both the HR Manager, myself and a senior third party with the company.
⦁ That prospects must consent to a pre-employment drug screen and random screens thereafter upon being hired.
⦁ To perform a full-scope background check that also includes a credit check. I wavered on the credit check but good advice was given that an individual in dire financial straights might be motivated to do something out of character. That is very true. But, it is also true that a person in a bad financial position may just need a good paycheck. So I made the decision to include a credit check for one very simple and basic reason; If we are aware of the financial situation, we can be proactive in attempting to help alleviate the conditions causing it. If we aren't, we can't and may not be aware that we need to be on the look-out for the signals of distress that an employee may be sending out. This would cause us to miss an opportunity to be a positive influence on a bad situation. The staff of any service company is its most important asset. As such, it just makes good financial sense that we should view them as something worth investing in like any other asset. We repair the roof of our house when needed. We change the oil in our vehicles. We purchase insurance for valuables and we seek out quality advice and assistance when considering large investments. Sometimes, all it may take to help turn around or even correct an employees bad situation is to provide access to good professional advice or maybe even just a supportive ear and a little morale boosting. We could even consider buying some debt for the employee under the right conditions.
⦁ To enroll in the E-Verify program. This is an electronic hiring verification process managed by the Department of Homeland Security. Potential employees are subjected to scrutiny by DHS and the Social Security Administration to verify that the applicant is who they say they are and that they are qualified to legally work in the United States. This is a very important step, especially in today's society where Identity fraud is prevalent and crimes are committed where the perpetrators escape justice under U.S. law.
Some may say that all of these steps are overkill. Some may believe that all businesses should be required to subject their employees to this level of scrutiny.
It is my belief that I should do all that I can to protect those who rely upon me to make the right decisions for my cleaning company and those whom we serve.
I feel confident that our hiring policies are sufficient to do both.
Once I made the decision to implement these policies, I knew that I was adding a valuable aspect to the service my clients receive.
I believe that my clients and potential customers should know that they can rely upon our discretion to not only provide them with a quality maid, housekeeper or other cleaning service, but that we also take their safety and security very seriously.
After all, it does add a very valuable premium to our services and to the reputation of our company.
The obvious question now was, how could I make potential customers aware of this premium and take advantage of the marketing benefits it provides?
With the trend toward greater security and safety awareness in the market today, I made the decision to register my business with services that market themselves on the basis of listing service providers that are pre-screened for the benefit and security of those seeking service providers.
This seemed to be a logical and efficient way of making the potential end users of my cleaning service aware of this aspect of our company.
I also knew that we would have no problem qualifying as a service provider with any the companies advertising that they screen providers for you so that you don't have to.
So I began listing the business with these services. I figured I would need to provide documentation for my company and the employees that would be used to provide service to the customers they led us to.
I was prepared for this to be a lengthy time consuming task, but one which would provide great benefit to my cleaning company and to the public.
Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken.
Not only was the process simple, but apparently available to anyone willing to fill out the registration form and pay for the leads that they generated through their marketing!
Of all the services I registered with (And there were many) only two of them asked me to provide a certificate of insurance and only one stated that a background check would be performed and asked for a fee in order to do so.
But this background check was just for me as the owner of the company. It had nothing to do with my employees that would actually be servicing their customers!
That was a real wake up call for me.
I was astounded by the lack of concern they had for actually living up to the billing in their marketing.
Did I still list with these companies? Yes.
My reason for doing so was that I knew that even if no other company listed with these companies were out to protect the public by vetting their employees, my Maid, Housekeeping and Cleaning Service company does and will continue to do so willingly.
Not because anyone require me to. But because it matters to me.
President & CEO
Domestically Inclined Inc.