Employee background checks can show you who the hardest working candidates are, but they also give you a window into potential burnout.

Whether we like it or not, our lives today are frantic, busy and fuller than they’ve ever been. Most of us adapt, or at worst grin and bear it, but sometimes, things pile up so much that they just become too much. When life and work combine into a perfect storm of pressure, it can result in burnout, and that can mean losing top talent, whether temporarily or permanently, and that can be a very bad thing.

Here’s a little more about what burnout is, what it can cost you, and how an employee background check can help you to avoid it—even before you make a hiring decision.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a term used to describe a situation where an individual has been subjected to ongoing stress in their personal and professional lives. This stress results in mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, and can result in people “shutting down” in part or totally.

Different people have different thresholds for burnout, but if there is endless stress in someone’s lives, whatever that stress may be related to, it’s likely that at some point, they will become burned out. When that happens, they will start to feel helpless and hopeless, become cynical and negative, and basically give up on things that matter at home or at work. That’s bad news for them, and very bad news for their employers and teams.

Who Is Most Likely to Become Burned Out?

The bad news for bosses is that the people most likely to suffer burnout are also some of the best candidates. They’re likely to be idealists, who are hardworking, and high achievers. They’re people who care deeply, and who are likely to push themselves even when they can’t do anymore, just to deliver results.

Thanks to societal and family pressures, and the need to please that seems to be built into most women, they’re also more likely to suffer burnout than their male counterparts.

How an Employee Background Check Can Help

An employee background check won’t give you a crystal ball to see into the future, but it can help to identify candidates who might be at risk for burnout.

If the candidate you’re interested in has spent years working crazy hours, and is hyper focused on their jobs, they may well be on track for burn out. Don’t exclude them for it, but make sure that you discuss it during your interviews. Find out if they have achieved work life balance, and ask them how they relax and destress. If they have developed ways to leave the office in the office, and are finding balance, then that’s a good sign that they might be learning to manage stress.

After You Hire

Even if you do end up hiring the type A high achiever, there’s always a risk that they might still burn out, and that can still hurt your company productivity and morale. Implement policies limiting overtime, and make sure that the people who work the hardest and give their all at work take enough time to enjoy life and put their feet up too.

Sometimes, you need to get people out of the office to get more out of them.

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