Guidelines for Use of Employment Credit Reports in Ohio

As we’ve discussed a number of times in the past, there are a number of restrictions, recommendations, guidelines, etc. about how to use a credit report when making a hiring decision. We found these guidelines on the Ohio Civil Rights Newsletter from October. They are worth the read if you currently utilize or are considering utilizing credit reports for your hiring decisions in the state of Ohio. The following paragraph taken from the newsletter give you the gist:

In the light of the discriminatory impact on minority job applicants, employers should be extremely cautious in their use of consumer credit reports as a tool for screening job applicants. The policy guidance, as approved, makes clear that when an applicant is denied employment on the basis of his or her consumer credit report, the employer should have valid, objective proof–preferably in the form of a job validation study–that its use of these reports is not only related to the job in question, but also based upon a business necessity. More

Hurry Up and Wait: DHS to Revise No-Match Rule

The on-again off-again drama with the DHS No Match initiative continues according to this legislative update from Seyfarth Shaw.

On Friday, November 23, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested that a federal judge stay the litigation regarding its new Social Security “no match” rule. Rather than proceed with the litigation, DHS plans to revise the rule to address the court’s concerns about the rule’s legality. DHS intends to begin a new rulemaking process in December. More

Will this political game of hot potato ever end?

Upcoming Events

The following is a list of events that EmployeeScreenIQ will be attending, speaking and, or exhibiting at in the coming months:

Corporate College Interview Day

Interested in a great sales opportunity?

Come visit with [EmployeeScreenIQ](http://EmployeeScreen.com) at Corporate College located at 4400 Richmond Heights in Warrensville Heights, Ohio

November 12, 2009

Email your resume to jobs@employeescreen.com to schedule an appointment

If you have a passion for sales, a proven track record in business development and are interested in working with a leader in the pre-employment background screening industry, then we want to talk to you!

Kent State University Career Fair

Interested in a great sales opportunity?

Come visit with [EmployeeScreenIQ](http://EmployeeScreen.com)

October 28, 2009 at 12:00PM-4:00PM EST

Kent State Student Ballroom

We are currently seeking an Account Executive to add to our high-powered, successful sales team. In this position, you will be responsible for helping our company continue our rapid growth by building business relationships with new and/or potential clients. You will also be responsible to uphold our strong standards of excellence and dedication by offering our clients the best in terms of product and customer service. If you have the drive to work in a fast paced environment, hit our high standards, and grow fast within our organization, then you must apply today!

Past Events

Top Technology Trends in Background Screening](http://jobmachine.net/webinars/techtrendsjan292009)
January 29, 2009

Free [JobMachine Webinar](http://jobmachine.net)
(Speaking Engagement)

Employment screening is greatly impacted by technology. From topics such as vetting job candidates via social networking sites to how to integrate employee screening with ATS and HRIS systems, technology is omnipresent. Join EmployeeScreenIQ’s Executive Vice President, Nick Fishman, for an informative session about technology’s role in the screening process.

Interested in participating in this free webinar? [Sign up here](http://jobmachine.net/webinars/techtrendsjan292009).

NAPBS Annual Conference (Speaking Engagement) (http://napbs.com)

NAPBS Accreditation Program

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

April 20, 2009 at 10:00AM CST

St. Louis, MO at the Hyatt Regency Hotel

What is the [NAPBS Accreditation program](http://blog.EmployeeScreen.com/2008/12/19/national-association-of-professional-background-screeners-to-launch-accreditation-program/)? Morris will speak about program policies, procedures and auditing guidelines in anticipation of the upcoming launch.

SHRM Staffing Management Conference & Exhibition
(Speaking Engagement)
(http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/StaffingManagementConferenceExpo/Pages/educationalsessions.aspx)

Social Networking Sites: Can You Always Trust What You See?

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

April 29 at 7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.

Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel

The social network revolution has changed many communication channels, but should it affect the way job applicants are screened? Sites such as Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn contain a wealth of personal information, but should you trust the information found on these sites? Does this practice pose a threat to possibly violating FCRA and EEOC guidelines and other best practices? Join EmployeeScreenIQ president and C.O.O., Jason B. Morris for this insightful presentation.

