You need to know that the person in front of you is who they claim to be
Keen to retain flexibility within their workforce while also restricting their permanent staff costs, businesses across many different sectors are happy to use temporary staff, brought in via a temping agency, as and when needed. High quality temps, available at short notice and able to slot straight into a particular job, can be a valuable resource for employers to draw upon.
However, the urgency which often accompanies their arrival – covering for sick employees, for example; responding to customer or seasonal demand; or being required for short notice project work – means that background screening can sometimes be compromised.
To do their jobs properly, temporary employees will typically have the same levels of access to your systems, assets and data as any other fully contracted employee. The scope for them acting inappropriately – anything from corporate espionage and fraud through to working with invalid qualifications – is significant. But in the rush to get someone in place, the trade-off may be to skip the background checks that might have otherwise raised suspicions.
Many employers will try to mitigate these risks by asking their temp agency to screen potential temps in advance, to a pre-defined standard. Even though some make this a contractual stipulation, it’s surprising how few follow through on this, checking whether the agency has fully complied with what’s required of it. Fewer still insist on the agency’s use of a specific background screening provider who they have come to trust.
High quality temps, available at short notice and able to slot straight into a particular job, can be a valuable resource for employers to draw upon
The challenge with screening temporary workers is that they can have a very fragmented work history which can prove difficult to piece together and verify. They may have worked for several different agencies and with dozens of businesses (some of which they might not even remember any more), spanning periods of near-permanent employment and lengthy spells of inactivity.
It’s important to remember to follow the money, in terms of who has been paying them, in order to verify their work history. While they may have worked with numerous businesses, they technically worked for the temping agency, so it’s here that attention must be focused.
The challenge with screening temporary workers is that they can have a very fragmented work history which can prove difficult to piece together and verify
Bearing in mind the need to have people in place quickly, a long drawn out and laborious process is something that many employers will want to avoid. The danger here is of screening stopping short, information being taken at face value and plans for further investigation being shelved – all in the interests of expediency. The typical need for speed therefore represents a significant risk that employers can expose themselves to when using temporary workers.