Cleaning Services & Security Concerns

Suppose you are at a train station struggling with two heavy bags and a total stranger appears out of nowhere and offers to carry one of the bags. Would you trust him or her? If you are a sensible person, you wouldn’t. Your approach to hiring your employees should be the same. Why should you let anyone you know nothing about work in your organization? He or she could be a thief who would steal at the first opportunity available, a criminal on the run from the law, a pedophile who will bring shame to the company, a conman who is not what he claims to be, or a spy working for your competitor. This is the reason no commercial cleaning company of repute hires janitors without a rigorous background check.

Should background checks be required for everyone?

No one should be taken at face value. Background checks should be done for everyone and for all levels of employees — from janitors to CEOs and from full-time employees to part-time employees. When it comes to security, it is always better to take the time to be safe now than be sorry later. Employers know the value of a background check. Surveys have shown that 70 percent of employers in the United States conduct background checks of job applicants before hiring them.

One of the reasons employers conduct a background check is to make sure the applicant is telling the truth, such as he or she did go to the university mentioned in his or her resume. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of resumes contain false or tweaked information. A thorough background check often reveals the truth. If you are outsourcing your cleaning services to a commercial cleaning company, make sure the janitors who will be working for you were hired after a rigorous background check.

Can you conduct a background check without the knowledge of the applicant?

While background checks are meant to protect the employer, there is a chance some employers could use them for dishonest purposes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires employers to obtain written permission from job applicants before conducting a background check on them. If you find any information that leads you to decide against hiring an applicant, you are required to inform the applicant and give him or her a copy of the report. Also, the information obtained from background checks cannot be used to discriminate against the applicants based on their race, sex, age, religion, nationality, disability, and genetics.

When interviewing anyone for a job opening in your organization, make sure to request and obtain written permission before conducting a background check. If you are hiring a commercial cleaning company, make sure its janitors have been subjected to a background check with their permission.

When should background checks be conducted?

Background checks should be conducted during the hiring process and before offering the job to a candidate. If the job is offered to a candidate before the checks are complete, it must be made known to him or her the offer is contingent upon the results of the checks and the offer could be withdrawn if something negative is found. This is one of the purposes of the 60-day or 90-day probation period. During this time, you should not only evaluate the employee’s job performance but also conduct a background check if you haven’t.
If security is important to you, then every employee should be subjected to a background check, including janitors, either during the process of hiring or during his or her probation period. If you are outsourcing your cleaning to a commercial cleaning Los Angeles company, every janitor who works for you or will be working for you must pass a background check.

What information should be included in a background check?

The following information should be included in a background check:

• Credit report check: A credit check provides valuable information about a potential candidate’s spending habits and whether he or she can be trusted not to steal or embezzle money. A credit report includes the candidate’s full name, current address, previous names, and addresses (if any), Social Security Number, debts incurred (such as credit card debt, mortgage, car loan, and student loans), and payment history, including late payments.

• Alcohol and drug tests: You don’t want an alcoholic or a drug user working for you and messing up things, do you? There are several types of drug tests you can ask the candidates to take, such as breath test, urine test, saliva test, blood test, and hair specimen analysis. If you are hiring a commercial cleaning Los Angles company, find out if it requires its janitors to take drug and alcohol tests regularly.

• Criminal records check: Employing a person with a criminal history endangers other employees, jeopardizes the company’s security, and may tarnish the company’s image if he or she does something wrong. A person’s criminal record provides a comprehensive history of his or her criminal activities if there are any. In the United States, criminal histories are maintained by law enforcement agencies in all three levels of government — local, state, and federal.

• Employment verification: Is a potential employee legally entitled to work in the United States? As an employer, it is your duty to find out. Candidates often lie, but they can’t hide the truth if you do some digging. Ask them to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form). Warn them if they are found to have given false information, their service will be immediately terminated, and they will be reported to the authorities. If you are outsourcing your cleaning to a commercial cleaning Los Angeles company, ask it if every janitor has filled out an I-9 Form.

• What former employers have to say: Former employers are often a good source of information about a potential employee. They can also legally release information other than employment, job title, and salary. If your approach them, they can give a good insight into the candidate’s character, which can be valuable in determining whether he or she would be a good fit your organization.

Because all their work is done behind the scenes, you might not think that the quality of your janitors are not too important, but the consequences of hiring the wrong one can be terrible from a security point of view. If you don’t want potential thieves, and/or criminals jeopardizing the safety of everyone, then make it a company policy to subject every potential employee to a rigorous background check. When hiring a commercial cleaning company, make sure it has done the same. It will save you time, money, and trouble.