Budgets are under as much scrutiny as ever, and as a result, you might find yourself under pressure to reduce operations costs. From negotiating new contracts with vendors to lowering starting salaries or making the new hire screening process less rigorous, the places you might look to save money are limitless. Yet, any money you save during the hiring process in the short term is of little value when compared to the problems associated with not really knowing who you have just hired.
For example, consider the story reported last month by Denver-based 9News, “Nurse accused of stealing identities of hospital patients
.” A registered nurse worked for at least five hospitals in the Denver area, and he improperly accessed patient files to steal Social Security numbers and other confidential information. The nurse then used this information to open credit card accounts and make fraudulent purchases. Upon further research, the 9News investigative team learned this nurse had been placed at these medical facilities via a now-defunct nurse staffing agency.
The details are still emerging so it is rash to assign blame to only the nurse staffing agency, but the fact remains – hospitals that used this agency trusted that they were getting a screened and reputable employee, but instead had a criminal working among them.
While legal counsel will sort through the details and patient restitution, all of the associated hospitals have received unfavorable media coverage and lost valuable personnel time due to the event. Down the road, they also may lose new patients and business opportunities due to their diminished reputations.
Given the expense and repercussions, what lessons can you learn from this incident? We’ve compiled a 5-step checklist:
- Standardize the application paperwork so you are receiving consistent, comparable information about each and every applicant.
- Perform a background check plus a credit check to determine whether the candidate has been forthcoming in the application process.
- Include situational interview questions to gauge how well the applicant understands the importance of information security.
- Check references and ask questions that are specific to the candidate’s job functions, especially the handling of confidential information.
- Use a reputable hiring agency because if their hiring or screening process is poor, you may have a major liability working for you.
By following these five steps, you are more likely to hire responsible and reputable employees that reflect your company’s commitment to information security.