Staffing Management Conference & Exposition](http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/StaffingManagementConferenceExpo/Pages/default.aspx)

April 27-29, 2009
Las Vegas Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

In these challenging economic times, talent management strategies will be key to the success of your organization. The SHRM Staffing Management Conference & Exposition provides a broad array of topical education that will help you maximize your ability to attract and retain valuable employees during a difficult labor market.

Upper Ohio Valley SHRM Workshop (Speaking Engagement) (http://upperohiovalley.shrm.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/?a=1&z=1)
May 14, 2009 at 12:00PM EST
2009 Top Technology Trends in Background Screening
Presented by Nick Fishman, EmployeeScreenIQ Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President
Wheeling, WV at Generations Pub

Employment screening is greatly impacted by technology. From topics such as vetting job candidates via social networking sites to how to integrate employee screening with ATS and HRIS systems, technology is omnipresent. Join EmployeeScreenIQ’s Executive Vice President, Nick Fishman, for an informative session about technology’s role in the screening process.

Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resources Issues (Speaking Engagement) (http://www.register123.com/event/profile/web/index.cfm?PKwebID=0x149531b1e2&varPage=home)
May 21, 2009 at 3:45PM CST
Technology’s Role in the Employment Screening Process
Presented by Jason B. Morris, EmployeeScreenIQ President and C.O.O.
Reliant Center in Houston, TX

The goal of this presentation is to inform HR professionals how technology is impacting employment screening and other elements associated with the hiring process.

Hiring professionals need to know that by utilizing technologically advanced screening methods, the hiring process can be more efficient and timely, but these technologies must be used appropriately.

Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE) Annual Conference
(Speaking Engagement)
(http://www.eace.org/conference.html)

Social Networking Sites: Can You Always Trust What You See?

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

June 18, 2009 at 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. est

Buffalo, New York at the Buffalo Marriott Niagara Hotel

The social network revolution has changed many communication channels, but should it affect the way job applicants are screened? Sites such as Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn contain a wealth of personal information, but should you trust the information found on these sites? Does this practice pose a threat to possibly violating FCRA and EEOC guidelines and other best practices? Join EmployeeScreenIQ president and C.O.O., Jason B. Morris for this insightful presentation.

61st Annual Conference and Exposition](http://www.shrm.org/Conferences/annual/Pages/default.aspx)

June 28-July 1, 2009
Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA

Now, more than ever, keeping ahead of HR knowledge is vital to the success of your career and your organization. With new legislation, updated regulations, and an ongoing economic challenge confronting HR professionals in very real ways, the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition will provide you with the tools, techniques and resources to ensure you come out ahead.

10th Annual Illinois SHRM Conference & Expo (Speaking Engagement) (http://www.illinoisshrm.org/index.phtml?menu=side_button&menu2=26&data=&data2=&sessionid=t1240432354m70031300&username=&password=&userhelp=off&cart=)

Technology’s Role in the Employment Screening Process

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. and Nick Fishman, Chief Marketing Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ

July 23, 2009 at 1:45PM CST

Dekalb, IL at Northern Illinois University

* Social Networking Sites: Can You Trust What You See?
(Speaking Engagement)
August 17, 2009 at 11:15AM-1:15PM EST and August 18, 2009 at 6:00-8:00PM

Event Held by [Devore Technologies](http://devore.com) at their corporate headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

2009 Ohio Human Resource Conference](http://www.ohioshrm.org/hr_conf/)

September 16-18, 2009
Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio

Join us at the beautiful Kalahari Resort for the 37th Annual Ohio Human Resource Conference from September 16-18, 2009 for an exciting, educational and fun “HR: Standing Tall.” EmployeeScreenIQ will be exhibiting at this conference.

RecruiterEarth Online Webinar
(Speaking Engagement)
(http://recruiterearth.com/events/free-webinar-social)
October 7, 2009 at 2:00PM-3:00PM EST

Social Networking Sites: Can You Always Trust What You See?

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

Webinar

The social network revolution has changed many communication channels, but should it affect the way job applicants are screened? Sites such as Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn contain a wealth of personal information, but should you trust the information found on these sites? Does this practice pose a threat to possibly violating FCRA and EEOC guidelines and other best practices? Join EmployeeScreenIQ president and C.O.O., Jason B. Morris for this insightful presentation.

