Webinar: You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers.

Background Screening Webinar

Do you need permission every time you run a background check? Can you drug test a candidate with a medical marijuana prescription? What should you do if you find negative information on a candidate’s social media profile?

The answers to these and other background screening questions are far different in 2015 than in the past.

In this ever-changing legal landscape, how can you be sure your background screening practices are compliant?

Be a part of our live webinar, “You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: The NEW Basics of Background Screening.” on June 10, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Our panel of experts — including Aaron Coble and Logan Maienschein from Wal-Mart and Jason Morris, Angela Preston and Kevin Bachman from EmployeeScreenIQ — will answer YOUR questions and help you stay ahead of background screening trends, practices and compliance.

Please note this webinar has been submitted for HR Certification Institute Credit.

Register for the Webinar 

Are Executives Getting a Free Pass on Employment Background Checks?

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For the sixth consecutive year, EmployeeScreenIQ surveyed U.S.-based employers regarding their use of employee background checks. As with our previous surveys, the 2015 survey was designed to provide a reliable snapshot of:

  • How employers currently utilize background checks.
  • How they respond to adverse findings on background checks.
  • Their paramount screening-related concerns.
  • And their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) responsibilities, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and evolving ban the box legislation.

Today, I’d like to share our findings as to how employers conduct background checks on senior level executives.

There’s a popular belief that executives aren’t held to the same hiring and screening standards as other employees. In fact, Forbes recently published a UK study that found that college graduates in that country were more thoroughly screened than CEO’s.

Our findings clearly refute this belief: 97% of participants said their organizations conduct the same or even more stringent background checks when hiring executives. Considering the responsibilities and power that executives are given in most organizations, holding them to equally strict—or even stricter—screening standards is very likely a sound business practice. See complete results below.

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Indeed, it is important for employers to thoroughly vet senior management, executive candidates, potential joint venture partners or those in other sensitive positions in order to make informed decisions by utilizing tools such as our Trusted Position Intelligence Reports.

Meet the Employment Background Check Experts at the SHRM 2015 Annual Conference

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The SHRM 2015 Annual Conference is drawing close (June 27-29, 2015) and we invite you to drop by our Booth #1644 to learn how we can help you make the most informed hiring decisions without gambling on accuracy, quality or compliance.

We’re Bringing the A-Team

We know you don’t want to be sold to so we’re bringing a cross section of our screening experts from company executives to members or our compliance and service teams to talk about the issues that employers are facing today. Each of our experts has decades of experience in the employment background screening marketplace and has worked with numerous clients in all sorts of industries.

Not only will we help you determine if it’s time to reconsider your relationship with your background screening provider, but you can also enter in one of three ways to win an Apple Watch and other great prizes.

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Short on time?

Skip the line to meet with our experts by pre-scheduling an appointment. Whether you want to meet face-to-face for five, ten, or thirty minutes, just email us at info@employeescreen.com with at least two dates and times you’re available during the conference and we’ll follow-up to confirm your appointment.

Survey Results: Is a Criminal Record an Automatic Bar to Employment?

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For the sixth consecutive year, EmployeeScreenIQ surveyed U.S.-based employers regarding their use of employee background checks. As with our previous surveys, the 2015 survey was designed to provide a reliable snapshot of:

  • How employers currently utilize background checks.
  • How they respond to adverse findings on background checks.
  • Their paramount screening-related concerns.
  • And their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) responsibilities, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and evolving ban the box legislation.

Today, I’d like to share our findings as to how often candidates with criminal records are being denied employment based on the convictions found when and employment background check is conducted. Take a look at the information below:

Candidates with Criminal Records

These findings are quite similar to those of last year’s survey, with one notable exception: the percentage of respondents who chose the “>20%” category fell from 32% last year to 21% this year, the largest variation by far in any category year over year. All other categories remained within a few percentage points of last year’s responses.

These findings directly refute the theory of the Equal Opportunity Commission and advocates of those with criminal records that any conviction will cause an individual to be unemployable. The facts simply don’t support their narrative.

Obviously, employers aren’t disqualifying large numbers of job candidates simply because of criminal convictions. Employers continue to consider other factors such as the severity of the crimes, whether the crimes are related to the jobs being sought, the amount of time since the conviction, and whether the candidate is a repeat offender. Indeed, the EEOC recommends that employers use all of these criteria when making hiring decisions.

Check out all of the findings from our 2015 survey by clicking on the button below.


Download the Results Here!

When Your Job Candidate Asks About the Background Check

Background Screening Questions

Most job candidates will have many questions for an employer throughout the hiring process—including questions about the employment background check. Do you have the answers?

