Beating a Dead Horse: Employment Background Checks on the Internet

Nick Fishman

So, we’ve chronicled the issue of employers using the internet and social networking site to conduct background checks ad nauseum.  I’m all for beating dead horse (figuratively, of course), but I surmise we’ve done enough to highlight our opposition to this practice.  If you haven’t already done so, check out our free white paper, “Recruiting and Social Networking Sites: What You DO Know Can Hurt You.

Instead of once again voicing our concerns, I found a great article written by Gary A. Olson, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Idaho State University.  Among the opinions Mr. Olson offers is that information found online cannot always be trusted.  See his comments below.

Too bad it is often so difficult to separate fact from fiction on the Web. Just because it’s been published doesn’t make it true, even in a newspaper article. Exercising genuine due diligence on a candidate’s background means thoroughly investigating information that seems disturbing or suspicious rather than simply trusting the source and assuming its validity. A thorough vetting may require numerous phone calls to parties in the know, but serious follow-through is essential to preserve the integrity of the search.
Most executive-search consultants are experts at the vetting process because their companies’ reputations are at stake. They will contact several people who are not listed as references on the candidate’s application—present and former supervisors, and even officials at previous institutions where the candidate once worked. They will also commission professional background investigations, which include verifying the candidate’s earned academic degrees as well as conducting a complete credit history and a criminal-background check.

Too bad it is often so difficult to separate fact from fiction on the Web. Just because it’s been published doesn’t make it true, even in a newspaper article. Exercising genuine due diligence on a candidate’s background means thoroughly investigating information that seems disturbing or suspicious rather than simply trusting the source and assuming its validity. A thorough vetting may require numerous phone calls to parties in the know, but serious follow-through is essential to preserve the integrity of the search.

Most executive-search consultants are experts at the vetting process because their companies’ reputations are at stake. They will contact several people who are not listed as references on the candidate’s application—present and former supervisors, and even officials at previous institutions where the candidate once worked. They will also commission professional background investigations, which include verifying the candidate’s earned academic degrees as well as conducting a complete credit history and a criminal-background check.

Thanks Mr. Olson.  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  Check out the full article here.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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