Most problem employees can be discovered using basic due diligence. Trusting your intuition about an employee is not going to cover you in the case of a lawsuit.
More often than not, work history alone is an excellent indicator of troublesome employees:
Employees who sue their previous employers often sue again – conduct a civil suits check.
Employees who commit violence are often repeat offenders – check criminal history records.
Employees who harass or make trouble are often repeat offenders – conduct an employment verification and professional reference check.
Gaps in employment and a number of jobs that lasted only a few months are red flag indicators. Perhaps there are good explanations for these warning signs, but sure to follow up on your concerns through good investigations processes.
Responses to your questions should not be vague. The candidate should be able to explain gaps in employment and reasons for leaving a job. Follow up responses with more questions, drill down for the details.
The last thing hiring managers and companies want to face is liability for negligent hiring. Take care during the hiring process to protect yourself.