Using a set of standard questions , MacCrimmon probes job candidates and their references for red flags . “ It ’ s important not to be suggestive ,” he said . “ Follow a template and give people time to talk .” He has found vague answers to specific questions — like why they left a specific job — from either the job candidate or a reference can reveal potential issues in the candidate ’ s job history that warrant more probing questions .
Recognizing that some past behavior , like theft , would be a dealbreaker , MacCrimmon relies on these discussions with candidates and references , as well as a broader professional network , to probe candidates ’ histories . “ This is a small industry , for the most part , so you get to know a lot of people ,” he said . “ Often , you know someone who either knows a candidate or knows someone who does .”
To check or not to check ?
Adriana Dinu , founder of The Cotton Spa Ltd in Toronto , takes a similar approach before hiring a new employee but also checks out candidates to see if they have a criminal record . “ In the beauty industry , estheticians work personally with clients and collect sensitive information ,” she said . “ Background screening is important because it protects our organization ’ s property , assets , reputation , brand and , ultimately , our biggest asset , our clientele .”
Dinu also finds certain types of information can reveal red flags that can be difficult to overlook , such as a poor employment history , deception or inconsistencies on the candidate ’ s resume , a criminal history and negative information from references . Dinu ’ s screening includes contacts with at least two former employers on the candidate ’ s work habits , tasks performed and other questions , and a confirmation of education level and any additional training or certificates the candidate has earned .
Dinu may then follow up with another candidate interview to address any areas of concern . “ By conducting more than one interview , I can observe a suitable impression of the individual and decide whether the individual would or would not be an asset and merge effortlessly with the team ,” she said .
While it is up to spa management to decide how far to take background checks on job candidates , they must do so within the confines of the law . This is not always easy to do because the specific laws and regulations covering employment-related background investigations differ widely by specific locality , state and country . In addition , background checks also have been the subject of much litigation in various jurisdictions , creating a changing patchwork of legal issues that have an ongoing impact on how employers handle these matters .
Managing legal obligations
While it is not possible to cover every aspect of the legal concerns related to background checks , employers should be aware of some broad issues . In the
U . S ., for example , the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ( FCRA ) requires employers to certify they have followed the law ’ s requirements and will use the resulting information only for employment purposes and that they obtain the applicant ’ s consent to do so . One of the most heavily litigated parts of the law is the requirement that a potential employer disclose to the applicant , using a stand-alone disclosure , that it may conduct a background check .
Given the potential legal challenges employers face in this area , it is a good idea to consult with legal counsel to understand exactly what the organization can and cannot do when conducting and evaluating the results of background checks on job applicants . This precaution extends to developing a compliant approach for this part of the hiring process and keeping it up to date . Spas may also need help in training hiring managers on how to adhere to applicable laws , how to create a biasfree but equal opportunity selection process , and how to feel more confident using the required decision-making process during various hiring scenarios .
Even when spa executives rely on a third-party vendor to conduct background checks , they still need to understand the process and their obligations under the FCRA and any other applicable laws . “ In this industry , criminal background checks are generally the primary item employers will seek ” when hiring new employees , said Susan Corcoran , a principal with law firm Jackson Lewis in White Plains ,
“ This is a small industry , so you get to know a lot of people . Often , you know someone who either knows a candidate or knows someone who does .”
— COLIN MACCRIMMON
JANUARY 2023 n PULSE 19