Expediting Background Checks Through Electronic Signatures?

Nick Fishman

We just posted a great article to employeescreen University about employing the use of electronic signatures on applicant consent forms in order speed up and streamline the background checking process.  Check it out!

Let’s face it. We’re all looking for creative ways to speed up our daily tasks. We got Blackberrys so we could quickly respond to messages when we weren’t sitting at our computers. Instant messaging became en vogue when we didn’t want to take the time to write out a long email message. We even invented our own IM language because we didn’t have the time to write out complete words or sentences. Example: r u going 2 finish that project. That would b g8. L8er. Tks.

Those of us who focus on hiring and on-boarding are no different from the rest of society. We are constantly looking for solutions that allow us to expedite the hiring process and decrease the cost of processing applicants. One such method is the electronic job application which then populates the applicant tracking solution. The applicant simply fills out the application on-line and the data flows seamlessly without the need for duplicate data entry. This saves both time and money.

A Panacea for Background Checks, Right?
Now that the applicant’s personal data has been captured in the electronic application, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the background check process can become fully automated? Yes and No.

We all know that the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that our applicants’ must grant written authorization that allows us to conduct a background check. Traditionally, employers provide this document to job applicants and ask for a “wet” (traditional ink) signature on the document. This document is then filed away for proof of signature or sometimes faxed to the background screening provider for processing. So with all the technology available today, why can’t we just obtain consent electronically and move on?

The answer is that we can. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000 (both electronically and in ink), giving electronic contracts the same weight as those executed on paper (be it for background checks, or any other purpose). However, just because it made this form of consent lawful doesn’t mean that it mandated recognition of such signatures if both parties didn’t agree to the format.

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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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