23rd Annual Wisconsin SHRM Conference (Speaking Engagement) (http://www.wishrm.org/Conferences/StateConference2009/ConferenceAtAGlance/TopTechnologyTrendsinEmploymentBackgroundScr.aspx)
October 15, 2009 at 3:15PM CST
2009 Top Technology Trends in Background Screening
Presented by Nick Fishman, EmployeeScreenIQ Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President
Wisconsin Dells, WI at Kalahari Resorts

Employment screening is greatly impacted by technology. From topics such as vetting job candidates via social networking sites to how to integrate employee screening with ATS and HRIS systems, technology is omnipresent. Join EmployeeScreenIQ’s Executive Vice President, Nick Fishman, for an informative session about technology’s role in the screening process.

ASIS International Online Webinar
(Speaking Engagement)
(http://www.asisonline.org)
October 21, 2009 at 12:00PM-1:40PM EST

Social Networking Sites: Can You Always Trust What You See?

Presented by Jason B. Morris, President and C.O.O. at EmployeeScreenIQ

Webinar

The social network revolution has changed many communication channels, but should it affect the way job applicants are screened? Sites such as Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn contain a wealth of personal information, but should you trust the information found on these sites? Does this practice pose a threat to possibly violating FCRA and EEOC guidelines and other best practices? Join EmployeeScreenIQ president and C.O.O., Jason B. Morris for this insightful presentation.

Industry News

Articles

Please choose from the following article categories:

#[New Articles](articles/new_articles)

#[Guest Articles](../guest_articles)

#[Trends in Employment Screening Articles](articles/trends_in_employment_screening_articles)

#[Compliance Articles](articles/compliance_articles)

#[Service Spotlight Articles](articles/service_spotlight_articles)

#[Best Practices Articles](articles/best_practices_articles)

Legislative Updates

FTC’s Identity Theft “Red Flag” Mandate Effective November 1, 2009 (10/29/2009)
The FTC’s “Red Flag” mandate to curb identity theft is set to take effect on November 1, 2009, one full year after the original policy was to be enforced.

Schwarzenegger Torpedos California Assembly Bill to Eliminate Employment Credit Reports (10/15/2009)
Thank you Governor Arnold for rejecting California Assembly Bill 943. This was the second time in two years that the governor vetoed an effort to eliminate the use of employment credit reports.

California AB943 Threatens Use of Credit Reports . . . Again (9/17/2009) ()
In October, 2008 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of employment credit reports. Now AB943 appears to be a mirror image of its predecessor.

Changes on the Way for E-Verify? (9/17/2009) ()
Get used to E-Verify. It’s not going away. It’s going to expand and sooner, rather than later it will affect your organization if it hasn’t already.

E-Verify Mandatory for Federal Contractors (9/1/2009) ()
This is a reminder that all Federal Contractors are mandated to use E-Verify to confirm employee’s right to work status in the United States, effective September 8, 2009.

FTC’s Identity Theft “Red Flag” Enforcement Delayed Again (7/31/2009) ()
In a development that should surprise absolutely no one, the Federal Trade Commissionhas announced another delay in their enforcementof the “Red Flag” guidelines aimed to curb identity theft until November 1, 2009.

New Court Fees Proposed in New Hampshire (7/15/2009) ()
The state of New Hampshire has announced plans to raise court access fees to $20.00 per name for court records. If you are interested in participating, you can send a letter or email the New Hampshire Administrative Office of the Courts.

HR 3149 Threatens to Ban Credit Reports (7/10/2009) ()
The US House of Representatives has introduced HR 3149 which seeks to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.

Breaking News: DHS Strengthens Administration’s Commitment to E-Verify (7/8/2009) ()
It appears that the government is finally ready to follow through on its mandate to have all federal contractors use E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility on all workers. After several delays since the rule was supposed to take effect in January, 2009, DHS sent out this release this morning.

All State of Missouri Sex Offenders Must Register (7/6/2009) ()
According to BolivarMoNews.com, “A recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling will require all sex offenders in Missouri, regardless of when or where the offense occurred, to register with the state sex offender registry.”

