Does Anyone Care About the Candidate Experience?

Just a thought . . .

Does anyone really care about the candidate experience and how it can impact recruiting efforts?  It’s hard to say.  We recently published our annual Trends in Background Screening survey and 80% of the respondents indicated that the candidate experience was a either very important or important in deciding which employment screening partner they chose.

The inspiration of this random thought was derived from the May issue of Workforce Management magazine (I’d share the link to the story, but WF insists on your being a member in order to see their material).  Editor Ronald Alsop was reflecting on the following quote he once heard, “Ford must be a good company because my neighbor likes working there”.  He was trying to persuade employers that allowing candidates to post information about their work on social networkings sites had a net positive effect for corporations.

He conducted a study in which he found that, “84% of respondents considered word-of-mouth messages from employees credible, compared with 75% for media coverage of a company and 70% for PR and advertising spiels”.

But if it was so important to employers why would the HR media continue to convince employers of this fact.  I’ve seen story after story after story over the last three years talk about the virtues of a good candidate experience.  I’ve also heard a number of people in the recruiting and talent management space completely dismiss the concept.  If the concept had caught on why, are we still being deluged the same stories trying to convince us of it’s importance?  Wouldn’t it just be an accepted fact?

I don’t have an answer.  Just my random thought for the day.

More Colleges Doing Background Checks on Students

Report: Colleges increase use of criminal records to screen applicants may keep ex-cons from getting an education

A growing number of American colleges use criminal records to screen applicants, according to a Syracuse agency’s national survey.

The practice could lead to a higher crime rate because ex-cons turned away from a college education are more likely to be unemployed and desperate, according to the study by Centers for Community Alternatives.

The organization’s findings have drawn the attention of the U.S. Justice Department and Education Department in their efforts to find ways to help rehabilitated criminals rejoin society. Two of the study’s authors, Marsha Weissman and Alan Rosenthal, went to Washington, D.C., last month to brief federal officials on their study, “Reconsidered: The Use of Criminal Records in College Admissions.”

The briefing in early April at the U.S. Department of Education was with 25 to 30 people who are part of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, said Rosenthal, co-director of CCA’s Justice Strategies.

Justice Department officials told Rosenthal they’re considering a national policy statement that would warn colleges of the dangers of screening applicants by criminal record.

“It’s new and it’s quickly growing,” Rosenthal said. “The policy statement would address the concerns about a further proliferation of this practice, in terms of creating an underclass of undereducated people.”

By denying access based on criminal records, colleges could be inadvertently increasing the crime rate, because people without hope and a job are more likely to become repeat offenders, he said.

Ex-cons who’ve gone so far as to apply to college and figure out a way to pay for it are less likely to return to a life of crime, he said. And because there’s a higher proportion of black males with criminal records, the screening also affects colleges’ diversity, Rosenthal said.

Security on Campus Inc., a national organization that for 20 years has pushed for tighter security on college campuses, disagrees with CCA’s recommendation that criminal records not be considered. But the group agrees with the study’s finding that too many colleges that screen by criminal record do so with staff who are untrained in understanding the impact in a given case, said S. Daniel Carter, director of public policy for Security on Campus.

“It’s helpful information to have in the admissions process, but the mere fact that someone has a criminal background should not automatically deny them,” Carter said. He cited the study’s finding that less than half the schools that collect and use criminal background information have policies in place on how to use it, and that only 40 percent train staff in how to interpret it.

But the idea that a college shouldn’t consider an applicant’s criminal record at all doesn’t hold water, he said.

“There’s a legitimate reason for it,” Carter said. “When you’re accepted into a college community, it’s more than just to sit in a classroom and study. You’re being accepted into a community of trust and established standards.”

CCA’s 59-question survey was sent in 2009 to 3,248 institutions across the country, through CCA’s collaboration with American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. About 9 percent, 273 institutions, responded. Their identities were anonymous to CCA officials. The results showed that 66 percent collect criminal background information from applicants.

The number was much lower until about five years ago, Rosenthal said. That’s when more colleges relied on a shared application that included the question, Have you ever been convicted of a crime? he said.

One applicant who ran into trouble because of that question is Letisha Boyd. She served 16 years in prison on a manslaughter conviction for fatally shooting a woman in a fight over a man, she said. She works for an agency in New York City that helps women coming out of jail or prison get enrolled in college.

When she applied to Empire State College last year, she disclosed her conviction, but the college wanted her to get her criminal record from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, she said. That agency releases records to the person convicted, and includes charged crimes that were later dismissed. Boyd doesn’t think she should have to release those records to the college.

Boyd wants to enroll as an online student, so her criminal background should matter even less than a student applying for on-campus study, she said.

“That crime doesn’t define who you are as a person and shouldn’t affect my academic process at all,” she said. “It shouldn’t even be considered, especially because I wouldn’t even be on campus.”

Contact John O’Brien at or 470-2187.

