The How and Why of Background Checks: The Proactive Employer Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Stephanie R. Thomas, PhD, from The Proactive Employer, about how organizations currently use background checks, how they respond to adverse findings, their greatest concerns, and what lies ahead .

Background checks are a critical component of the hiring process for many organizations, helping to protect employers, their employees and their customers. But many organizations struggle with the question of how to conduct background screening in a universally acceptable manner. In an age of increased litigation and legislation, employment background screening isn’t as simple as it once was.

Aside from the amplified legal risks, employers are struggling to filter through all of the information that’s now available. Many are asking, should we use social media? If we do, what should we do with that information? How concerned should we be about distorted or exaggerated information on a candidate’s resume? What about candidates with criminal records – what are our obligations?

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Virginia Governor’s Chef Had More Secrets Than His Recipes

Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell learned why it is important to conduct background checks before you hire someone after it was discovered that his executive chef had been convicted of embezzlement before he was hired.

According to the Washington Post, “McDonnell’s staff failed to conduct the required criminal background check on Todd Schneider, who recently left his job amid a police investigation after a tip about possible wrongdoing at the mansion.”

When asked why the governor wasn’t aware of this, his office insisted that they conduct background checks on all employees but this one slipped through the cracks while the governor was making quick preparations to take office.

Time for a rant?

Trust me.  I considered it.  However, I thought this would be a better opportunity to educate employers on the necessity to ensure everyone undergoes a background check per company policy (some do it pre-hire, some post).

These days, everyone is rushing to get qualified people hired and get the them to work.  Unfortunately, things can slip through the cracks when that happens as it did with Governor McDonnell.

One other thing that I found interesting from the story is that the Post pointed out that the chef was in debt by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is particularly interesting coming from the media who have gone out of their way to slam employers for their use of credit reports (in fairness to the Washington Post, I don’t know if they’ve done this or not).

But as the EEOC continues to evaluate the role an individual’s credit plays in their eligibility for employment, perhaps this offers a snapshot of why it can be valuable in some cases.

EmployeeScreenIQ Case Study: Integrating Background Checks with iCIMS

As many of you know EmployeeScreenIQ has an out-of-the-box integration with the iCIMS talent management platform.  This integration allows system users to request a background check with the click of a button without the need for duplicate data entry.

We recently published a case study which shows how we were able to enhance the hiring process of one of our mutual clients, Corix Group of Companies.

If you are interested in integrating your background screening program with the iCIMS Talent Platform in order to enhance your talent pipeline, team productivity, and bottom line check out our partner portal.

Employment Screening in an Age of Increased Litigation and Legislation: Survey Results

Not likely, according to some 90 percent of you who said you would pass on our theoretical “superstar performer” because of the results of his background check. The basis for our fictional candidate? None other than Charlie Sheen.

Find out exactly how your HR colleagues feel about candidates with criminal records and what really impacts their decision to hire (or not) in our hot-off-the-press 3rd annual trends survey report: “Threading the Needle: Employment Background Screening in an Age of Increased Litigation and Legislation.

More than 650 HR professionals from across the country, in organizations large and small, shared your thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) insights on everything from falsified resumes to the phenomenon of Facebook in our revealing 20-page report.

Be the first to get a copy!

Download the Whitepaper now!

Morris Quoted on MSNBC about Facebook

As reported last week, the story about employers asking for Facebook passwords has exploded.  I have seen no less than thirty stories on the topic.  Yesterday, I was interviewed by MSNBC on this very topic.  First, the reporter asked me how widespread the problem actually was.  Without hesitation, I let her know that I don’t think its as widespread as the media is reporting.  I have never come across an HR professional that would even consider this practice.  I feel strongly that this is being done by smaller employers that really have no clue what to do or say in a proper interview.  I equated it to employers that still ask how old an applicant is or if they are married!  Secondly, she wanted to know if employers were searching the internet for informtion on employees and candidates. Well, as we reported in our latest background screening survey, they are, many of them.  However, when asked what they are actually looking to find? I was very matter of fact in saying, I don’t even think they know what they are looking for.  Its easy to just Google someone!  When they do it however, I don’t think they realize what they want to find, or what to do with the information once they find it!

In related news, the Senator that has been the most outspoken about the topic is Richard Blumenthal.  Yes, the same Senator Blumenthal that was busted for lying about being in the Vietnam war.  No wonder he has major concerns about background screening!!

You can read the full story below!

