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Attention Recruiters: Be More Like Morpheus


According to Wikipedia, The Matrix is a 1999 American science fiction action film starrring Keanu ReevesLaurence FishburneCarrie-Anne MossHugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality, the Matrix, created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.  When computer programmer Thomas Anderson, under the hacker alias “Neo“, uncovers the truth, he “is drawn into a rebellion against the machines” along with other people who have been freed from the Matrix.

Neo was recruited by Morpheus who has been living outside the Matrix for some time. Morpheus believes that Neo is “the One,” a human with the power to manipulate the Matrix. Not only does Morpheus recruit Neo but he goes to great lengths to help him realize his potential as “the One.” He shows Neo how the Matrix is a simulated reality, he trains Neo in how to manipulate the reality, how to use his mind and special weapons to control others in the Matrix and how to become invincible. In other words, Morpheus is adding value.



This is precisely what today’s independent and agency recruiters should be doing for their recruits and ultimately, for their clients. One very specific way to add value is by providing an extra service that has traditionally been performed by the employer (the client) and this is to run a background check on your candidate before you pass them off to your client.

But why would you do this, especially when you know your client already runs their own background checks on new hires?

Reasons to Run a Background Check

First, almost no independent or agency recruiters do this so when a recruiter delivers a fully background checked candidate, this will take your client by surprise – in a good way. It’s going to signal to your client that you really care about their success, which will help validate that they made a good decision to engage your services and make them want to keep doing business with you.

Second, once the client gets past the initial shock that you’ve done something very unique and valuable for them, they will be even happier because they can feel confident putting this person to work right away. A background check can take anywhere from two to five days so you just saved them some serious time (and time is money) by going the extra mile with the background check. Even if it is their company policy to run their own background check on this person, this becomes a pro forma exercise while the candidate is being onboarded and starting their job. With a clean background check report in hand, there’s no potential for any surprises that could force them to start the recruiting process over.

Finally, if you discover that your candidate’s background check reveals a crime or some other cause for concern with your client, you can then coach your candidate on steps they can take to remedy this situation before sendng them to your client. Perhaps you can work with them to remove any outdated items on the background check or maybe the information that was revealed is inaccurate and you can help this person dispute these items to get them removed from their report before hand. You may even be able to help them craft an explanation of the circumstances, including jobs they have held and other achievements since the offense occurred. 

Anatomy of a Background Check

If you are going to do a background check, who should you use and what should you include?

You definitey want to use a company like SafestHires that specializes in employment background checks and that certifies their search products are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. There are some companies out there that run background checks but these companies are not FCRA compliant and so the information they provide cannot be relied upon by employer

A decent background check will start with a Social Security Number Trace/Address History Search. This search determines if the name and SSN entered into the background check system matches the name and SSN that is on file with the three major credit bureaus and if there is a match, then the background check company can run a County Criminal Search in the candidate’s counties of residence, dating back seven years. In addition to the county criminal searches, the package should include a Nationwide Criminal Database Search which can help reveal any criminal convictions outside the person’s counties of residence, a 50-State Sex Offender Registries Search, a Government Sanctions Search which will reveal people who are prohibited from contracting with the government, a Terrorist Watch List search and a Federal Crimes Search.

If you want to go even deeper, you could verify that they have been truthful about where they have worked, position titles, dates of employment and reasons for leaving by adding an Employment Verification search to the package. You could even reinforce this by adding a couple of professional references from former supervisors or peers. Additionally, you can check their driving record and verify their education credentials, including any professional certificates or licenses.

And if the position will require them to make major financial decisions or have access to money or bank accounts, you can add a Bankruptices, Liens and Judgements search to help determine their fiscal responsibility.

All of this seems like a lot but you can get all of this for about $50.00. And if you don’t need to check their fiscal background, it will run closer to $40.00, which is really a very small price to pay in terms of the ROI you will likely get.

Trust me when I tell you that adding a background check to the services you provide will be a huge value-add for your client and your candidate. In this situation, I am like the Oracle with the power of foresight and your clients will love it when you send them candidates that have been fully vetted with an employment background check from an FCRA Compliant screening company, like SafestHires.


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