Excerpted from BOSS Magazine By BOSS Editorial Team
Not long ago, even the most minor hires held a lot of gravity. You would spend time tracking down the right person or company, do your due diligence, and meet with them in person.
However, today’s world is way too immediate to work like that. If you went to the same lengths now, you would fall behind your competitors in no time. You don’t have time to delve deep into the history of every single individual you do business with.
But online background check services have made the process much easier and, more importantly, far more immediate. You can find out everything there is to know about someone, including criminal records, credit problems, as well as anything untoward they’ve done online.
Should you run a background check on freelancers or other temporary hires? When it comes to full-time employees there’s no question about it. But what about the day-to-day stuff? Does it matter if a freelancer you hire has a criminal history?
The truth is that some things really don’t matter that much anymore. If you find out that someone, you’re paying has a criminal record for a nonviolent offence that’s not related to your line of work, chances are you’ll be happy to continue working with them. Their past is their own business, and if problems arise, you just won’t hire them again.
However, what can come back to bite you is social media and online “offenses.” If someone who is writing for you, for example, has a history of making inflammatory, bigoted remarks, this can be devastating for your image. Think about it. When a company’s Twitter account tweets something offensive, you immediately start thinking differently about that company, even after they’ve explained that it was one rogue individual.
Do a background check and decide if there’s anything online that could lead to your downfall if you do business with this person. Some risks are worth taking. In other cases, there are plenty more fish in the sea.
While a freelancer’s past doesn’t matter for the most part, unless it can be linked back to you, there are certain red flags you should look out for. A criminal record which includes financial crimes should instantly make you wary. You’re going to be paying this person to do a job, and you want to be sure they won’t disappear with any advances or in the middle of a project only they can finish.
When it comes to your business, the last thing you need is someone unscrupulous about money. Financial crimes can disqualify a person. As can a long history of bad credit that only ended recently.
Finally, it is worth finding out what, if any, connection this person has with your competitors. There’s nothing wrong with one freelancer doing work for multiple companies in the same niche. However, it is best that you are aware of it, and careful with any privileged information you share.