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Sketchy job screenings lead to big trouble

Critical ethical decisions needed

Organizations want to hire quality employees, but many also don’t want to spend much money, time and effort screening them. However, ethically they should cast a wide net when searching for possible criminal histories. If they don’t, they will employ convicted fraudsters.

Edwin Husenfarfel, chief financial officer of a Manhattan corporation, was comfortable but eternally bored in his plush 71st floor office. Sixteen years after his second conviction for rape of a minor under the age of 14 and vowing to himself never to get caught again, Husenfarfel (obviously not his real name) was getting restless. He wanted more recognition as the rising star CFO of a Fortune 500 company. And he was going to lie about his past transgressions to land it.

Criminal psychologists and FBI profilers call this “escalating.” And fraud examiners call Husenfarfel’s decision to do whatever he needed to avoid getting caught again (which included lying about his past convictions) “fraud by omission,” one of the most common frauds in business. Human resources departments can help thwart these criminals by ethically choosing the best background screening methods to discover convictions regardless of the required effort, time and expense.

Husenfarfel’s never-ending quest for bigger money and more grandiose professional recognition drove him to seek employment with my client. (I operate one of the nation’s oldest employment screening firms.)

The company missed Husenfarfel’s prior crimes despite running what it thought was a thorough background screening process.

Even though Husenfarfel’s Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (a standard psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology) came back with no adverse personality traits (obviously inaccurate), something just didn’t sit right with the company’s in-house recruiter. So, the company hired me to see if it missed anything in Husenfarfel’s background.


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