How to avoid fraudulent hiring during the holidays

“The pressure to remain fully staffed around the holidays, particularly in retail, often drives companies to take short-cuts,” says Yves Lermusi, CEO, Checkster. “A company’s best defense against hiring fraudsters is through a complete background and reference check — and temporary seasonal positions are no exception.

The months between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve present firms with several challenges-across all industries. The majority of their tried and true hands will all be leaving at once, which means companies both can’t afford to endure unprofitable risks, while concurrently needing to make snap judgment decisions with greater exigence for the better half of two months. According to the National Retail Federation, distributors in particular will hire up to 590,000 seasonal workers in this window. Of course, the same scrutiny can’t be applied to a quantity this large. What are the costs that accompany choosing wrong?

A new Checkter study reports that because of the extra responsibility and limited time,  most companies will forgo important reference checks, allowing more fraudulent applicants to fall through the cracks. The research within determined that 26% of retail candidates were deemed by their own references as low probabilities for rehire, which means 26% of the sizable sample hired during the holiday season, would not be rehired upon review of following tenure. The most damage comes in the form of finance and inventory shrinkage-accomplished  by a combination of stealing merchandise, shorting registers, offering inappropriate discounts or failing to charge friends for items. Collectively, the report calculates that inventory shrinkage costs American retailers over $45 billion each year, with roughly 42% enacted by employees from within.

“While there are many tactics that can ensure a successful hire, the single most important action is screening, screening and more screening,” explains Lermusi. “The new digital reference checking process gets to the truth about candidates and saves hiring managers time, money, and stress in the long run.”

To avoid profit loss consequenced by Holiday influx, the experts at Checkter recommend the following:

  • Ask your best employees for referrals. If they are a good fit for your company, they may have friends or family who will be too. The trusted employee is also already a reliable reference for the potential candidate.
  • Retirees can be a great resource. They have built-in flexibility and may love and excel at the social interactions that come with a seasonal retail job.
  • Conduct face-to-face or video chat interviews whenever possible. Particularly in retail, interpersonal skills and likability matter a lot, and cannot necessarily be coached, especially in the short term.
  • Screen, screen, and screen! The process of checking references and getting to the truth about a candidate is the best way to protect yourself from a bad hire.