Fire All the Recruiters! Background Screening Satire

Quick and easy isn’t always safe and legal. Check out our satirical video on national criminal background checks and how they can put your company in hot water. Remember, a quality employment background check is accomplished by searching records at the county courts! You can always use a national database search to complement a county criminal record search.

Top Findings from Background Screening Trends Survey

Download Now!

Despite an influx of legislation and accusations that employers are overinflating the importance of candidate background checks, a new survey from EmployeeScreenIQ finds that companies are using them responsibly to make hiring decisions in conjunction with qualifications and interviews.

The 2011 edition of “Trends in Employment Background Screening” examines how HR professionals are adapting to the rapidly-changing world of employment background screening. The 14-page report delves into heated issues such as hiring discrimination, credit checks, hiring matrices, social networking and more. Nearly 800 individuals from a wide range of organizations in the U.S. completed the survey, which was distributed in March.

Among the top findings:

  • Respondents are less concerned about EEOC inquiries and government interference in the background screening process than they are about a provider’s ability to deliver results and candidates with criminal records.
  • Respondents cited qualifications and interviews as the leading influencers when making hiring decisions, ranking candidates’ criminal records third in importance.
  • 66 percent of respondents never check social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and others for the purposes of conducting background check.
  • 92 percent of employers will reach out to candidates or consider job relevance when a background check reveals adverse information. Only 8% of respondents reject a candidate outright.
  • 21percent conduct credit checks on all employees while 33% don’t perform them at all.

Download a complimentary copy of “Trends in Employment Background Screening 2011” by visiting:

This year’s survey refutes the outcry that employers are overinflating the importance of background checks and credit reports. The vast majority of respondents clearly stated that while background checks are essential, they are just one element of the hiring process.  The challenge ahead for organizations and HR professionals is to safely navigate these stormy waters by keeping informed and taking the proper steps to ensure compliance.

5/17/2011 EmployeeScreenIQ Releases Results of Second Annual "Trends in Employment Background Screening" Survey

Cleveland, OH Despite an influx of legislation and accusations that employers are overinflating the importance of candidate background checks, a new survey from EmployeeScreenIQ finds that companies are using them responsibly to make hiring decisions in conjunction with qualifications and interviews.

The 2011 edition of “Trends in Employment Background Screening” examines how HR professionals are adapting to the rapidly-changing world of employment background screening. The 14-page report delves into heated issues such as hiring discrimination, credit checks, hiring matrices, social networking and more. Nearly 800 individuals from a wide range of organizations in the U.S. completed the survey, which was distributed in March.

EmployeeScreenIQ Releases 2011 Survey of “Trends in Employment Background Screening”

Download Now!

2011 has become a year of litigation and legislation that should concern any employer that conducts employment background checks.

EmployeeScreenIQ’s second annual survey report
dives into these and other heated subjects. Nearly 800 HR professionals shared their views about background checks and how they influence the hiring process – as well as insights about the trends and challenges that will shape the future of employment background screening.

The experts at EmployeeScreenIQ have compiled the findings into a 14-page report that includes:

  • How employers respond when a background check reveals negative information
  • Concerns about new and upcoming state laws that restrict credit checks
  • Concerns about increased hiring discrimination scrutiny by the EEOC
  • How background checks influence the hiring process
  • The risks of social media screening

Respondents also share their perspective about topical issues such as credit reports, criminal records, drug testing, and much more.

Get it now!

Truck Driver Has Over 50 Moving Violations

Look closely at the video above to see what it looks like when a commercial driver that has over 50 moving violations, including a DUI since 1986 is allowed to drive a gravel truck.  You think any number of these violations would have turned up on a Motor Vehicle Record check or a criminal background check?  Someone is going to have to answer questions as to why this guy was behind the wheel. Thankfully, no one on the train which normally carries 850 passengers was injured.

Check out the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

I Killed Osama Bin Laden

Lying is so common these days, well, its kind of why the background screening industry exists.  As screeners we see it everyday, some could say we even become numb to it after a while.    Because of this I like to highlight stories I find on the internet that may give a little “shock and awe” to the general public.

This guy get’s my vote for moron of the week but I will let you be the judge.  A Pennsylvanian Pastor, Jim Moats,  had been telling his congregation for years that he was a former Navy SEAL.  In the wake of the Osama Bin Laden killing, a local paper interviewed him about his time as a SEAL during the Vietnam war.  The story smells a lot like past stories made up by current US Senators Mark Kirk and Richard Blumenthal.  In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act into law–legislation that made it a federal crime to claim false military honors. A recent federal appellate court ruling determined that the law’s provisions were an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech. A version of the same legislation is now before Congress, with language designed to avoid the free-speech quandaries raised by the 2005 law.

My question is this, why not just go all the way and just say you are Osama Bin Laden, its easy enough!

Local pastor made up elaborate Navy SEAL tale

In the wake of the dramatic Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound earlier this month, it was perhaps to be expected that some expansive soul would step forward to claim the prestige of a fabricated tour as a SEAL for himself. Such tall tales are not uncommon, after all, amid high-profile military actions.

