employment background screening, vetting, credentialing, criminal, civil

To Check or Not to Check…That is the Question

Normally, when we hear the words “background check,” we think of an employer checking the criminal history of a potential employee, or of a property manager delving into the rental history of a tenant.  But what happens when the person you are performing a background check on is your new business partner?

The women of Bravo channel’s “Married to Medicine” found out that while background checks do not always make comfortable bedfellows, they can sometimes reveal interesting, and perhaps damaging, information.  The season three opener of the show, entitled “Background Check Yourself” dealt largely with the anger, hurt, and confusion caused by Lisa Nicole Cloud when she decided to run a background investigation on another woman, Quad Webb-Lunceford, after the two discussed a possible business relationship.  As a result, Quad felt it only fair to reciprocate by conducting a background check on Lisa Nicole.  According to a producer of the show, the two women fought so badly on the show that he had to step in to referee the fight.  “Stories of drama, seduction, and betrayal were bandied about, which led to an unfortunate situation that they’re both sure to regret,” he said later of the scuffle between the two women that resulted in flying glass and at least one minor injury.

The reality is, conducting a background check on a potential business partner amounts to nothing more than simple due diligence.  Making the decision to go into business – with or without a partner – is a big deal.  When a partner is added into the mix, that partner becomes one more risk that must be mitigated.  While the probability is high that nothing more than a minor incident or two will come to light, the possibility is real that larger issues, previously hidden, may be revealed during this vetting and credentialing process.

Just as you would want to ensure that your vendors, financial advisors, and employees are above reproach, so too should you demand the same level of trustworthiness from your partner.  Research backs up the need for background screening in business: 46% of resumes show discrepancies, according to a recent study of employer’s background screening processes, CTPartners found that 64% of candidates overstate their accomplishments.  Worse, a KPMG study found that top-level managers are responsible for 53% of all workplace fraud.

Some red flags you should look for when screening a business partner would be:

  • Financial problems: things like bankruptcy, poor credit, tax liens, and other financial problems should give you pause, even if your business partner will not be contributing financially to the business.
  • Ethical issues: pending (or prior) litigation and bad press are both signs that your potential business partner might not be the right fit for your business.
  • Personal issues: these run the gamut from divorce to health issues and any of them may keep your new partner from being able to fully commit, fully focus, on the job at hand.

All of these issues warrant a conversation with your potential business partner, at the very least.  There is always a possibility that there is a simple explanation that will eliminate any alarm raised by negative information in the background check.  On the other hand, minor “red flags” like speeding tickets, traffic violations, and poor academic records are probably nothing to worry about.

At The Cedalius Group, the employment background screening provider you can trust, we understand how important your business is to you.  We know the work that goes into building a company, and how important it is for you to surround yourself with highly motivated and trustworthy people.  We offer employment background screening solutions for all situations – call us today at 404.963.9862 or contact us online to learn more about our products and services!

The Cedalius Group offers insight into the background screening industry for educational purposes.  We always recommend you consult with your legal counsel to determine practices that best suit your business needs.