We needed to hire someone a while back.
I was looking for an assistant. We needed someone who could handle the day-to-day logistical kind of stuff, help some with finances, and generally help me run the business smoothly. They needed to be able to manage everything that falls under the Mealfit umbrella, which requires wearing a lot of different hats.
This was a HUGE hire.
I put out stuff on LinkedIn, Indeed, and pretty much everywhere else you go to find someone to work for you. But sorting through that amount of resumes took some serious legwork. So, we decided to do phone interviews.
I had never done that before, but I found that I could tell within 30 seconds of a phone call if a person was going to be right for our company. All in all, I did 26 phone interviews to try and fill this position. Like I said, it was going to be a huge hire.
From those 26, we dwindled it down to eight candidates for in-person interviews, and then eventually down to two.
I had come up with two ways to try and determine the best person to hire. The first was a nearly-impossible test, where both candidates were given an hour to try and complete a pretty epic list of tasks. If they made it through that, they'd be given a background check, and then finally they'd interview with my wife, Jackie (which was the real test).
Now, I had never done background checks for potential employees before. I'd never needed to. Everyone I'd hired had either been someone I knew previously or someone who would never be handling money. Background checks cost about 67 dollars apiece, but for an important hire like this, that seemed worth it.
One of these candidates passed the first test with flying colors. I was incredibly impressed with how they did, so I sent their stuff over to a friend of mine who does background checks.
There are three phases to a background check: driving record, credit check, and criminal background.
I get the background check back on this person, and I can't really tell what I'm looking at (which is why you should hire someone who does!).
I saw she had a few tickets on her driving record, but hey, that's no big deal. Who doesn't? I didn't really understand the credit part, so I called my friend. She said that looked pretty okay too. So they're two for two at this point. I didn't see anything abnormal in the criminal record either, so I moved forward.
But I got a call from my friend 30 minutes later.
It turned out that this person was set to go before a grand jury for allegedly embezzling $114,000 from a former employer.
"You've got to be kidding me."
I was totally caught off-guard. But I'm really glad we spent that 67 dollars.
Here's what I learned from this experience: if someone's going to have that kind of access to your personal or professional life, it pays to have them looked into. Even if it costs you a little bit on the front end, it could save you from a way more expensive problem later on.