Another Delay for E-Verify Enforcement (6/2/2009) ()
DHS has again delayed enforcement of the requirement that mandates federal contractors use the E-Verify system to check the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S. until at least September 8, 2009.

Utah Selections Procedures Act (5/12/2009) ()
According to Seyfarth Shaw Labor and Employment Attorney Pam Devata “Employers subject to this law may also not use information about an applicant for any other purpose than to determine whether the employer will hire the applicant as an employee.

FTC Delays Enforcement of “Red Flags” Rules Again (5/1/2009) ()
The FTC has announced that are delaying enforcement of the “Red Flags” Guidelines for Identity Theft Prevention until August 1, 2009 for all Creditors and Financial Institutions.

Revised I-9 Employment Verification Form (4/13/2009) ()
Effective April 3, 2009 all U.S. employers must use the new I-9 Form which was revised earlier this year.

Hawaii House Bill 31 Threatens Use of Credit Checks (2/27/2009) ()
Legislators in the state of Hawaii have drafted a bill that would prohibit employers from using credit reports when conducting employment background checks.

Connecticut House Bill 5521 Threatens Use of Credit Checks (2/19/2009) ()
The stated purpose of Connecticut House Bill 5521is “to prevent discrimination against prospective employees on the basis of their credit history.”

New Mexico House Bill 103 Threatens Employment Background Checks (2/9/2009) ()
Legislators in the state of New Mexico have introduced a bill that would remove personal identifiers such as Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth from public records.

DHS Postpones E-Verify Requirement . . . Again (1/29/2009) ()
Now we’ve learned that the parties have agreed to extend the applicability date to May 21, 2009, and asked the court to stay the proceedings to allow President Barrack Obama’s Administration an opportunity to review the rule.

DHS Postpones E-Verify Requirement (1/12/2009) ()
According to the Washington Business Journal, the federal government has postponed a requirement that mandates federal government contractors to use the E-Verify system to check the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S. until February 20, 2009.

Alert for New York Employers Conducting Background Checks: Article 23-A (1/6/2009) ()
As of February 5, 2009 you must comply with the New York State Correction Law Article 23-A, Section 753 “Licensure and Employment of Persons Previously Convicted of One or More Criminal Offenses”.

USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form Requirements (12/28/2008) ()
By now many of you are aware of the mandate that all federal contractors must utilize an electronic employment eligibility process to determine an employee’s right to work status. However, did you know that the government has revised the list of acceptable identity documents?

Federal Contractor E-Verify Rule Is Final! By Teresa A. Cheek of Young Conaway]()
Starting on January 15, 2009, once you are awarded a federal contract worth more than $100,000 that has a performance term of 120 days or more, or if you have a subcontract worth more than $3,000, you will have 30 days to enroll in the federal contractor E-Verify program.

FTC Delays Enforcement of “Red Flags” Rules: Employers Still Must Comply]()
We learned yesterday afternoon that the FTC had announced that they were going to delay enforcement of the “Red Flags” Guidelines for Identity Theft Prevention until May 1, 2009 for all Creditors and Financial Institutions. This delay does not apply to employers who still need to be in compliance by the original November 1, 2008 deadline.

Short-Term Extension Of E-Verify Sets Up Big 2009 Battle
(10/10/2008)
()
A bruising partisan battle over an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws is expected to surface in the early days of the next Congress and new presidential administration, a clash that already has lawmakers, lobbyists and immigration advocates gearing up to fight.

Update: California Bill to Limit Credit Reports Vetoed (10/1/2008) ()
California Governor Arnold Schwarzennger vetoes bill that would have severely limited credit reports on potential employees.

New York Amendment to State Correction Law Has New Provisions for Employers (9/11/2008) ()

Basically, the law requires employers that conduct background checks to post a copy in a visually conspicuous area and provide all applicants who have a criminal record a copy of . . .

California Employers Beware: Right to Review Credit Reports Threatened (8/26/2008) ()

California Assembly Bill 2918 which seeks to limit state employers’ ability to review credit reports for employment background screening purposes has been described as “dangerously close to becoming a critical issue”.

