Magazine article The CPA Journal

Nobody Works Here

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Nobody Works Here

Article excerpt

Did you ever feel as if you have an extra employee named Nobody on the payroll? Nobody is the one who left the office unlocked overnight. Nobody left the coffee pot on and almost burned down the building. Most of all, Nobody is the one who has been responsible for the cash shortages, the high cost of supplies, and the inventory shrinkage. If you don't believe it, ask your employees if they are responsible for these things. As each one shakes his or her head no, then shrugs when you ask all if they know who is, you'll comprehend that you have indeed hired that elusive and costly employee, Nobody. You wonder how it is possible to escape this slippery "underminer" of profitable business. As one answer to the search for honest employees, many companies have included integrity tests among their hiring practices. These tests focus on finding those job applicants who are unlikely to steal.

Honest people tend to be more goal oriented and are able to delay gratification, while dishonest people tend to have a "live for today, I've got to have it now attitude." A trustworthy person is looking toward advancement, performing at his utmost while a high risk employee will be trying to beat the system.

Because hiring seems so simple, few companies implement plans to select good employees. When a job vacancy needs filling, most employers have the impulse to hire the first tolerable person who walks through their door, just to get the ordeal over with. However, when it comes to employing unproductive people, the cost and stress may be too high a price for such casual practices. There's interview time, recruitment advertising, lost productivity during training, cost of training replacements, and lost productivity during employment. There is also the stress encountered by present employees every time they have to interrupt their work to answer questions and train someone new. If it happens too often, it can also undermine morale. Hiring someone who is dishonest further escalates these problems. When you contemplate the full scope of these expenditures, it is sensible to hire more slowly, using a systematic procedure for target hiring.

Think about the pitfalls of the standard methods for hiring. Former employers are reluctant to reveal much information about an ex-employee's past performance because of the potential for lawsuits. References are a weak source of documentation because applicants are smart enough to provide only those names that will insure them a good reference. Credit ratings may not work because the dishonest may have better credit than honest applicants because they can keep their bills current through dishonest means. Relying on subjective assessments or gut feelings is risky because dishonest people, experts in deception, generally do well in interviews. However, this picture often changes when you use a combination of the positive aspects of these hiring practices plus an integrity test.

Don't Trust Your Luck

Not wanting to leave hiring to luck, many companies today are using the latest scientific advances in hiring. The days of filing out a standard application form and hiring on a gut feeling are gone. In the past, most employment applications revealed very little about a candidate's functional attitudes toward work. …

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