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Personal Background Checks

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This is very good news for all of you employers out there that conduct pre and post-hire drug testing.  In addition to the safeguards laboratories have put in place to detect any type of dilution or adulteration to a urine specimen, a new bill called “The Drug Testing Integrity Act” has been proposed that will “outlaw the manufacture, sale, shipment or provision of any product designed to assist in defeating a drug test.” Those in violation of this bill would be subjected to penalties and fines.

Stepped-Up Efforts Aim To Thwart Cheating On Drug Tests

Legislation has been introduced, and regulations soon will take effect to crack down on products and guidance designed to defeat testing.

By Susan J. Landers,  AMNews staff. August 25, 2008.

Washington – What do salt, bleach, soap, drain cleaner, detergent, lemon juice and white vinegar have in common? All are promoted on Web sites as substances that can be added to urine to mask the presence of illegal drugs.

Thousands of sites provide information on how to cheat on drug tests, and many of the techniques have been publicized for decades. No sooner had regulations been developed to institute President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 call for a drug-free federal workplace than people began searching for ways to evade detection, said Amitava Dasgupta, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Labs have been successful, so far, at keeping up with the methods employed, but “it’s a cat and mouse game,” Dasgupta said. Just when labs catch up with one subterfuge, another comes along.

Dasgupta spoke July 29 at the Annual Meeting and Clinical Laboratory Expo 2008 of the American Assn. for Clinical Chemistry in Washington, D.C.

With drug abuse a critical problem in the U.S. and many other nations, the screening of potential employees has become common, Dasgupta said. More than 47 million adults reported working in settings where testing for illicit drug or alcohol use occurred during the hiring process, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Drug testing is also a public safety issue, and American Medical Association policy outlines the need to safeguard the validity and integrity of the testing system.

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Remember the Anthrax scares just following the September 11th attacks?  Nearly seven years later, the government finally tracked down the person they believe is responsible.  Guess what?  He was one of them.  Bruce Ivins was employed as a government scientific researcher.  Could they have known Ivins was capable of this by running Continuous Employment Background Checks?

The folks over at HRExecutive Online published a great article about what employers can do to monitor their existing employees.  You might also recall that we included this trend of screening existing employees in our List of 2009 Screening Trends. Take a peek.

Screening Employees- By Tom Starner

When the powerful U.S. government has a tough time determining if one of its employees — an employee in a highly sensitive area — is mentally unstable and potentially dangerous to others, what kind of outcome can private employers expect?

Experts say the use of screening tools to reduce the risks associated with hiring or retaining a person who may turn to violence can be effective and worth the cost, but no system is infallible.

And, of course, it’s important to make sure the company follows privacy and employment laws when instituting screening policies.

In the government’s case, Bruce Ivins, who recently committed suicide after being named the likely suspect for the notorious anthrax killings in 2001, is now being described as “deeply disturbed” by the government itself. And the media is reporting that the potential litigation arising from the situation could run into “tens of millions of dollars,” according a report in USA Today.

“One of the best predictors of how a person will act in the future is his or her past actions,” says Pamela Devata, a senior associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the Chicago-based law firm. “This is why running periodic background checks and screenings on employees or potential employees is imperative.

“[Running background checks] not only mitigates risk to the employer but more importantly, it increases the safety of the person’s co-workers,” she says.

Traditionally, employers have used background screening for job applicants, but there is an emerging trend for the use of such tools for current employees, says Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of Cleveland-based employeescreenIQ.

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We are proud to announce that employeescreenIQ has formed a strategic alliance with iCIMS which will allow hiring professionals using iCIMS’ Talent Management Solutions to automate thorough, accurate and compliant background checks for employment applicants around the world.

The integration allows users to perform employment background checks by seamlessly and securely transporting the necessary data from iCIMS’ Talent Management Platform to employeescreenIQ without duplicate data entry, allowing for greater efficiency and ultimately reducing a corporation’s overall time-to-fill metric.

The alliance between employeescreenIQ and iCIMS will ultimately help HR professionals become more efficient in evaluating candidates and more competitive in their race to introduce new talent to their organizations.

We are exicted about the opportunities this partnership will create for our mutual clientele.  If you are interested in learning about how you can benefit from this integration, please contact us for more information.

View the full press release here . . .

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Cleveland Indians’ international free agent suspended by MLB after failing background check

Sunday, August 17, 2008
Paul Hoynes
Plain Dealer Reporter

Major League Baseball has suspended one of the four international free agents the Indians signed in July.

