June 16th, 2021 | Luc van Dijk, Sales Director / Vertical Leader, Sterling Backcheck

Top 5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Perform Background Checks


Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy, representing over 97% of all businesses. New businesses open every day across every industry in this space, and many of these new entrepreneurs find themselves evaluating what they can and cannot live without. Especially in the early stages of founding a new business, it’s easy to rationalize spending money on location, marketing, certifications, and insurance — after all, these are expenses where you can, usually, see immediate results. Yet there are many small businesses that do not consider investing in background checks until forced by an outside source — sometimes unfortunate experiences, other times contract requirements, the list goes on. Thought this may seem like a financially prudent decision based on many industry misconceptions, the reality is that it opens your business up to unnecessary risk, such as negligent hiring.


  1. Reducing Personnel Risk and Hiring Bias


By not screening new hires for your small business, the reality is that you’re exposing your staff (as well as yourself) to unknown elements. By not running a criminal record check, there’s no way to be certain that there is not something you ought to know — your new driver may have a recent DUI charge against them, or a new client-facing representative may have a documented history of aggression and violence. By not consulting with references, you may be missing that your brand-new Team Lead has a history of intimidating behavior towards their subordinates. An additional level of risk is the current trend of hiring remotely and the unfortunate reality of the internet. Can you really be certain about someone’s identity without running the appropriate identity verification services?


“But I’ve known my accountant since high school, I’d know if something was wrong!”, we often hear people say. The reality is that you don’t. This type of scenario is known as hiring bias. As of 2019, there are approximately 3.8 million Canadians who possess a criminal record. With a population of circa 38 million, that means that roughly 1 in every 10 Canadians have criminal records. There’s much more to consider, of course, but the reality is that without proper screening you’re wading into the dark with a match because you’re choosing to not flip the light switch. The risk is significant when you start thinking of not only how it could affect to yourself, but also the rest of your staff.


  1. Building Trust with Your Clients


We’ve already discussed how background screenings help protect your staff, but it’s important to mention the safety and privacy of your clients. By screening your candidates, you’re taking an important step in ensuring a pleasant, safe environment for your clients to engage in. By investing in your people in this way, you’re helping make a space for clientsto invest in you.


It’s easy to discuss physical safety, but let’s also talk about privacy. We live in a digital age, where it often feels like everything is posted online and nothing is truly ever private. It’s often daunting, uncomfortable, and unpleasant, especially when it happens without consent. By engaging in proper screening practices, you’re able to help spot and predict past tendencies of potential employees when it comes to sharing their private information.


The damage these scenarios can cause are twofold — there’s the immediate risk to a client’s safety, but by extension your brand enters perilous territory as well.


  1. Protecting Your Brand Image and Reputation


Your employees represent your brand — the good and the bad — however, unfortunately, people tend to remember the bad more than the good.


Background screening services can spot red flags early, ranging from applicable criminal records to offensive and extremist language on social media platforms. By employing a background service provider, locating one of these red flags becomes a matter of reading an unfortunate report that impacts your hiring decision. If you do not, it can easily take the form of much more significant and unpleasant reality — from offending potential clients, to besmirching your brand. The difference is clear — one road leads to an unpleasant conversation, whereas the other one leads to potential brand disaster which can have severe ramifications for the future of the company.


  1. Avoiding The Cost of a Bad Hire


We covered personnel risk, client risk, and brand risk — all that can create unwanted costs and losses to your organization. Yet there is also a much more immediate cost — the loss of time. The time spent onboarding and training an employee who would not have been hired had it been for appropriate background testing processes. That’s lost effort, lost revenue, and lost investment that could’ve been applied elsewhere. This is a cost that ultimately, you can put a hard number on once it’s all said and done.


What you can’t put a clear number on, however, is the cost of having let a good hire go. By not evaluating an applicant from all the proper angles, you may have missed a key deciding factor that would’ve made one applicant a clear fit for your organization. When discussing background screening, a lot of people get caught up on finding the bad and forget that it’s also possible to find the good. Sometimes an applicant does not interview well, but by verifying their employment, for example, you may find that they’re an exemplary contributor who gets anxious in 1:1 scenarios. Maybe you believe their credentials are lacking but discover that they have a long history of working in the industry and have years of hands-on experience. The bottom line is that without collecting all the pieces of the puzzle, finding the right fit for your organization becomes an exercise of chance and potential lost time and money.



5. Quick and Simple — Background Checks at Your Fingertips

There’s a common misconception that screening an individual will take weeks, ding their credit score, intervene in their personal lives, and require the applicant to spend hours trying to sort through the necessary documents. All of the above are false.


The average time to complete a thorough, compliant screening package can vary, but many of them are standardly completed within 1-3 business days. What’s more, the packages can be customized to match the requirements for your company — are you in an industry where talent is few and far between, requiring same-day decision making? Excellent, let’s sort through the rapid, must-have services. Are you in an industry mandated by the government to screen a long list of specific requirements? Perfect, let’s discuss the specific requirements and ensure that you’re fully covered within your desired timeframe for onboarding.



Start Making Good Hiring Decisions


At Sterling Backcheck, we pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t attempt to enforce a one-size-fits-all approach when setting up new clients. We customize each account to cover the specific requirements of each organization that we work with. By choosing us, we understand that you’re trusting us to enable your screening program, and that is not something we take lightly. . 


Our teams are specialized in specific industries so that we can also provide advice that applies to your organization in the context of your industry. With a finger on the pulse of each industry in Canada, you can feel comfortable knowing that we understand the trends, the changes, and even the common pitfalls. Furthermore, with offices across the country and globe, and specific experts available through our network, Sterling can support international as well as domestic programs. Regardless of the size or age of your business — we at Sterling Backcheck are here to support you.



Want to know more or connect with a member of our team? Connect with us today!


Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.