Upholding Integrity in the Hiring Process -

The Criticality of Honesty Testing When You Bring in New Players


In the dynamic landscape of the US market, where trust and integrity are pivotal, small businesses are facing an escalating challenge: the rising tide of corporate and white-collar crime. This landscape necessitates a vigilant approach to ensure the authenticity and credibility of your workforce – ideally at the start. I actually wrote the bestseller “Taking off the Mask” after observing the sad reality that over 30% of all bankruptcies in the USA were due to employee theft. And the stats are increasing…

This comprehensive article delves into the vital necessity for your organization to test people for honesty:

  • It provides actionable recommendations for identifying tendencies to deceive, 
  • It shares cautionary tales of companies entangled by poor hiring choices,
  • It provides a roadmap to comply with the EEOC guidelines when assessing honesty.


Small businesses heavily rely on relationships built on integrity and trust. Honesty is not merely a virtue but a cornerstone of sustainable growth. The intricate connections in the market underscore that dishonesty in one segment can have a domino effect, impacting the entire ecosystem. As my eBook reveals, focusing on honesty when hiring can literally avoid bankruptcy.


Statistics paint a disquieting picture of the rising crime rates in both corporate and small business domains. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reports that smaller organizations (those with fewer than 100 employees) suffer higher median losses due to fraud compared to larger ones. These losses are a substantial 28% higher. 

The ACFE's findings, coupled with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) report on the increase in cybercrimes targeting small businesses, highlight the urgency for small businesses to implement mechanisms for honesty assessment.


Implementing honesty assessments tailored to small businesses is pivotal in addressing the growing challenges of deception. Several effective methods can be deployed to identify tendencies to lie:

  • Behavioral Interviews: Structured interviews focused on probing past experiences and ethical dilemmas offer a window into a candidate's ethical decision-making process.
  • Personality Assessments: Tools like the Reid Report Integrity Assessment gauge attitudes toward ethics and workplace behavior, aiding in identifying potential integrity challenges.
  • Scenario-Based Testing: Presenting candidates with relevant ethical dilemmas gauges their responses, offering insights into their moral compass and decision-making approach.
  • Reference Checks: Comprehensive checks with previous employers can reveal patterns of behavior and adherence to ethical standards.
  • Background checks: Although only caught criminals are reported in background checks, using the right service company to detect criminals may avoid a lot of trouble – even with the EEOC – as not knowing that you hired a criminal may lead your company to be accused of “negligent hiring” – see below.

At Hirebox we use a unique pre-hire assessment platform which helps employers detect – before it is too late) applicants’ tendency to lie – and, worse, to present false credentials. Visit www.hirebox .com and get your free 2-week trial.


  • The Smith & Co. Scandal: A small accounting firm's reputation was tarnished when a newly hired accountant was discovered to have manipulated financial data, leading to financial losses for the firm and erosion of client trust.
  • The Retail Fiasco: A boutique clothing store experienced employee theft, leading to inventory discrepancies and a significant blow to the store's profitability.
  • The Data Breach Debacle: A small technology startup suffered a data breach due to a dishonest IT professional who had ulterior motives, causing the company to lose sensitive client information and damaging its credibility.
  • The Customer Service Catastrophe: A small restaurant hired an individual with a history of customer service complaints, resulting in a decline in customer satisfaction and negative online reviews.



Understanding the concept of "negligent hiring" is pivotal for small businesses. It mandates reasonable care in hiring decisions to avoid harm to employees, customers, or the public. To sidestep legal predicaments with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when hiring individuals with criminal records, small businesses should:

  • Establish Fair Hiring Policies: Develop policies that account for the nature of the crime, time elapsed since the offense, and its relevance to the job.
  • Conduct Individualized Assessments: Perform thorough assessments of candidates with criminal records, considering factors like rehabilitation and job relevance.
  • Adhere to EEOC Guidelines: Stay informed about EEOC guidelines to avoid discriminatory practices against individuals with criminal records. For example:
  • Develop Clear Assessment Criteria: Define honesty-related criteria that align with the job's essential functions and responsibilities.
  • Prioritize Job Relevance: Ensure that assessments directly relate to the skills, competencies, and ethical standards required for the role.
  • Provide Reasonable Accommodations: Offer accommodations for candidates with disabilities while maintaining the assessment's integrity.
  • Avoid Disparate Impact: Ensure that assessments do not disproportionately affect individuals based on protected characteristics.



The need to test individuals for honesty in your hiring process is not merely a choice but a responsibility. Within the applicable laws, you must protect your organization. As professional recruiters, we at Hirebox have seen too often employers who would blindly hire a “great” candidate with a “perfect” resume – only to realize that our pre-hire assessment was unfortunately right… the candidate had too much to hide.

Everybody must have an equal chance to employment, no matter their background. You want to know about their background because being informed allows you to better evaluate the risks and/or the consequences. But what you definitely want to detect is those applicants who will do their best to hide their criminal history.

Our pre-hire assessment platform offers a unique “insurance policy” against ill-intended, or even criminal candidates who could destroy your business within just a few months, as we have seen too often.

Best success,

Patrick Valtin,

CEO Hirebox