Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Verifications of past education and employment of job applicants are an important part of most background checks. A background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has policies and procedures in place to assure maximum possible accuracy when obtaining, recording, and reporting verification information. This blog is the fifth in a six part series about NAPBS Accreditation. For previous blogs about NAPBS Accreditation, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/accreditation/.
Verification service standards are just one part of the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) created by the NAPBS for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs), the technical term for background screening companies. The BSAAP contains 58 clauses that CRAs must follow to be NAPBS Accredited. The clauses are divided into six sections: 1.) Data Information and Security, 2.) Legal Compliance, 3.) Client Education, 4.) Researcher and Data Product Standards, 5.) Verification Service Standards, and 6.) Miscellaneous Business Practices. This blog will focus on ‘Section 5: Verification Service Standards’ which contains 11 clauses.
As used in ‘Section 5: Verification Service Standards,’ the term “Verification” refers to academic, employment, reference, and other checks conducted using information that is not public. Section 5 covers verification accuracy, verification databases, stored data, what constitutes an “attempt” to verify information, diploma mills offering worthless degrees, conflicting Data, and contacting current employers only when authorized by clients or consumers. The 11 clauses in ‘Section 5: Verification Service Standards’ for NAPBS Accreditation are as follows:
- 5.1 Verification Accuracy – CRA shall maintain reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy when obtaining, recording and reporting verification information.
- 5.2 Current Employment – CRA shall have procedures in place to contact consumer’s current employer directly only when authorized by client and/or consumer.
- 5.3 Diploma Mills – When attempting educational verifications from known or suspected diploma mills, CRA shall have reasonable procedures in place to advise client of such.
- 5.4 Procedural Disclosures – CRA shall provide full disclosure to clients about general business practices regarding number of attempts to verify information, what constitutes an “attempt,” locate fees, fees charged by the employer or service provider and standard question formats prior to providing such services.
- 5.5 Verification Databases – If CRA compiles and stores employment or education verification information for sale, CRA shall have procedures in place to ensure that data is accurate at the time information is provided to end user and have procedures in place for handling consumer disputes.
- 5.6 Use of Stored Data – If CRA provides investigative consumer reports from stored data, CRA shall have procedures in place to ensure the CRA does not provide previously reported adverse information unless it has been re-verified within the past three months, or for a shorter time if required by state or local law.
- 5.7 Documentation of Verification Attempts – CRA shall have procedures in place to document all verification attempts made and the result of each attempt, in completing all verification services.
- 5.8 Outsourced Verification Services – CRA shall require a signed agreement from all providers of outsourced verification services. The agreement shall clearly outline the scope of services to be provided, verification methodology, documentation of verification efforts, disclosure of findings, time frame for communication and completion of requests, confidentiality requirements, reinvestigation requirements and other obligations as furnishers of information under the federal FCRA.
- 5.9 Conflicting Data – Should CRA receive information from the verification source subsequent to the delivery of the consumer report, and as a direct result of the initial inquiry, that conflicts with originally reported information, and that new information is received within 120 days of the initial report, (or as may be required by law), CRA shall have procedures in place to notify client of such information.
- 5.10 Professional Conduct – CRA shall train all employees engaged in verification work on procedures for completing verifications in a professional manner.
- 5.11 Authorized Recipient – If CRA is requesting verification by phone, fax, email or mail, CRA shall have procedures in place to confirm that verification request is directed to an authorized recipient.
According to the ‘Accreditation’ page on the NAPBS website, the BSAAP has become a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to an employment background screening-affiliated organization for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. The governing body for the accreditation program and future personnel certification is the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). For more information about NAPBS Accreditation, please visit http://www.napbs.com/accreditation/.
Founded in 2003, the NAPBS – “The Voice of Screening Professionals” – exists to promote ethical business practices, compliance with the FCRA, equal employment opportunity, and state and international consumer protection laws relating to the background screening profession. The NAPBS provides educational programs aimed at empowering members to better serve their clients, while adhering to standards of excellence in the background screening profession. For more information about the NAPBS, please visit http://www.napbs.com/.
Founded in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – “The Background Check Authority®” – is a nationwide background screening firm accredited by the NAPBS located in the San Francisco, California-area. ESR’s SOC 2 Audit Report confirms it meets high standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for protecting consumer information. ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen also wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual.” For more information about ESR, please call toll free 888.999.4474 or visit http://www.esrcheck.com.
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