This time the exposed fabricator was a preacher–though people who monitor this brand of public lie note that members of the clergy are often tempted into such misrepresentations. More curious still, the prevaricator in question seems to have lifted at least some details of his account from the 1992 Steven Seagal SEAL-themed blockbuster, “Under Siege.”

Yes, as his area newspaper, the central Pennsylvania Patriot-News, pulled together a dispatch on the exploits of the elite Navy operation, Jim Moats, the pastor at Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Penn., spun some fantastical details of his alleged time as a Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War.

Moats told his church for five years that he was a former SEAL, and even once wore the elite program’s gold Trident medal around town. He elaborated on that tale when his local paper contacted him last week as it was reporting a story about the rigors of SEAL training in the wake of the SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

Among other things, Moats said he was subjected to waterboarding when he trained at Little Creek Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach in 1971 and was assigned dishwashing duty for his bad attitude. “I had almost no discipline. I was as wild as they came. That was my nemesis,” he told the paper. “They weren’t looking for a guy who brags to everyone he is a SEAL. They wanted somebody who was ready but had an inner confidence and didn’t have a braggadocio attitude.”

Several former SEALs wrote into The Patriot-News casting doubt on the reverend’s account of his service.

“We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It’s amazing how many of the clergy are involved in those lies to build that flock up,” said retired SEAL Don Shipley. Shipley also speculated the waterboarding and kitchen details came from the action depicted in “Under Siege.”


Screening Experts Go to Washington

For what I believe is my fifth time, I had the pleasure of representing my industry, along with 15 other colleagues for the annual NAPBS Fly-In.  The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has been organizing this important event for the past six years.  It has quickly become one of the most important things we do as an industry association. Having a voice in Washington and a and an audience with the federal government continues to allow us to impact the legislative process.  Over the years, many bills have been introduced that would have had an adverse effect on all of our nation’s employers use of employment background checks.   In many cases these bills are drafted without input from the private sector.   If simply passed as drafted, these bills would result in significant unintended consequences both on individuals and industries without our perspective and insights.  Thankfully, our lobbying efforts have paid off as our perspective and insights are regularly sought by our legislators so that they may be advised of such consequences.  This year was no exception.  Among the most important issues we focused on this year, was the EEOC’s increased scrutiny over the use of employment background checks.  We feel that they have considerable misperceptions and what we do and an industry and how we do it and have worked hard over the years to better educate them on these issues; particularly as it relates to the use of criminal records and credit reports. We had three separate meetings with them last week and while the effect of our efforts isn’t known at this time, we at least were heard.  One of the nice outcomes of our meetings is that we were able to convince them that credit scores are not used by employers to make hiring decisions.  We still have a long way to go but I believe that we have identified some likeminded individuals working for the commissioners that are sympathetic to our position and willing to listen.

We also had a productive meeting with our current regulators, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  It is still unclear as to exactly what dual regulation will mean when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is launched.  We do know that both the FTC and CFPB be responsible for overseeing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the federal law that governs the use of employment background checks.   It is important to note that the CFPB will have rule making and enforcement authority; something the FTC never had.   Policy making and supervisory authority will be shared between the two agencies.  For example, the FTC will still enforce Red Flags and Disposal Rules but he CFPB will enforce other areas (to be determined) of the FCRA.  The two agencies are still working hard to flush everything out.  One thing is for sure; they will be working with NAPBS, not against us.  We are thankful to have relationship with our regulators.

There are three bills of interest we are watching closely.

  • The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFEATELU) enacted in 2005 (49 USC 31150; Pub. L. 109-59 4117), which created the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).   We are working to make sure that the PSP program can be accessed by 3rd parties (like the legislation that was passed laid out specifically) so we can access this information on behalf of our clients. Much more to come on this issue in the coming months
  • The Safe Roads Act of 2011 which is a complement to SAFEATELU but adds all kinds of Drug and Alcohol Testing Provisions.  Coincidentally, while in Washington, NAPBS was able to submit comments and red-line revisions to the Safe Roads Act (S. 754) before the bill goes to mark-up today.
  • The Child Protection Improvements Act which is in pilot status and aims to ensure background checks are performed on individuals working with children. The Child Protection act is important because we are working to ensure that the records are obtained from reliable accurate sources, not unreliable sources such as FBI records.  The method of using FBI records offers little protection to consumers.  I find this ironic since the bill is co-sponsored by representatives from NY and CA, both states that have the most inclusive consumer protection laws in regard to employment screening.

Overall this year’s efforts seemed to be very effective and we are hopeful that they will yield positive results for both employers and our industry.  On a personal note,  I will never forget this trip for reasons that have nothing to do with our lobbying efforts.  I arrived on Sunday, May 1st and before I turned in for the night, I turned on the news and saw that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Within minutes, people were celebrating in the streets.  My hotel was only 4 blocks from the White House, and I was kept up all night with screaming, cheering and horns honking through the night.  I have never been so happy to be awake so late!!