Ultimately, knowing these answers benefits you, your company and candidates. Being transparent throughout the hiring process as a whole, and especially during the background screening process greatly affects your candidate experience. The following are questions that you should be prepared to answer about your background checks.

Why does your company use pre-employment screening?

The reasons employers use employee background checks can vary—from protecting clients to enhancing workplace safety to identifying the best candidates. Whatever your reason, sharing this with your job candidates will help set them at ease. They should know that you’re not trying to disqualify them, but instead you want to find the information that will help you make a smart hiring decision.

What kind of information are you looking for?

This answer will again vary depending on your company’s hiring policy, the position and federal and state screening laws.

Every company is different—and no two background checks will look alike. Because your company should have its own customized screening services, make sure you’re open with your candidate about the kind of information you’re looking for.

If you’re searching for criminal records, explain to candidates that you want to protect your company, clients and other employees, and ensure that a potential employee does not have a past that could affect their job.

If you’re searching for resume discrepancies, explain that it’s not uncommon for minor discrepancies to be uncovered—such as dates of employment. However, also let them know if a larger discrepancy like claiming a degree they have not earned will affect your decision.

In short, regardless of the specific information you’re searching for—tell your candidates. Helping them understand why you’re looking for specific information will build trust and put them at ease about the screening process.

How long is the background screening process?

There’s no easy answer for this one, as it largely depends on the information you request in your background checks.

If you’re conducting a criminal background check, this will depend upon how many counties you’ve requested and how long it takes those courts to respond to a possible criminal hit. Employers should be in contact with their background screening provider, as they should be able to communicate if there’s a delay for any reason.

Another aspect that might affect turnaround time is if an education or employment verification is requested. For example, a more extensive employment history might also cause a delay.

Will anything you find disqualify me for the position?

Depending on state or federal screening laws, you may or may not be able to conduct a background check until later in the hiring process. Regardless of when you request a background check, it’s essential to be clear with candidates if there’s a particular record that might disqualify them.

It’s also crucial that your company hiring policy should clearly outline the type of criminal record or resume discrepancy that would disqualify a candidate—unless you want to find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit.

It’s also important to note that many employers actually prefer that a candidate be up front about their criminal past. While this is not always possible due to ban the box laws, if you’re able to ask for disclosure before the background check, clearly communicate your company policy for hiring candidates with a criminal record.

If something is found in my background check, will I be notified?

If a criminal background check uncovers disqualifying information on your candidate, you are required by law to send a pre-adverse and adverse action notification. While your background screening company was in compliance and verified the information there are still cases when a criminal record might be incorrect.

For example, if a record was expunged, but it was still reported, it’s vital that your candidate have the opportunity to dispute the information. Let candidates know that if information is found that they believe to be untrue, they will be notified and have sufficient time to make a dispute.

If you’re unsure about how to comply with the two-step adverse action notification, contact your background screening provider for legal counsel.

When all is said and done, your candidate experience will only be as good as your transparency about the background check process.


Improve Candidate Experience

Taking a No Shortcuts Approach to Background Screening

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An Illinois man recently sued both his former employer and their background screening provider because they errantly reported that he was a registered sex offender, and didn’t take the time to ensure that the record actually belonged to him. The employment background check misidentified the individual, a male in his twenties, as a man in his fifties who had been convicted of sex crimes in states where he had never lived.

Unfortunately, stories like this fuel the perception that employment screening companies don’t care whether they report accurate information or not—and that employers blindly make hiring decisions without allowing candidates to refute the information. However at EmployeeScreenIQ, it further validates our core belief that smarter screening means intelligent hiring.

Over the years we have developed a best in class screening process which focuses on delivering the most comprehensive, accurate, and compliant background checks in the industry. And it’s no secret as to how we’ve gotten here. In fact, we can sum it up in two words: “No Shortcuts”. No Shortcuts is more than just a tagline or fancy marketing campaign. It is the foundation for how we operate our business. This mantra is employed at every level of our organization so that employers have everything they need to make an informed hiring decision.

But rather than read about our No Shortcuts philosophy, we thought you’d prefer to hear (and see) about it from our team.




Employment Background Screening


5/8/2015 Court Rules LinkedIn Searches Are Not Background Checks

“At the crux of the complaint was the plaintiffs’ argument that LinkedIn was acting as a consumer reporting agency (CRA) under the FCRA, and that reference searches were consumer reports,” said Angela Preston, vice president of compliance and general counsel at background screening company EmployeeScreenIQ.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Spokeo: Class Action Attorneys Shudder

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Spokeo Case

Should a consumer who has not been harmed by a statutory violation be entitled to bring a claim on behalf of themselves or a class of individuals? That is the question that the United States Supreme Court has agreed to consider by granting the petition for writ of certiorari in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339 (U.S.) I know, this sounds like I’m setting you up for one of the most boring posts I’ve ever written, but stick with me. Whether you know it or not, this question matters to employers more than you might know.

