Background Check Study on Electronic Signatures

Nick Fishman

As organizations continue to identify methods to streamline their hiring processes and to save money, they look to their various providers for solutions.  The emergence of applicant tracking and HRIS systems has accelerated this process, taking manual tasks and processes and automating them.  One such process is the ability to request a background check through these systems, thereby porting all of the necessary data to the screening provider with the click of a button.  No additional data entry is needed.

However, there’s one hitch in completely automating this process: the refusal of employers and academic institutions to accept an electronic signature from a job applicant as proof of consent to release information.  We highlighted this issue a couple months ago in the article Expediting Your Background Checks Through Electronic Signatures?

Further, we just released our study on the acceptance of electronic signatures.  See below.

Struggle to Find a Job Can Increase When Schools and Employers Don’t Recognize Law

Global employment screening company finds shocking non-compliance rates with legislation signed 10 years ago

Cleveland (PRWEB) March 24, 2009 — An alarming 57 percent of requests for employment and education verifications were rejected when an electronically signed consent form was used, according to research conducted by the Quality Service division of employeescreenIQ, a global screening company. This verification of previous employment and degree is a critical step in the hiring process. Human Resource professionals rely on this information to make informed hiring decisions and with resume fraud at an all-time high accuracy and timeliness of information is essential. “Even though the Electronic Signature Act of 1999 expressly recognizes such signatures as legally binding consent, we find that most employers and academic institutions still want to see an actual signature before releasing information,” said employeescreenIQ’s Vice President of Quality Service, Kevin Bachman. “If an HR Manager can’t get the information they need to make a hiring decision, there’s the likelihood they could simply move onto another candidate.” employeescreenIQ’s research also revealed these interesting facts:

  • Academic institutions rejected the request for information 59% of the time when an electronic signature was used
  • Employers rejected the request for information 55% of the time when an electronic signature was used
  • Turnaround time increased if the company wanted to try again once they obtained an actual signature

This is a case where technology may not be the panacea it’s intended to be. As we released in our 2009 background screening trends, integrating the employment background check process into Applicant Tracking Systems and HRIS platforms is on the rise. And while this can streamline the process, saving both time and money, it doesn’t completely eliminate roadblocks. “Companies that leverage technology find themselves making a choice. Either they exit their automated system half the time to obtain handwritten signatures, decreasing the benefits of integration, or they receive less information, said Bachman. “It’s also a risk for the candidate who may not get a job because their former school or employer doesn’t follow a law passed 10 years ago.”

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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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