Hire in Haste, Repent at Leisure

In March, Colorado was one of four states reporting the lowest unemployment rates since 1976, turning in the nation’s lowest rate at 2.6 percent. A tighter labor market means employers face tougher competition to attract and secure talent, as the pool of top hires becomes increasingly shallow. As a result, many employers are rushing employment selections with the misconception that a contingent job offer provides blanket protection against poor hiring decisions past the initial start date.

A contingent job offer is intended to communicate, either verbally or in writing, the expectation to hire an individual pending review of factors such as a background check, health screen, drug test, references, employment verifications, etc., while providing the organization with a safety net should it discover information adverse to the employment relationship. When the discovery is made post-offer, pre-employment, it is possible to rescind the job offer in favor of a better candidate. However, more and more employers are pushing to get people on board to avoid losing qualified applicants to competitors. When the discovery is made post-offer, post-employment, it is no longer a matter of rescinding a job offer, but one of terminating a hire, which becomes more awkward as the employment relationship progresses.

The adage “hire hard, manage easy” is one that employers should take to heart regardless of the urgency for getting people into position. Adhering to best practice by taking the time necessary to complete all due diligence post-offer, pre-employment means organizations are better positioned to reduce risk, avoid problems, and keep from introducing “bad” elements into their corporate cultures.