MADISON, WI--(Marketwire - February 2, 2011) - It's not just hard finding good help these days -- it's hard finding honest help, too.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately 75 percent of all employees steal from work in some way. What's worse is that about 30 percent of all corporate bankruptcies are a direct result of employee theft. With the problem so widespread, many companies simply factor those losses into their yearly projections, and then hope it's not worse by year's end. But Denis Collins, author of "Essentials of Business Ethics" (, believes there is another alternative -- simply hire better.

Collins' tips for managers include:

  • Obey Legal Ground Rules -- While there are many questions the law forbids you to ask job candidates to eliminate discrimination, there are still many questions you can ask.

  • Use Ethics-Based Interview Questions -- Too many interviewers gloss over questions that test an individual's character. Ask the candidate how he or she responded at a previous job to someone stealing, engaging in sexual harassment, or cutting corners at the cost of high ethical standards. Ask them if a superior ever requested that they do something unethical and, if so, how did they react.

  • Review Behavioral Information -- Behavioral information can be gathered about job candidates through resumes, reference checks, background checks and some basic integrity tests that quiz candidates through "what would you do" style situations.

  • Test Personality Traits -- The traits that govern whether an employee is more or less inclined to be dishonest include conscientiousness, organizational citizenship behavior, and social dominance. For the first two, you want to see high scores -- not so much on the last one. Again, personality tests are widely available to test these traits.

  • Other Tests -- Some of the most revealing tests are the obvious ones -- alcohol tests, drug tests and even polygraph tests, when permitted by law. Many candidates may object to these as employment requirements, but in a world in which seven percent of our entire economy goes up in smoke from employee theft and fraud, companies should not feel shy about drawing a line in the sand.

About Dr. Denis Collins

Professor Denis Collins is Professor of Business at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. He is responsible for Social Responsibility and Business Ethics components in the school's Business Programs.

Contact Information:

Russ Handler