Few Hiring Managers are Facebook Snooping
By Eve Tahmincioglu
Facebook came out swinging last week over reports that employers are asking employees and job seekers to turn over their passwords to access individual profiles and their activities on the site.
The company said in a statement it would “take action to protect the privacy and security of our users,” including potentially taking legal action.

Public opinion is clearly with Facebook on this, and many took to social media to condemn such password shakedowns. But it’s time to tone down the hysteria. It turns out, few hiring managers choose to put on their Sherlock Holmes cyber snooping hats.

Yes, it’s disturbing to hear that some hiring managers are asking for Facebook passwords from job candidates. And in this tough economy, saying no to such a request may mean you don’t end up landing the gig because there are still so many people out there looking for work.

They Always Said I Had A Face For Radio: Background Screening Interview

This Friday (March 30th) The Proactive Employer podcast will be airing an interview with yours truly about how organizations currently use background checks, how they respond to adverse findings, their greatest concerns, and what lies ahead.

This installment will air on Friday, March 30th at 8:30 AM Eastern on BlogTalkRadio and will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on mobile devices via BluBrry and via iTunes following the broadcast.

Much of the interview focuses on our most recent Background Screening Trends survey results.

Screenshot of webinar

And Now a Word from Our Regulator: The FTC issues a new report on privacy and pushes for more legislation

The Federal Trade Commission issued a report today addressing the privacy of consumers.  In the report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers,” the FTC pushes Congress for general privacy legislation, data breach notification legislation, and data broker legislation.

Taking a look at the report, it is clear that the FTC is concerned about a few key areas—namely, data brokers, transparency, and mobile applications.  The report calls out data brokers for being in the business of buying and selling personal consumer information, claiming that they do so without a great deal of transparency or awareness as to how the process works or the purposes for which the information is used. In addition to calling for new legislation, the report recommends creating a centralized website where consumers could get information about their practices and “opt out” of data use. As for mobile technology, the FTC wants companies offering mobile apps to improve their privacy protections, including disclosures.

“Do Not Track” is still a key part of the FTC privacy strategy, but still missing in this report is any real guidance for a “Do Not Track” option for consumers—something that has been widely discussed but does not seem to be any closer to being defined or implemented. “DNT needs to mean ‘do not collect’, not just ‘advertise back,'” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “The industry recognizes that if a real DNT does not come to fruition by the end of the year, there will be a lot of support legislatively for DNT.”

That should be enough to motivate businesses–marketers in particular– to get on the stick to put DNT practices in place voluntarily.  Anyone who transacts business on the web has reason to fear new legislation, increased regulation of the internet and the unintended consequences that inevitably get rolled up into the process.

The vote approving the report was 3-1. Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented from the issuance of the Final Privacy Report. His concerns: 1) in contravention of our promises to Congress, it is based on “unfairness” rather than deception; 2) the current state of “Do Not Track” still leaves unanswered many important questions; 3) “opt-in” will necessarily be selected as the de facto method of consumer choice for a wide swath of entities; and 4) although characterized as only “best practices,” the Report’s recommendations may be construed as federal requirements.

3/30/2012 EmployeeScreenIQ's Nick Fishman Featured on The Proactive Employer Podcast

From The Proactive Employer Blog

In this week’s installment of The Proactive Employer, we talk about how organizations currently use background checks, how they respond to adverse findings, their greatest concerns, and what lies ahead with guest Nick Fishman. Mr. Fishman is co-founder and Executive Vice President of EmployeeScreenIQ. He is the chief pioneer and architect of EmployeeScreen University, a first-of-its-kind online educational learning resource for human resources, security and risk-management professionals. Nick is a frequent speaker on industry issues including new technologies in employment screening, best practices and industry trends. He is also a frequent blogger on the company’s IQ Blog, conducts regular podcast interviews with industry insiders and serves as editor of the company’s quarterly newsletter, The Verifier.

This installment will air on Friday, March 30th at 8:30 AM Eastern on BlogTalkRadio and will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on mobile devices via BluBrry and via iTunes following the broadcast.

Background checks are a critical component of the hiring process for many organizations, helping to protect employers, their employees and their customers. But many organizations struggle with the question of how to conduct background screening in a universally acceptable manner. In an age of increased litigation and legislation, employment background screening isn’t as simple as it once was.

Aside from the amplified legal risks, employers are struggling to filter through all of the information that’s now available. Many are asking, should we use social media? If we do, what should we do with that information? How concerned should we be about distorted or exaggerated information on a candidate’s resume? What about candidates with criminal records – what are our obligations?