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How To Avoid Hiring Nightmare Employees

You know who they are.  Every employer, unless they have amazing luck, have had at least one of them pass through their doors.

The "nightmare employees" aka NEs have a hard time arriving on time (and have a myriad of excuses why they can't), freely use company resources (ranging from company phones to PCs to email services) to make extended personal phone calls to their mothers, wives, husbands, boyfriends, kids, nannies etc.,

They also sneak out early and run their side businesses and/or projects while they are on your time.

They may steal company supplies ranging from pads and pens to food, sodas and water, provided for the rest of the company.

Nightmare employees (NEs) rarely work an honest full day and have to be micromanaged constantly. Even with micromanagement, they take it as a challenge to rebelliously do whatever they want on company time.

They rarely if ever meet deadlines and none of the other employees like them at all.

Even worse NEs have a sense of entitlement that because they work at the company, they are doing everyone a huge favor and don't have to play by the rules everyone else does.

Never Taking Responsibility

What happens when NEs are called on their various transgressions?  Instead of taking responsibility for their obviously improper behaviors they become belligerent.

Why are they being asked to follow corporate rules against personal use of phones (or using Gmail chat or Facebook) to do non-business related chatting all day long?

Yes of course they then refuse to take responsibility for their own actions when they do a horrible job or lie about their reasons for everything.  It's never their fault.  It's the fault of their "idiot" or "stupid" boss who they call all sorts of names behind their back because it makes them feel better and they don't have to accept responsibility for their own digressions.

NEs often can't do the job they were hired to do, make constant mistakes and become even more angry and hostile when they are discovered doing all their personal business on company time when they are being paid to do company work.  Duh, what a concept.

Nightmare employees will rarely take any responsibility for even their own destructive actions unless the employer has all of the documentation to prove what they've been up to.

Business Study Indicated Over 20% Of Employers Are Recording Employee Phone Calls

A recent business study indicated a large number of employers (over 20% and growing) are recording employee phone calls during working hours and reading their personal emails, Gmail chats and Facebook postings.

(Image by Tamer aka TATLICI - All Rights Reserved).

Is this an invasion of employee privacy?  No. Not at all.

In fact, as a lawyer and HR Consultant recently explained to me, any activity an employee takes on company time with company resources while they are being paid to work for that company, is owned 100% by the employer and can be used at the employer's discretion.

Therefore, it's not illegal to tape record employee conversations and this is especially true if the employee in question has a history of violating published company policies.

Note to employees, while you may dream of putting your employer in jail for recording your work phone calls or invading your privacy, the minute you step foot on your employer's property, they own your time because they are paying you to be there.

(Image by Tamer aka TATLICI - All Rights Reserved).

If you don't like that your extended fights with your spouse being recorded and scrutinized, either do your job so there is no problem, or work somewhere else.  It's as simple as that.

Prevention Is The Best Long Term Solution

For employers, the key is to find these "nightmare employees" before you hire them in the first place.  Prevention is always best when possible.

In today's economy when there are so many people looking for jobs there is no reason to hire an employee that is chronically tardy, surfs the web instead of doing their job, Gmail chats with their spouse and sends out resumes to other companies on your time.

Do A Complete Background Check Before You Hire Them

The key is to do a complete and thorough background check before you hire them.  It doesn't matter if the prospective employee shows up with 100 letters of glowing reference.

Anyone can get just about anybody to say anything good about them.  Who knows, they might have bought their letters, and yes, you can buy letters of reference these days.

What does matter is to do a complete and exhaustive background check on prospective employees with their former employers.  That's where the real information will reside.

Get Former Employers To Legally Sing Like A Canary

So how do you get a former employer to sing like a canary?  As a prospective employer have all prospective new hires sign a full waiver that gives you their full and complete permission to talk to a prospective employee's former employers, check all their credit activity and any past, current or pending legal issues ranging from the prospective employee being sued to them suing anyone and over what.

Be sure to get an ironclad full waiver from your corporate attorney so that any employers of former nightmare employees are willing to talk to you without risk of legal action from the former employee.

(Image of Yufuyf - All Rights Reserved).

If you get a full no-holds barred waiver from a prospective employee you can even get copies of the former employee's personal file which would tell the true story of that prospective employee's actions at previous companies.

In Today's Challenging Unemployment Market

In today's job market no employer should ever have to suffer through hiring a nightmare employee.

If you have a full waiver that gives you rights to fully check a prospective new hire's background including their credit and former employment, you will get a true picture.

A Prospective Employee Refuses To Sign A Background Check Waiver

If a prospective employee refuses to give you a full waiver for a complete background check, this should be a red flag warning. In fact, you may want to abandon your thoughts of hiring this prospective employee at that point.

What are they trying to hide if they refuse to sign a background check waiver?  If they appear nervous about letting you receive full disclosure from former employers, this is a big warning bell.

If they viciously badmouth their last employer and everything was the employer's fault, this is also a warning.  There are always two sides to every story.  I never hire a prospective employee who attacks their former employers in job interviews.

Is The Prospective Employee Involved In Any Legal Action Against Former Employers?

Be sure to also check if the prospective employee is currently bringing a lawsuit against any other party and for what reason.  This is also very telling. Think Heidi and Spencer and their lawsuit against NBC after appearing willingly on their TV show.

Prospective employees who love to sue people and/or former employers may someday try to sue you if you hire them.   Do you want that type of employee working for you?  Do you want to constantly look over your shoulder knowing a new hire sues at the drop of a hat?

In today's business world disgruntled former employees who may have been discharged for misconduct look for any and all possible excuses to take any type of legal action against a former employer for every imaginable reason.   Which is why you always need a good attorney to be prepared and to avoid hiring NEs with a history of suing former employers off your employment roles.

Most of the time there is no valid reason for former employee lawsuits except to vent anger and attempt revenge against the former employer.  This also allows the the employee to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions which resulted in them losing their jobs in the first place.

Do You Want New Employees Who Sued Former Employers?

However, as a prospective employer, do you want to hire a new employee who sued a former employer?

Even worse, would you want to hire a new employee who was sued by their former employer for criminal or other inappropriate corporate activities?

Employees Who Deliberately Sabotage Corporate Operations

With employee misconduct on the rise an increasing number of corporations are stepping up and taking legal actions against employees who deliberately undertake activities that put a business at financial risk in some manner.

Since employers are now legally taping phone conversations, reading emails and chats, employees who undertake any deliberate sabotage of a company can be sued and can even go to jail.

Forensic Computer Experts Who Can Reconstruct Wiped Hard Drives & Deleted Histories

There is also the availability of forensic computer experts who can take a computer and reconstruct history of an employee's use of that computer, activity trails, deleted emails and Gmail chats.  Even if the employee deleted the files or tried to cover their tracks, they can be reconstructed to provide criminal or malicious intent documentation.

Yes, I know all about forensic computer experts and know a few good ones, but that's another blog, for another day.

How To Avoid Hiring Nightmare Employees

Bottom line, all employers today should be extremely careful about doing background checks of all prospective employees.  I can't stress this enough.  Not only will you be saving yourself from suffering through a nightmare employee, but you will be saving yourself from losing good employees who refuse to deal with any bad apples you might bring into the fold.

Always Have A Great Attorney On Your Speed Dial

One final piece of advice for employers.  Always have great attorneys on retainer who can make sure that everything you do is legal to protect your from nightmare employees.  Make sure to get a full legal waiver so you can do full and complete background checks on any and all prospective employees, no matter how nice they seem or how many letters of reference they have with them.

There is no reason you can't protect yourself, your company and your other employees who do a great job and work hard for you.

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