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Background Checks and Dating

Background checks and dating may seem like an odd couple at first glance. One more accustomed to the corporate world, the other purely in the social. But it never hurts to know who you’re getting into bed with in either realm. At least that was Tinder’s idea when it recently partnered with non-profit background screening service Garbo to add a new background check feature to its ubiquitous dating app. For $2.50 per check, Garbo will run a background screening on your new match. While there have been some privacy concerns raised, many of the same reasons you’d want to run a background check apply to both realms. We’ll break down some of the top reasons to conduct background checks in the workplace and how they apply to the online dating space as well.

Staying Safe 

The most obvious reason to perform a background screening is to protect the well-being of your employees, company, and clients. Most employers consider it a moral obligation to provide for the safety of their employees and clients. The company’s officers also have a fiduciary duty to protect the company itself.

For these reasons, many corporate campuses and large office buildings have security checkpoints and access cards or badges required for entry. This is all well and good, but what happens when you let a wolf into the henhouse? Unfortunately, this happens more often than we like to believe and the results can be catastrophic.

Whether posing a danger to employees and clients or the company’s well-being, background checks can at least help identify past actions that could be indicators of future behavior. If someone has a history of violent crime, they may still pose a danger to the physical safety of those in the office. If someone has a history of embezzlement, they might not be the best fit for your controller position.

Similarly, when an individual is considering meeting a potential date for the first time in person, there can be a real fear for personal safety. After all, this person is a stranger they’re letting into a small piece of their lives. Tinder’s new background screening feature lets people know if their matches have a history of violent crime that could put them at risk should they decide to meet in person.

Did They Really Earn That Degree?

Background checks can tell you a lot about a person beyond whether or not they pose a threat to safety. For instance, any good background check will include a check of degrees earned. While not a perfect predictor of future performance, graduating from a top school with honors or holding more advanced degrees can indicate both a strong work ethic and subject matter knowledge level. If you’re looking to hire an accountant, the person, at a minimum, should be a CPA. If you’re hiring someone as a business affairs associate, it might be good to ensure they actually graduated from law school.  When searching for a new receptionist, checking for a high school diploma could be an important criterion for selection. Education, at any level, could be critical to job success and, therefore, should be verified.

Adjacent to background checks, but equally important would be actually calling the applicant’s references. Particularly if they held a similar or immediately junior positions in the past, speaking with some of their former employers can be very helpful in ascertaining whether or not they can get the job done.

At this point in time, Tinder’s background screenings through Garbo won’t include a check for degrees earned as their main concern is ensuring the physical safety of the user. Any discussion of whether or not to include that feature in the future would likely have to balance its utility to the user against the intrusiveness level toward the person having the check performed on them.

Find Out if They’re Honest

Sometimes, applicants lie. It can be about something substantive that will affect their ability to perform the essential functions of the job, or it could be about something with little relevance to this particular position. However, by lying on a resume or other application document, this individual has immediately shown they cannot be trusted. They could be the most qualified applicant in the world other than that they lied about receiving one minor award, but that alone should be enough to raise major red flags. Whatever the motivation, there is no assurance they won’t lie again. Now, there is no assurance that any applicant or employee won’t lie to you at some point, but by starting the relationship in this way, you have the opportunity to nip this potential problem in the bud.

Without checking things like criminal and employment histories, prospective employers sometimes won’t know the applicant’s character until it’s too late and the damage has been done. And cleaning up after the fact is always messier than preventing the spill in the first place.

The connection between the business world and the dating world is about as parallel here as possible. When looking for a romantic partner, it’s imperative that they be trustworthy. This is the person you’re hoping to spend the rest of your life with and if they’re lying to you from the very beginning, that doesn’t bode very well for the future.

Reduce Your Liability

In addition to any moral obligation the employer feels toward their employees and clients, they are potentially legally liable for most of the things that happen in the workplace. So, if someone they hired and neglected to perform a background check on does something violent in the office, then those affected could sue the company for damages and potentially win. By conducting a background check and weeding out the applicants with problematic or fraudulent histories, the employer is showing it performed proper due diligence during the hiring process, so if the unthinkable should happen, the company won’t have any legal liability.

The issue of liability is being hotly debated right now regarding Tinder’s offered background checks. Many have noted that by offering this type of service, Tinder has put the affirmative responsibility of verifying that its users aren’t dangerous on its other users. Some think that Tinder should perform background screenings on all users, thereby ensuring that any potentially foreseeable events are avoided.

Have Peace of Mind

While all of the benefits up until this point have been concrete and directed toward the company as a whole, this last one is for those directly involved in the hiring process and senior leadership. Peace of mind is a glorious thing not easily attained in today’s world. You have enough to worry about during the selection process without having to ensure someone wasn’t omitting certain information from their application or lying during the interview. By performing a background check through a company you can trust, you are afforded that rare commodity.

Another area with obvious parallels is peace of mind, which is valuable in any area of life. Dating in particular is one where peace of mind can be harder come by than most. That’s why Tinder’s addition of background screening capabilities is so exciting to many. Knowing at least some basic safety-related background information can provide a baseline level of comfort before meeting someone in person.

Background Checks and Dating: Conclusion

Trying to find the right person in today’s complex employment landscape can be daunting. It’s not often the right culture fit with appropriate skills that can start when you need them to walks through your door. Background, employment, and reference checks are here to ensure that the person is who they claim to be in all respects, someone who can handle all the job responsibilities associated with the position and won’t present a danger to anyone else employed at, or affiliated with, the company.

The same is essentially true in the dating world. At the end of the day, most of us just want someone we can trust to go through life with. Tinder is simply tapping into what’s been in use for years in corporate America to help make online dating as safe as possible by providing a background screening option.

PeopleG2 is a leading provider of background screening services. Combining a human touch with automated systems provides fast and accurate background checks for several different industries and verticals. Find out more about what PeopleG2 can do for you by visiting their website.

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