Massachusetts Proposes Redaction of Personal Identifiers: Bad News for Employment Screening (7/25/2008) ()
The state of Massachusetts is proposing some pretty significant regulations in order to protect privacy and limit the opportunity for identity theft. If accepted, this proposal would eliminate the ability of Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) and employers to confirm that a criminal record belongs to an applicant . . .

State of New York Increases Protection of Employees’ Personal Identifying Information (7/18/2008) ()
In May, we informed you of legislation in New York which imposed penalties on employers who failed to secure employees’ social security numbers. Our friends at Seyfarth Shaw LLP have now informed us that the state has now passed a similar law, but this time it concentrates on the internal use of this data.

Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Bill to Destroy Criminal Records()
This would have been a tremendous set-back to any organization who conducts background checks on potential job candidates in Rhode Island.

State of New York Moves to Close Loop Hole for Sex Offenders]()
“This legislation will close a dangerous loophole and ensure that families are better informed and better protected. I urge the Governor to sign this measure into law.”

State of Vermont Announces New Court Access Fees]()
Effective July 1, 2008 the state of Vermont has raised the court access fees from $10.00 to $30.00.

Connecticut Law Requires Safeguards for Personal Data and Social Security Number Policy()

On June 10, 2008, Connecticut enacted a law which will require businesses that maintain personal information (e.g. Social Security number (SSN), driver’s license

number, account number, or credit/debit card number), to,

among other things:

DOT Clears the Way For CDL Employers to Report Drug Use]()

The DOT has passed an interim final rule which allows both employers and (TPA’s) to report drug and alcohol testing violations of employees who hold Commercial Drivers Licenses and drive commercial motor vehicles to the applicable state agency if required by state law.

Federal Contractors Now Mandated to Use E-Verify]()

On June 6, 2008 President Bush issued an executive order that mandates the use of E-Verify for all federal contractors.

Colorado Governor Signs Bill Allowing Criminal Records to Be Sealed]()
Colorado governor, Bill Ritter Jr. has just signed into law House Bill 08-1082 which revises an existing law allowing individuals to petition to seal the records of criminal charges . . .

President Bush Signs the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008]()
H.R. Bill 493 is legislation that prohibits health insurers and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information.

Rhode Island Legislators Approve Bill to Destroy Criminal Records]()
The state of Rhode Island has just announced that the house has just passed a bill which mandates the destruction of all criminal records that resulted in a deferred sentence, a sentence usually reserved for those who plead guilty or no contest.

USCIS Announces New Enhancements for E-Verify Program]()
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today improvements to the E-Verify employment authorization program that will reduce an already low mismatch rate, while also streamlining and increasing the effectiveness of the overall program.

State of New York Law Enforces the Protection of Social Security Numbers()
The law prohibits the intentional communication of an individual’s SSN to the general public;

restricts businesses’ ability to print a SSN on mailings . . .

Connecticut Background Check Law Goes Into Effect May 1st (Again) ()
Effective May 1, 2008 all Consumer Reporting Agencies (Background Screeners) must confirm criminal records found on those in the state of Connecticut (on a site provided by the state) before they can be reported to the employer.

Fourth District of Appeals Court Reverses Decision]()
A panel of California judges has overturned the ruling of a subordinate court the said that an employer (AutoZone) was not liable for the actions of an employee when he assaulted and struck a customer while at work.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Reverses Itself on the Removal of Identifiers]()
NewsOK now reports, “The Oklahoma Supreme Court today rescinded its controversial rules that would limit public access to court information on its Web site and in court files, saying it wanted to give the issue further study and consideration.”

Conduct Background Checks in Oklahoma? You Might Want to Lend a Hand]()

Interested in getting involved? A recent ruling by the state of Oklahoma Supreme Court could affect to perform background checks.

Ohio Update: Adopting Rules on Access to Public Records Constitutional, Panel Says]()

Great news for those conducting background checks in the state of Ohio.

Court Ruling Limits Employment Drug Testing]()

A city can’t require all job applicants to be tested for narcotics and must instead show why drug use in a particular job would be dangerous, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

State of Oklahoma Limits Access to Court Records]()

Citing Privacy concerns the State of Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that court records should not be made available to the general public online.