Case Background

In July 2010, Thomas Robins on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, alleged that inaccurate information on Spokeo’s website was a “willful” violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Spokeo was initially successful in arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were without merit since Robins, while admittedly unemployed, had not suffered any “actual or imminent harm”—a required element of a cause of action under the statute. Read more about that decision almost two years ago here.

Robins alleged that his Spokeo profile included a laundry list of inaccuracies: wrong age, wrong marital status, and wrong photo. Not all of the information was negative or even unflattering. Interestingly, the website reported that he had a graduate degree (he did not), that his economic health was “very strong” and that his “wealth level” was in the “top 10%”—all false, according to the plaintiff.

In an earlier post on this case, my colleague Angela Preston offered the following: “Call me crazy, but if I found out that a website was misleading the world into thinking I was a member of the highly paid, elite, upper echelon of society, I might not complain. But Robins made a good point—while being financially stable is not considered a negative (at least by most people), it doesn’t exactly help your job prospects to have a web site touting your great wealth.  The unemployed Robins claimed that the inaccurate information was costing him jobs, ‘causing actual harm to Plaintiff’s employment prospects” as well as “anxiety, stress, concern and/or worry about his diminished employment prospects.'”

Class Actions Have Become Epidemic

For the last several years, class action attorney’s have been having a field day going after employers for technical violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act as it applies to their employment background screening practices. In the process, they have been extracting millions from employers or in most cases, employers’ insurance companies who were too scared about massive judgments against their clients.

The problem is that in many cases, the consumers that were “harmed”, really weren’t impacted in any way. For instance, Whole Foods was targeted for included extraneous language on their authorization forms. If the allegations are true, should that language be there? No, it shouldn’t be. The real question though, is whether any one was actually harmed by that extraneous language. That form could have gone out to tens of thousands of candidates, and under the current rules, employers can be held accountable to each of those candidates whether or not they were harmed.

Find Someone Else to Kick Around

If the court rules in favor of Spokeo, and I sincerely hope it does, plaintiff’s attorney’s will have to find a new punching bag. The size of their classes would be considerably smaller which we all know means that there are less dollars involved. It also means that insurance companies might be less likely to settle out of fear and force these attorneys to actually prove their cases. More time on a case, means less money in their pockets. See where I’m going with this?

Now, lest you think I am against employers or background screening companies being held accountable for FCRA violations– far from it. Employers need to get this right. I am not opposed to the Federal Trade Commission pursuing claims when laws are violated or for consumers who have truly been harmed to pursue their legal rights. What I am against is opportunistic vultures that exploit the system and drive away in their Porsche’s while the people they represent, that were supposedly “harmed” get very little in the process and employers are left carrying the bag for minor violations.

Editor’s Note:

The author wishes to apologize in advance to Porsche who admits that he wants one very bad and is just jealous:)


New Call-to-Action


5/12/2015 Institute for Human Resources Legal and Compliance Virtual Conference (Speaking Engagement)

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EmployeeScreenIQ vice president of compliance, Angela Preston will be presenting, Ban the Box: What Employers Need to Know, at the Institute for Human Resources Legal and Compliance virtual conference on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 2:30pm EST.

If you are not familiar with the ban-the-box trend, or if you want to learn more about it, this webinar is for you. Ban the box—the push to remove the criminal checkbox from employment applications—is having an impact on hiring all over the country. New ban the box laws, while well intentioned, have created a dizzying compliance challenge for employers. And the challenge is only growing, as more cities, counties and states introduce some type of legislation.

As the trend continues to sweep the country, rather than enacting uniform and consistent ban-the-box laws, each city, county and state seems to be going its own way. At a time when it’s more critical than ever for employers to make sure that they’re hiring safe and qualified people, cities, states, and counties are jumping on the bandwagon, limiting when, how, and whether an employer can look at or even consider a potential employee’s criminal past. The trend was initially targeted at public employers, but has rapidly spread to the private sector as well.

Supporters of ban the box would like to see more employment opportunities for people with a criminal history. By banning the box, supporters believe that more ex-offenders will make it past the application stage and will have a better chance of landing a job. The EEOC has been an active supporter of the movement, recommending that employers in the private sector ban-the-box.

This webinar will provide a broad understanding of ban the box law, as well as specific tactics to help you comply with the laws at both the state and city levels. – See more HR.com