A background check barred the shooter responsible for the recent Chattanooga rampage from getting a job at a nuclear power plant. This just goes to show that the importance of background checks to the hiring process cannot be underestimated.
When hiring a new employee, there are specific skills and qualities to look out for. Unfortunately, employers must verify that a candidate meets those standards using only the limited means at their disposal — calling references, testing their ability to back up claims made on their resumé, and even gut instinct.
However, the reality is that the practical limitations of time and resources make it impossible to truly know a person inside-and-out before hiring them.
But it’s imperative to know — at a minimum — that your candidate of choice is safe to work with. However, our perceptions can be misleading, and settling for informal inspections and our instincts can be dangerous, and doesn’t hold a candle to professional scrutiny. When it comes to workplace hiring, professional background checks should always be the method of choice.
The Winsome Criminal
Virtually anyone can appear polite and restrained during the 30 minutes it takes to conduct an interview. You hear it again and again on the news: violent criminals seem normal until the moment they snap.
Take, for instance, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, the 24-year-old responsible for the recent, fatal shooting of five Naval Reserve servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to NPR, one former classmate of Abdulazeez said that he “never thought in a million years it would be this guy,” describing him as, “friendly, funny, [and] kind.” And CNN reported that Abdulazeez’s former mixed martial arts coach considered him an “All American” guy.
A Dangerous Position
All descriptions of Abdulazeez suggest that he was a charming young man who, above all things, would’ve sailed through a job interview. And he did just that. Previously, he had applied to work at the FirstEnergy Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio, and was hired on as an electrical engineer in 2013. He didn’t incite suspicion or seem to pose any risk.
Thankfully, Abdulazeez was dismissed from his position at FirstEnergy after working for just 10 days. Why? He failed to pass his background check. Had the company not taken those precautionary steps, Abdulazeez could have had insider access to a nuclear facility. Just think about those implications for a second.
The Heightened Importance of Due Diligence
Considering the case of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, it’s clear that an interview is an insufficient method of ensuring workplace safety — a job applicant simply cannot be considered eligible until he or she has passed a background check.
The reality is that a company’s failure to perform these checks could put innocent lives at risk. Even our most careful judgement of character can get the best of us — Abdulazeez’s friends and neighbors are a testament to that truth.
It’s a matter of due diligence. A background check will reveal inconsistencies on a resumé, a criminal past, and even bad credit history, taking the pressure off an interviewer and their intuition. That means hiring Integrated Security Services to perform low-cost pre-employment screenings across your organization.
Our seasoned and discreet professionals produce nuanced, comprehensive reports that will reveal any lurking and unsavory traits of a potential hire. For you and your colleagues, it’s the responsible thing to do.