The festive season and long weekends are a prime time for South Africans to take the opportunity to take some time off.

For an employee, it’s as simple as filling out a leave form; on the other hand, for the organization, it may not be as simple.

Don’t slip; Perform background screening on every employee. 

Industries such as travel, retail and hospitality hardly wholly die down and experiencing peak seasons throughout the year.

These businesses hire temporary staff to help out with the demand or as a substitute while an employee has taken leave. 

Other business outside those mentioned above also hires temps to help out in the case an employee is on maternity/paternity, sabbatical or annual leave. 

It’s great to get extra help, so it’s business as usual, but this often leads to business owners being so concerned about the company functioning normally and training the temp that they often forget to perform background screening checks on their temp staff. 

Rudi Kruger, general manager of Risk Solutions at LexisNexis Data Services, says: “Temporary workers are often provided with some level of access to a company’s data and resources. This makes it imperative to have all the necessary facts about the prospective temp before the hire, as access to information should never be given to questionable characters. “For example, a temp operating in the finance department may not have enough power to execute a full-blown scheme, but the individual could have enough information on the inner workings of your business to know how to skim your cash flow.” 

Are temporary workers worth the “expense.” 

Many overlook background screening for temps because they view them as an unnecessary expense. Hiring a temp in most cases is cheaper, and that gets business owners excited that they’ll be getting an employee for less. 

Identity checks are amongst the standard checks performed when hiring new staff. They consist of: 

  •  ID Verification
  •  Citizenship Verification
  •  Home Affairs Verification
  •  Permanent Residency
  •  SA Work Permit
  •  Asylum Permit
  •  Bank Account Verification

The checks above help you verify that a person is who they say they are. These aren’t free and in most cases is the reason why when hiring temps they’re not done.

This is an extra cost that at times doesn’t seem worth it. Which poses the question are tempory workers less valuable than permanent workers?

There Are Dangers Associated With Not Screening Temp Staff

For many businesses, the hiring process for temps is not as stringent as it is for permanent staff.

If background screening is a necessary step in the hiring process, why isn’t so when it comes to hiring temporary staff? 

Yes, the team may be there for a limited time, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t pose any risk to your organization.

The sole purpose for background screening is to make informed decisions and mitigate risk, furthermore to hire the ‘right’ fit.

Skipping this process may lead to hiring incompetent and unfavourable temporary staff, which is inconvenient for business regardless if it’s short term.

“Conducting background screening on temporary hires is not only about protecting your business from theft, but it’s also for the brand. Reputational damage takes a long time to fix, while it takes minutes to do, especially in the digital age we’re living in. Not screening temporary workers is a risk that’s not worth it.” Sipho Ngcobo, CEO of Dots Africa.

We’ve highlighted the importance of conducting background screening on temps, but it’s also important to highlight the legal side.

The same laws that protect full-time applicants also apply to temps, meaning you’d have to get consent from the applicant authorizing you to perform the background checks.

It is illegal to perform any check on a temporary worker without their acknowledgement.

Dos and Don’ts when hiring temp staff. 

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) compiled a list of dos and don’ts for effective background screening for holiday staff: 

  • Don’t try the do-it-yourself approach to background screening. Conducting a Google search or quickly checking social media is not adequate or appropriate for vetting potential employees and could leave you open to legal issues.
  • Do hire a professional background screener. Partnering with a professional will ensure you obtain the most comprehensive and accurate data to help make informed hiring decisions.
  • Do treat all employees the same during the background screening process. Whether full-time, part-time or seasonal, they are still your employees and will most likely be interacting with your customers every day. The classification of their employment should not change the need for conducting a background screen.
  • Do make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities as an employer under the law. Background checks are subject to state and federal laws intended to protect those being screened, so obtain an understanding of what you are required to do by law to avoid penalties.
  • Don’t fail to communicate with the job applicant. Notify the applicant before conducting a background check and allow enough time for the individual to resolve any disputes related to information on the background check.


Employers need to take the same precautions for short term staff as they would for permanent staff.

If you think about it, short term staff can quickly become permanent, and in the case you like someone’s work ethic and personality, you won’t want to lose them and may consider to take them on full time. 

You don’t consider that they may have a criminal record, not qualified or are nasty people that are cyberbullying after hours.

The above mentioned can be picked up by background screening and mitigate risk for you, and if you had done a background check, it ould be more comfortable to take them on as permanent staff immediately. 

In today’s economy, you can’t afford to make preventable mistakes that could cost your business in the long run.

Consulting a background screening service provider is an affordable and convenient way of preventing silly mistakes.  

While a tempory social media specialist may pose less risk to the business compared to a finance administrator yet performing background screening on both ensures that you’re on the safe side and won’t be incurring damaging situations.

The hiring of short term and full-time staff should merely be the same process and treated with the same weight.

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