Right-hander Edward Pinales from the Dominican Republic did not pass a background check by MLB officials and was suspended for a year. John Mirabelli, Indians director of scouting, said he wasn’t sure if Pinales said he was younger than he really was or used a false identification.

“In the past when something like this happened, you would renegotiate and sign a player for a lesser amount,” said Mirabelli. “Now Major League Baseball has stepped in and said the player will be suspended for a year and that he can’t sign with another team.”

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This makes me feel great, my 2nd grader starts school tomorrow.  The State of Ohio is widely considered one of the best states when it comes to the accessibility of fingerprinting and the channeling of results.  Ohio makes it very simple for industries to conduct background checks when fingerprints are required.  The fact that educator background checks are behind is ridiculous.

Background Checks of Longtime Educators Lag

Many to return to classes without a search for criminal history in years
Saturday,  August 16, 2008 8:50 PM

By Jennifer Smith Richards

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Hundreds of longtime educators whose criminal histories haven’t been examined in years, if ever, will return to their classrooms in the next few weeks without background checks, the state says.

The state didn’t even require fingerprints to be submitted until Sept. 5, after the start of school in most districts, but a backlog in federal background checks means that it could take much longer before the Ohio Department of Education examines the results.

In addition, the department’s priority is to check the background of new licensees before looking to see whether longtime school workers have criminal records.

All school workers must be fingerprinted for state and federal background checks under a state law enacted last fall. But educators with permanent or eight-year licenses are particularly affected, because many had not been checked.

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Another summer work week is in the books, so that only means one thing: It’s time for TWIB Notes (This Week in Background Checks).  Okay fine, it’s also a sign that if you haven’t noticed the summer is quickly creeping away that you better get out and enjoy it while there’s still time. With that in mind, I’m going short and sweet with this installment.

From our Blog:

Trooper Investigated For Running Unauthorized Background Checks – Can you believe someone would abuse their privleges with a state criminal records database?  Okay, don’t answer that.

Ten Tall Tales Told on a Resume (from CareerBuilder)- Seems lying on your resume is all the rage these days!

Background Checks at the Olympics – A young and good looking man’s (me) recollections of the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing.

From employeescreen University:

Article by employeescreenIQ’s Rob Thomson on how employers should handle adverse information found on background checks

Next week.  My now-annual lamenting of my oldest daughter starting school (1st grade now.  I’m sure I have another rant in me on the background checks performed in our schools).  We also will be releasing our latest version of The Verifier, our Quarterly Newsletter (click here for a sneak peek).

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This article does not focus on background checks.  It does however give great tips to hiring professionals on how to deter the applicant from lying to you.

3 WAYS TO CATCH JOB APPLICANTS WHO LIE TO YOU

Dr. Michael Mercer

You can use pre-employment tests, interview tricks and more to uncover if a job applicant is lying to you or embellishing the truth.

Question: Did you ever have a job applicant lie to you or, to be charitable, embellish the truth?

Answer: You probably answered, “Yes.”

This is important. In my third book, “Hire the Best and Avoid the Rest,” I often have been quoted as writing, “Whatever behavior you see from an applicant in the screening process is likely the best behavior you will see from that person.” So, if an applicant lies on your tests, interviews and forms, that person also may be dishonest in work he or she does, if you hire the person.

But, don´t worry. Reason: I will reveal to you methods you can use to

a. discover if an applicant lied to you

b. make an applicant hesitant to lie to you

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employeescreenIQ’s Rob Thomson just wrote a great article which we published on employeescreen University entitled, “Consumer Reports: How Should Potential Adverse Information Factor in My Hiring Decision”.  This information can be helpful for organizations who are uncertain how to use adverse information found on a background check.  See excerpt from the article below:

Adverse information in a consumer report could be considered anything that contradicts information the applicant has provided during the application/interview process, or anything negative that turns up in the course of looking into the applicant’s background. It may be as simple and innocuous as misstating dates of employment in a previous job, or as serious as a history of violent felony convictions. There is a broad spectrum of potentially adverse information, so it is important to give some thought as to how much weight should be assigned to different types of adverse information in your hiring decision. Adverse information can be considered using the following questions:

  • How serious is the discrepancy?
  • Is it related to the duties/responsibilities the applicant will be performing?
  • How long ago did it happen?
  • Is there a pattern of discrepancies?
  • If you choose to ask the applicant directly about adverse information, do they offer a reasonable and verifiable explanation for the discrepancy?

