WHO you hire will be reflective of WHAT the market perception of your company will be in the end. Research shows that top dog companies representing the pinnacle of success and prosperity, revealed one common denominator present in all of them: INTEGRITY from the top to the bottom.

Pre-employment screening in South Africa relating to integrity testing is often reserved for mid to executive positions disregarding the lower or entry-level staff demographic in its entirety.

A massive faux pas if ever there was one. Drivers, cleaners, cashiers, retail assistants, couriers, call-centre agents, home health care aides, production workers, field service technicians and security guards, are the face of the company’s brand, working in the trenches directly with customers. They are also the ones closest to the company’s assets for example products, cash, utility and connectivity resources (aka the stuff you use to make money).

Hiring is a Risky Business

Think of every new hire is a security risk. The value in testing the moral compasses of the lower level, semi-skilled and junior employees, is to mitigate risk and prevent the corrosive effect of dishonesty on your bottom line (and a tarnished reputation splashed onto social media for the world to see).

From minor theft to serious fraud and embezzlement, the costs of dishonesty can add up quickly if not identified and contained. Even better, determine the risk factors before you hire.

Time to tighten the Recruitment Reigns

To eliminate the risk of hiring a dishonest apple, it is imperative to implement a stricter pre-employment screen processes that go beyond the basic checks. Conducting multiple interviews and reference checks is not a sufficient measures of integrity validation anymore.

“But the criminal check came back clean?”. Fair enough, but this only means that your potential new hire has not been caught committing a crime. A criminal verification offers no assurance about future inappropriate behaviours relating to attendance, trustworthiness and work ethics.

Integrity tests are comprehensive assessment tools used for pre-employment screening of entry-level employees focussing on predicting the propensity for dishonesty, lying, disregarding rules, general reliability and dependability and their inherent risk to engage in counterproductive work behaviours (CWPs).

Unfavourable Outcomes

Let’s take it down to a nuts and bolts level. Is the odd skimming of office supplies by a store assistant, a driver making a few personal detours, or the call-centre consultant downloading an entire Game of Thrones series while connected to the office Wi-fi sufficient reason to make each new hire undergo an integrity assessment?

Perhaps cast a quick eye over the issues that integrity lacking employees may expose your business to:

  • Theft of merchandise in a retail environment
  • Safety violations in manufacturing settings
  • Stealing of client belongings in hospitality environments
  • Inside informants at security companies conspiring robberies
  • Conflicts of interest cover-ups between employees and vendors
  • Collusion between vendors
  • Defrauding the company finances
  • Tender irregularities, vendor kickbacks and bribing
  • Quid-pro-quo corruption
  • Bid-rigging
  • Price fixing and defective pricing
  • Performance digression due to tardiness and absenteeism
  • Employee moonlighting during working hours

The perks of Integrity Testing

Measuring honesty is beneficial in many ways. Companies perceived as bastions of integrity are seen as more credible to investors, clients and employees. Credibility generates trust, productivity, sales, market share and promotional opportunities, all of these being catalysts to maximising profit and establishing a stellar employer brand.

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about  it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without, you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”