Employers Cannot Use Nevada Sex Offender Registry Search]()

It has recently come to our attention the Nevada Statute NRS 179B.270 prohibits employers from using the state’s Sex Offender Registry to make a hiring decision about a prospective employee.

Helpful Tool to Identify Fake Academic Credentials]()

Diploma Mills are on the rise and chances are you’ve seen them used on the resumes’ of job candidates you have considered for employment.

Helpful Advice for Banks and Financial Institutions]()

Helpful advice for banks & other financial institutions that conduct employment verifications

Background Checks in the State of Connecticut]()

If your company conducts background checks on applicants in the state of Connecticut, state Substitute Senate Bill No. 1089 Public Act No. 07-243 affects you.

Pre-Adverse Action Letters]()

This update provides some insight into a court ruling that held that an employer can use a blanket or template applicant release and that an employer could refuse to hire anyone that did not agree to provide authorization to conduct a background check.

USCIS Releases New I-9 Form]()

Update on Ohio Senate Bill 197]()

Bill seeks to expunge felony convictions

Hurry Up and Wait: DHS to Revise No-Match Rule]()

The on-again off-again drama with the DHS No Match initiative continues according to this legislative update from Seyfarth Shaw.

Final Rules Issued for Identity Theft Prevention]()

ICE Immigration Enforcement Foiled Again – For Now]()

Ohio Employers Beware]()

Proposed Senate bill would hurt employment background screening efforts

Guidelines for Using Employment Credit Reports in Ohio]()

These guidelines from the Ohio Civil Rights Newsletter are worth the read if you currently utilize or are considering utilizing credit reports for your hiring decisions in the state of Ohio.

Practical Application of Screening Strategy

Should I run a background check on every applicant or just those who are offered a position? What should the background check consist of? If I wait two or three days for a proper background check I’ll lose this candidate; what can I do? Must I deny employment if I find criminal records or other adverse information?

These are some of the most common questions asked by prospective clients of Consumer Reporting Agencies. The answers can only be determined by examining the unique needs and cost/benefits of the alternatives within your own organization. Some questions you might consider: What layers of due diligence do you perform in your hiring process? How many people are involved in your hiring decisions? What is the value of their time? How much of the process is outsourced? How much access to sensitive assets, information, or financial resources does each employee have? How much damage could a disgruntled employee do? What level of risk management are you looking for in relation to available resources? The answers to these questions are different for every employer.

The background check is one piece of the puzzle

Because new-hires are granted access to clients, business assets, and other employees, most companies conduct several layers of due diligence prior to issuing an employment offer. These layers may include resume and/or application review, a single or several rounds of interviews, testing for specific skills, aptitudes, substance abuse, or psychological and personality profiles, and any number of other industry- and occupational-specific measuring tools. These are all designed to paint a detailed picture as to whether an individual represents a good fit for the position and the company. Most of these methods are qualitative in nature, based on information provided by the candidate. Hiring managers know that every applicant wants to portray her/himself as the best candidate for the position. This can be an incentive for applicants to take liberties with expressing their qualifications, experience, education, and history.

The background check should be considered the capstone of the hiring process. In other words, it should validate the accuracy of the different pieces of information provided by the candidate throughout the process. Most employers choose to interview only the best candidates, based on previous job experience or education credentials claimed by the applicant. Little white lies may not seem significant to a job candidate trying to facilitate a career advance. Claiming a degree that was not quite completed or embellishing work experience to make it appear they are more qualified for a position than in reality is more common than one might think. Sometimes the white lies aren’t so little. Similarly, habitual criminals often gravitate toward positions that will grant them access to the objects or people of their deviant desire, and perpetuate lies about their past to achieve their goal. Unfortunately, if you as the employer do nothing to validate the claims of your candidates, you are not managing risk. The risk to your employees, customers, and business assets is immeasurable.

