Background checking as part of your hiring decision

Warning a Michael rant coming.

While regular background checkinf is a standard part of most recruitment processes, using search engines and social networks to background check candidates still seems to be the exception. I find this amazing that a quick 5 minute search online to learn about a candidate is still not part of standard recruitment workflows!  I Google anyone who I am going to meet or speak to for the first time, regardless of who they are.

I first wrote about background checking and search engines over 3 years during a week where I focused on background checking, identity, reputation and Google. Which is why finding the following story is disturbing, sad, and laughable.

A simple Google search could have saved the NSW Government the embarrassment of hiring Labor Party kingpin Joe Scimone, a State Government committee has heard.

This comes from an article today where the NSW Government hired Joe Scimone into a $200k per year role only to have to let him go 3 weeks later once his background came out.  I wonder what that has costs the NSW Government?

Mr Scimone was appointed on January 14, 10 months after he quit his job as a Wollongong City Council manager and almost a year after the Mercury reported he was facing a harassment complaint from a female employee at the council.

Now it seems things have got worse for Mr Scimone.

In February this year, Mr Scimone became embroiled in Wollongong’s corruption scandal. The Independent Commission Against Corruption later found Mr Scimone to be corrupt and recommended that criminal charges be considered against him.

Here are a couple of the news articles I found from back in 2007 that would have easily been uncovered by a simple background search. (I will note it took me 5 minutes to find these as I had to sift through the current documentation.)

  1. Sex harassment claims shock council general manager – 14 Feb 2007
  2. Councillors unaware of Scimone payout

To quote Steve Dunn Chief Executive of the NSW Maritime who hired Joe “Googling does not form part of the public sector recruitment process“. Well maybe it should!

5 thoughts on “Background checking as part of your hiring decision

  1. In todays environment with so much information available to people I am surprised organisations do not research the people that they are talking to.

    As you mentioned 5 minutes of research could have saved plenty of grief in this situation.

    Stepping away from reference checks for the moment, I can relate it back to how many cold calls I get where people have not researched me or Oracle (and gets me thinking why make a cold call if you have not researched your target).

  2. “(and gets me thinking why make a cold call if you have not researched your target).”

    Probably because the person making the cold call has to make so many each day or week as one of their “KPIs”, and they really don’t care so long as they meet that KPI.

    They will probably send you a bunch of worthless CVs on a Friday afternoon for same reason 🙂

  3. Is it time to get on the “when I was a boy” rants yet? You know the days before the internet? Yes there was a time… When research was done by talking to people or having to go to the Library.. remember those?

    I put our weblinks in my ads and people still don’t grasp the fact that i am a Corporate Recruiter, not an agency one.

    Would hate to have been a) the person who hired this guy b) the person who approved the hire, and c) I think the worst, the person who uncovered the story and had to break it to the above two

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