Do you really know who you are hiring?

Do you really know who you are hiring?

A few years back while I was managing a call center, we urgently needed a few new agents for a new campaign. We interviewed a man for the role, as we already had 98% female team, and found he ticked all our requirements. Luck would have it he was available immediately and could start the next day. Being in the Insurance industry we were required to run a criminal check on all new employees. Due to these checks taking at least 24 hours, we explained to our new hire that he could start with training until all checks came back and were all clear.

The next day he was at the office on time and started his training. Two hours later his criminal check was returned, with a possession of marijuana charge on his name. When the charge was laid marijuana was still illegal but now it was legal for personal consumption, and the Insurance authority would allow an employee with this type of criminal activity. I called in our new hire to let him know the results, and to inform him he could still start.

Surprise time

To much of my surprise when I informed him about the possession of marijuana charge, and before I could say anything else, he was shocked and said that was incorrect, he only had a ‘assault charge’ on his name! As a female, and with 98% of female staff on my floor I was shocked. To end this story, he left to go and ‘have his name cleared’ and never returned.

As much as the Insurance industry has so many rules and compliance checks, I will forever be grateful that one of these checks was to complete a criminal check on any new staff members. It is now mandatory for any new hire for my clients at Job Crystal and for all our own employees to be checked BEFORE they start.

In these busy times, when we hire staff in a week, we often do not have the time to run the checks and balances to confirm a hire. I have often have not listened to a reference check who has listed concerns about a possible new hire. Due to really needing the new staff member to start asap and not wanting to lose this new ‘gem’, and then it is all falling apart a few weeks later – all because I was in too much of a rush. Background checks are critical and are often the last checkbox – but they are still a checkbox that needs to be ticked.

Making it easier

Background checks are often exceedingly difficult to finalise and can take up so much time. Many of the providers require you to register with them, meaning 6 pages of forms to fill out. Getting hold of one reference can take up to 6 calls/messages to finally find a time that will suit you and the reference. That is why when we started Job Crystal, we wanted to give customers the easiest possible way to complete numerous background checks in 3 steps:

  1. Fill in who you want to complete a check on and tick which checks (criminal, reference, license, education etc.) – no need to register
  2. Upload the individuals consent and ID (by law you have to the candidate’s consent)
  3. Pay via PayFast with EFT, credit card, debit card etc.

Some checks come back instantly, while others like criminal and reference checks can take up to 24 hours. Should you require them urgently we can complete within 1 hour ( .

Do not try and have a horror story like mine, get the checks done – tick the final checkbox and ensure who you work with, that you know exactly who they are.

*Sasha Knott is the current MD of Job Crystal, Business Women of the Year finalist and Female Entrepreneur and Speaker to follow more of her articles go to