There can and will be borderline scenarios where you want to hire someone who really stands out as the best candidate, but they have a discrepancy in their past for which you have previously denied employment to another candidate. In these cases it is important to document why you may have chosen to hire one applicant with a specific type of adverse history and not another with the same. Let’s use an example: last year you hired a file clerk and the background check revealed a DUI conviction from 9 years ago. A check of the file today reveals that the applicant otherwise had a clean record and in all other respects was the most qualified for the job. While most would consider a DUI a serious driving offense, the job involves no driving, it happened long enough ago that the applicant has established and maintained a responsible history since, and there are no other discrepancies to suggest a pattern. Given these factors, you chose to ask the applicant for details about the incident, and the file is documented that you were impressed with the community service and self-improvement activities the applicant initiated as a direct result of the incident. Another candidate, when asked, may have provided no evidence of having taken responsibility for their action and was not hired (obviously, this should be documented as well).

Click here to view the full article . . .

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Talk about a big no-no!

It’s common knowledge in the screening industry that there must be a permissible purpose to run a background check on someone and that someone must sign a release form allowing the check to take place.  One can’t just check out someone else’s background because they are curious or want to try to use the information they find for personal reasons.  Obviously this law enforcement official missed that day in training class and has landed himself in all kinds of trouble.

Trooper Investigated For Running Unauthorized Checks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A state trooper is being investigated for allegedly running unauthorized criminal background checks.

Lieutenant Ronnie Shirley is accused of running the checks on private citizens and state employees.

Investigators are trying to determine if Shirley sought private information for political reasons.

Shirley remains at work during the investigation, but he has been stripped of his computer access to the law enforcement database known as the Criminal justice Portal.

“This particular portal has criminal background checks,” said former prosecutor David Raybin. “It has confidential information about criminal investigations.”

Raybin helped create the site.

“I worked on setting up this portal and I am outraged that it’s being used inappropriately,” he said.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating if Shirley accessed the site to dig up dirt on folks in the political arena.

“People can use it to blackmail each other with, investigate each other, find out things in investigations that can embarrass people. And in a political campaign it can be used in an inappropriate way,” Raybin said.

Shirley has made headlines in 2004. An investigation found he helped get a speeding ticket dismissed for Dave Cooley, then a top aide to Governor Phil Bredesen.

Some now wonder if the THP should be investigating one of their own.

“If members of the THP are accessing this inappropriately, I would suggest the attorney general get involved in this, the district attorney, and the TBI,” Raybin said.

The THP has refused to identify the subjects of Shirley’s background checks.

However, NewsChannel 5 has learned that prominent Republican Bob Eckerman could possibly be one of the targets. In an email Wednesday, the THP said that it would neither confirm nor deny if that was true.

It could take up to three more weeks for the THP to wrap complete its investigation. The findings will then be turned over to a district attorney to review.

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The moral of this story; Hiring managers will do background checks and uncover resume lies!

Résumés are a critical part of any job search. They are the most effective marketing tool any of us have about who we are and what we can do. And all of us want our résumé to be the best possible representation of our work.

But some workers turn their résumés into a work of fiction instead of a representation of fact. A CareerBuilder.com survey of hiring managers and workers looked at the tall tales and bold lies used on résumés.

Story Highlights:

  • Many job applicants get too creative on resumes, making false claims
  • Highest rate of resume dishonesty reported in hospitality industry
  • College attendance, graduation is easy to verify; don’t claim degree not earned
  • Most companies disqualified candidates after discovering their dishonest

Here are the 10 most outrageous whoppers, as reported by hiring managers:

1. Candidate claimed to be a member of the Kennedy family

2. Applicant invented a school that did not exist

3. Job seeker submitted a résumé with someone else’s photo inserted into the document

4. Candidate claimed to be a member of Mensa
Don’t Miss

5. Applicant claimed to have worked for the hiring manager before, but never had

6. Job seeker claimed to be the CEO of a company when he was an hourly employee

7. Candidate listed military experience dating back to before he was born

8. Job seeker included samples of work, which were actually those of the interviewer

9. Applicant claimed to be Hispanic when he was 100 percent Caucasian

10. Candidate claimed to have been a professional baseball player

Modifying your résumé is a lot like airbrushing a photo, and many of us may have made minor tweaks to our résumés. You may have revised a job title that sounded uninspiring or omitted a hellish work experience from your list.

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