by Neil Kokemuller
Disgruntled workers are a major distraction and possible image problem for a company. They carry a generally negative attitude and may allow their dislike for aspects of the job to impact their behaviors at work. A negative employee can contribute to low morale and potentially persuade others that the company is unfair or not a good place to work. Pre-employment screening tools help companies avoid hiring employees that could become negative influences on the workplace or project a bad company image.
Disgruntled workers pose significant problems for companies. In the workplace, employees who are upset or frustrated with their employer or job may become insolent, insubordinate, difficult to manage, disrespectful toward co-workers and company property and, at the extreme, violent. Workplace violence can lead to injuries to employees and financial liability for the company. Outside the workplace, a disgruntled employee may speak rudely about the company, share confidential information or turn to Internet social media to make disparaging comments.
Pre-screening is especially important for certain positions. IT workers have a lot of insight into a company’s technology infrastructure and typically have access to network passwords and logins for other employees. Disgruntled employees can cause millions of dollars in hardware, software or financial damage to employers. Senior IT professionals pose a major security threat if disgruntled, since they are already “hacked” into the computer system.
The Role of Screening
Pre-employment screening is aimed at preventing the hiring of a worker likely to act out because he is disgruntled. While no guarantees exist, a thorough pre-screening can pick up on red flags or a history of poor behavior. An employee who lies about why he left a job, for instance, may be covering previous acts of insubordination or bad behavior. A candidate with a propensity to break workplace rules or to act out against management can easily become a problem once he finds provocation.
Pre-employment screening is a more thorough review of an applicant’s past experience and criminal background than is normally conducted by hiring managers. Typically a company either has in-house HR specialists do the research or hires an outside firm that specializes in this area. Along with criminal background checks, a pre-employment screening typically consists of a review of employment history that includes thorough interviews with past employers about the employee’s performance and reasons for leaving. The screener verifies the accuracy of the candidate’s application and interview and checks for any red flags about disruptive or violent behavior.
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