While we respect and admire Workforce Management, we were troubled by the article, “Burden of Proof,” which was part of a special report on Background Checking (February 2010 issue). Having been quoted in this article, I was disappointed that my quotes, and those of one of my colleagues, were presented out of context. The author attempts to make a correlation between the lack of empirical data on the ROI of background screening and the benefits of doing so for employers. The fact is our industry trade group, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), has not conducted such studies. However, the author fails to mention that such studies do exist outside of the trade group.
Additionally, some important points and studies on background screening were left out. For instance:
- One report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that the median loss for small firms with fewer than one hundred employees was $190,000. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704533204575047594152725262.html?mod=WSJ_Technology_RIGHTBottomSBHeadLines)
- The Society for Human Resource Management says that 70% of all job applications provide information that is not fully accurate. (http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/11/13/just-say-no-employers-wisening-up-to-resume-padding/)
- The average jury award for negligent hiring against a company was $870,390 in 2000, according to Barry J. Nadell, former president of InfoLink Screening Services, in Chatsworth, California.
Probably more than anything, the ROI comes from bad press. Consider the following:
- The news that a Radio Shack chief executive falsified his diploma, causing their stock to tumble drastically.
- Last week’s revelation that at least 10 senior executives and directors at publicly-traded companies had corporate biographies claiming unearned academic credentials.
Background screening is one of the most important aspects of the hiring process; in fact, Workforce Management has published many articles over the years citing similar stats, studies and horror stories.
While I agree that the EEOC does have several initiatives to curb some background screening practices, it’s a far stretch to say the burden of proof will be on employers. Admittedly, some companies are performing screening in a less than desirable manner. However, NAPBS members have worked hard to separate themselves from these types of companies. If background screening is done properly, it finds the right jobs for the right people. If the selection of employees is done properly and no discriminatory hiring practices are utilized, the EEOC finds no cause for action. Consider that fact that the largest user of background screening services in the world is the U.S. Government and their contractors!
Jason B Morris, President
Past Co-Chairman NAPBS