Discerning an Applicants' Morals a Tough Hiring Challenge

March 8, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Hiring managers may be good at rooting out dishonest applicants, but a candidate's moral character and likelihood to react badly to workplace stress is another story.

A majority (75 %) said the most likely area to be missed by screening is the quality of the candidate’s moral character, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Meanwhile, 50% said substance abuse is another area that is likely or very likely to be overlooked by employee screening while some 8% said educational background is the information most likely to be missed by the screening process.

However, without a reliable method of assessing moral character or general workplace proficiency, companies are still vulnerable to bad hires, which can be quite costly for employers to roll back, the survey found.

Another problem area is the difficulty of obtaining meaningful employment records. While three-fourths of survey respondents said this information is unlikely or very unlikely to be missed by screening methods, many acknowledged that most former employers will only confirm that a person worked there between certain dates. .

“With unethical and/or criminal behavior among high-level executives very much in the spotlight, companies are undoubtedly exploring more ways to judge a candidate’s character so that they can prevent future financial, legal and public relations disasters,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “At the moment, however, such measurements appear to be out of reach for most employers.”

The survey covered 100 human resource executives.