Define the parameters

A relevant and reliable background check is not a commodity product – one size does not fit all. The vast majority of employers consider criminal history the most important starting point for a background check. Depending on the duties of the position, the level of the responsibility of the employee, and the characteristics of people and assets the employee will be exposed to, other background information should be researched as well. For example, positions requiring specific experience or education are the most ripe for manipulation. Previous employment and degrees earned should be verified. For employees that drive company vehicles or personal vehicles during the course of the workday, you need to ensure they have a valid license and safe driving history. If an employee will have control over finances, access to significant amounts of liquid assets or expensive inventory items, you should review a credit report to ensure the salary of the position will provide them with reasonable means to support their current lifestyle and obligations. Any employee that will have access to children, the elderly/disabled, residential spaces, hotel rooms, etc. should be run through a national sex offender registry in addition to the standard criminal search. There are also many industry-specific tools such as D.O.T. regulations for pilots and commercial truck drivers, OIG/Excluded Party searches for health care workers, and Homeland Security Databases for industries that require OFAC and Patriot Act compliance, to name a few.

Timing: when to initiate the background check

In most cases, it would be unrealistic (and expensive) to run a complete and thorough background check on every applicant as the first step in the hiring process. Most organizations prefer to wait until they are ready to extend an offer to the job candidate to run the background check. This may make the most sense for your organization, but be sure you consider all the factors.

While waiting until the last minute minimizes the overall number of background checks run, it doesn’t necessarily minimize the overall cost to the organization. It is typically mid- and upper-level managers that are involved in interviewing candidates and weighing hiring decisions. Both the dollar value and opportunity cost of their time is significant. Third-party and standardized testing tools can also represent a significant cost. By waiting until the last step to validate the information with a background check, individuals who misrepresent themselves have already cost your company a bundle of valuable time and money.

Another concern with running a comprehensive background check as the last step in the process is that it can encourage taking shortcuts. Many organizations feel that they will lose good candidates if they must wait 2-3 days for a proper background check. Some employers choose to cut corners and utilize instant background checks, or worse, forego screening altogether. Instant checks offer no oversight and no auditable paper trail to even estimate the reliability of the information.

The best practice recommendation for companies that feel they must make the offer immediately is to use a conditional offer letter, contingent upon satisfactory completion of the background check. This allows the employer to bring the individual onboard right away while the background information is properly validated. Don’t fear the scenario where you must dismiss an employee who has already begun working. If the proper questions have been asked of the candidate throughout the process, the background check is simply validating the answers to those questions. An employer should feel no remorse for having to dismiss a new employee after a few days because disqualifying discrepancies are identified in the background check. When done properly, the discrepancies will be validated and the applicant will have had ample opportunity to dispute any inaccuracies. A candidate that has provided misleading information or lied outright during the interview process has no basis to criticize this decision. Your organization will benefit by waiting a few days to conduct a proper, compliant background check.

The hybrid option

An alternative to consider for organizations that deal with a high volume of open positions and applications is to explore some inexpensive and quick background check tools as preliminary qualifiers before moving the candidates along to the more costly interview and testing phases. This is often called a progressive screening strategy. Consider including a question on your job application asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony. You may then run a nationwide database criminal check as one of the first pieces of due diligence. It is important to note that a national criminal database should never be considered anything more than a cursory check. However, upon discovery of a criminal record through an inexpensive database check, the prospective employer has ample time to explore the issue with the candidate, or may choose to put the hiring process on hold for that individual until the criminal record is validated directly by the prosecuting jurisdiction (it is imperative that this step is performed since criminal database records often lack additional identifiers and may be based on a name match only). If the conviction is valid, and the candidate claimed no prior convictions, the hiring process is typically discontinued immediately for dishonesty. At the employer’s discretion, if the candidate has provided a satisfactory explanation for the situation, the employment relationship may still be pursued. A proper criminal check at the county level should always be performed before finalizing the employment relationship.

Adverse Action

When the background check reveals discrepancies between the facts found and the information provided by the candidate, you may consider taking adverse action. Taking adverse action typically means you have decided not to hire, or not to promote someone based on results of a background check performed by a Consumer Reporting Agency. When adverse action is taken, you should be able to show that those decisions were applied consistently and fairly when similar circumstances are present. To achieve consistency in applying adverse action, consider the following set of litmus tests in determining whether one or more discrepancies warrant disqualifying the individual from employment or promotion:

  • How serious is the discrepancy?
  • Does the candidate have a satisfactory and/or verifiable explanation?
  • How long ago did it happen?
  • Is it related to the duties of the job applied for?
  • Is it an isolated incident or is there a pattern of irresponsible or disqualifying behavior?

