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Reduce Retail Theft by Pre-Employment Screening

For every retail position filled, there is retail theft happening. Sometimes these individuals are desperate, and sometimes they just do it for fun. But it happens often. On the bright side, there are ways to not only detect theft but even better, there are ways to prevent it from ever happening in your business. The most effective method is pre-employment screening. This process starts with job applicant screening and weeding out obvious rejections.

Once you have your prospective candidates, ask them to fill out a permission form to do an employee background check and a pre-employment credit check. Any candidate who refuses to give permission should not be hired because the chances are high that their background and/or credit checks would come back with something unpleasant on them. Those who refuse generally have something to hide. Once the candidate gives permission, run the checks. When the results come back, the first thing you want to look for is anything on the background check. Any previously committed crime is a potential hazard in your workplace. A clean check is a good check.

Next, look at the credit report. A high percentage of individuals are in debt or have had bad luck with credit cards while young. This is acceptable. However, if your candidate appears to have multiple or repeat offenses with credit cards, is not making bills, or is in debt substantially, this could be a red flag. Those with very bad credit or very high debt can get desperate for anything that will help them financially, including theft and embezzlement.

Some smaller hits on a background check or credit check can be overlooked due to youth, inexperience, or mistakes. These things consist of a credit card offer at a young age, a first bank account gone awry, or a misguided idea on what checks actually are. This last can actually bring on a criminal charge of check fraud if taken too far and will show both on the credit report and the background check. If the applicant is young, or if the offense shows as being rather old, discuss the situation with the applicant and allow them to state a defense. If the applicant is older, and the charge new, or a repeat offense, that shows the applicant knows they are doing wrong and just won't stop. This is not a person you want working in your business.

To recap, when looking for prospective employees, first screen your applications, weeding out the obvious bad choices. For what you have left, do your interviews, and narrow it to 2 or 3. Ask each of these to fill out a background check permission form and a credit check permission form. Once you have the results, screen them for obvious red flags, and then look closer for smaller offenses that could be red flags to the experienced eye. Of 3 prospects, at least one will most likely be a bad choice. Of the remaining, if both have clean checks, go with your gut instincts.