Know Who You Are Hiring
Would you knowingly hire a convicted felon? A sex offender? Someone being hounded by collection agents for thousands of dollars? (We would at least want to know whether the sex offender was a child molester or rapist — or just some poor SOB who got collared the day he turned 18, for continuing to sleep with his 17-year-old girlfriend.)
The fact is, many (if not most) dive operators limit background checks on prospective employees to verifying their instructor credentials and talking to past employers. Some don’t even go that far.
In so far as retailers lose more to employee theft than to shoplifting, you probably don’t want to hire anyone with a larceny conviction on his record. Avoid hiring convicted rapists or child molesters if you teach women and children. Understand that anyone being hounded by collectors for thousands in credit card debt may make some poor decisions he or she would not succumb to ordinarily. And don’t turn the keys to the company truck over to someone who has lost their license due to a DUI.
We’re not saying that some of these folks aren’t worthy of a second chance (although some of the biggest loser employees clients have had have been “Just the nicest person…”). Know what you are getting into. Large corporations screen prospective employees by doing criminal background and credit checks, as well as taking the simple expedient of Googling the applicant’s name. (You can at least do that, can’t you?)
Fortunately, in the dive business, we don’t rely as much on college degrees as some industries do. Nevertheless (and this is the scam), if an applicant claims to have a degree from someplace like Trinity Southern University (go ahead, Google it), you have to ask what else he or she is lying about.
Several companies now offer small businesses the opportunity to do employee background checks for a relatively modest fee. Just make certain that any service you use complies with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).