In any event, if adverse action is taken based on information in a consumer report, the employer must follow the adverse action procedure defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The applicant must be sent a Pre-Adverse Notice letter informing them of their right to review and/or dispute any information in the report they believe is inaccurate. The Pre-Adverse Notice must also include a copy of the consumer report (background check) along with an FCRA publication entitled “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” The Pre-Adverse Notice letter is then followed by the Adverse Action Letter, which informs the applicant that they are not being hired/promoted based on information from the consumer report.

Where the rubber meets the road: consistency is key

Having defined the substance of your screening strategy, the single most important aspect of implementing it is consistency. One of the primary purposes of the FCRA is to ensure that job candidates are treated objectively in the hiring process, based on individual merits and circumstances, and given reasonable opportunity to dispute and correct erroneous information at the public record source. In the unlikely event you are faced with negligent hiring litigation, you will face intense scrutiny as to how reliable your screening process is, and how consistently you’ve applied it. The same types of screening services should be run on all employees with similar duties or levels of responsibility.

Contact EmployeeScreen IQ to discuss the elements of a proper employment screening strategy. Reliable information that manages risk for your employees, customers, and business assets, not to mention protecting the privacy rights granted to your job applicants by the FCRA, not only improves your hiring decisions, it is good business.

Rob Thomson is Communications Manager and Senior Account Executive for Cleveland-based EmployeeScreen IQ, a best practices provider of pre-employment screening services throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Rob can be reached at (800) 235-3954 ext. 438 or rthomson@employeescreen.com. EmployeeScreen IQ is a 2005 and 2006 Weatherhead 100 Award Winner.

Identity Theft

Just found a great informative article about identity theft. Linda Foley is quoted from the Identity Theft Resource Center. I have met Linda several times most recently at the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Conference. While Linda is not an expert in Pre-employment Screening, she is in expert in identity theft and privacy. Kudos to Linda and all the great work she is doing.

Holiday Forecase: More e-scams

By Richard Burnett | Tribune Newspapers: The Orlando Sentinel November 26, 2007

ORLANDO – Just in time for “Cyber Monday” and the online holiday shopping rush: A new round of bogus e-mail, identity-theft experts say.

Have you won $2 million in a Christmas sweepstakes held by Coca-Cola in the United Kingdom? Can you make big bucks just by cashing checks for an Irish researcher, Chinese exporter or rich oil consultant in Dubai? Is there a problem with your account at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, eBay or PayPal?

No. But you might think so if you fall for some of the recent e-mail scams infesting the Internet.

More

Environmentally Friendly Background Checks

I’ll start by saying that I am not a tree hugger by nature. However, over the past several months I have spent time both personally and professionally wondering how I (and we as a company) can make a difference in the world. All of the environmental concerns you see written about every day and the topic itself are not going away. I strongly feel that protecting our environment should not be a political issue. It’s a responsibility we all have (I know, I’m starting to sound preachy. I’ll do my best not to preach for the rest of this post, or ever again).

Anyway, I’ve noticed how wasteful we have all become. Bottled water, 5 mile per gallon Hummer’s, paper plates, printing of every email that comes through our in box. In the case of background checks, there is still a lot of unnecessary paper being wasted.

This morning I came across an article in the Chicago Tribune titled, Don’t-print plea takes off (check it out). I’ve actually seen a lot of people in my personal and professional life add this environmentally-friendly message to their email signatures (see file below). I figured, it would be a great place to start. Next, I have decided to dedicate some future blogs to outlining some more environmentally-friendly processes for conducting background checks. Most that I have thought of actually improve the process anyways, so they won’t necessarily make you go out of your way to adopt them if you so choose.

I will offer up the following disclaimer: I am not ready to call employeescreenIQ a “Green Company”. There are far too many ways that I know we all fall short and I think people could take shots at us all day for things we could improve. Rather than risk becoming a hypocrite, we’ll do what we can. Please feel free to make suggestions as you see fit. I won’t adopt them all, but I really do believe that any change in action is a change for the better.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap-box now and get on with the business of background checks.

Please%20consider%20the%20environment%20before%20printing%20this%20email.pdf