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!