Tag Archives: Employment Verification

GAO Report Notes Improvements in Accuracy of E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification System

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

According to a new report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau has taken steps to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system used to check if workers are legally eligible to work in the country.

The report – GAO-11-146 Employment Verification (December 2010) – found that USCIS had boosted the E-Verify system’s accuracy by expanding the number of databases consulted to determine the legal status of a new hire and by establishing new quality control procedures that included making employers double-check information for employees found unauthorized to work in the U.S. and allowing E-Verify to automatically correct clerical errors.

More improvements to the E-Verify system mean that more eligible workers are being approved immediately. E-Verify immediately confirmed nearly 97.5 percent of 8.2 million new hires entered into the system during fiscal year 2009, while another 0.3 percent successfully contested their “tentative nonconfirmation” status. In addition, GAO found that the USCIS had taken more precautions to protect the personal information of employees.

Despite these improvements, GAO cautioned that “E-Verify remains vulnerable to identity theft and employer fraud.” Nevertheless, E-Verify – a free, web-based system that compares employee information on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 against records in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases – is currently being used by at least 243,000 employers that ran more than 16 million queries in fiscal 2010, according to USCIS.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading background check provider to employers accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information on ESR’s E-Verify Service, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11146.pdf
http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110119_5352.php?oref=topnews

Florida Governor Signs Executive Order Requiring State Agencies to Use E-Verify

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

Shortly after being sworn-in, new Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order No. 11-02 (Verification of Employment Status) that requires state agencies to use the E-verify system to verify legal immigration status of workers and check whether all current and prospective agency employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.

E-Verify is a free, web-based system operated by the U.S. government that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of employees by comparing data on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 against records in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.

As explained in the following excerpt from the executive order signed by the Governor, Executive Order No. 11-02 requires state agencies to use the E-Verify system to verify employment eligibility of state employees and contractors:

  • All agencies under the direction of the Governor to verify the employment eligibility of all current and prospective agency employees through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system;
  • All agencies under the direction of the Governor to include, as a condition of all state contracts, an express requirement that contractors utilize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of: a.) all persons employed during the contract term by the contractor to perform employment duties within Florida; and b.) All persons (including subcontractors) assigned by the contractor to perform work pursuant to the contract with the state agency.
  • Agencies not under the direction of the Governor are encouraged to verify the employment eligibility of their current and prospective employees utilizing the E-Verify system, and to require contractors to utilize the E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of their employees and subcontractors.

However, as a sign that E-Verify is still not without controversy, Rhode Island’s new Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an Executive Order (also No. 11-02) ‘Terminating Illegal Immigration Control Order’ on his first day in office to rescind a previous order requiring the state and businesses to check the immigration backgrounds of workers using the electronic program E-Verify.

Florida employers that are contractors with state agencies should expect that Florida state agencies will soon take steps to:

  • Amend existing contracts to include the new E-Verify requirement, and
  • Ensure that the E-Verify requirement is part of future contracts.

Florida employers should investigate enrolling in E-Verify to ensure all employees with responsibility for Form I-9 maintenance and E-Verify administration undergo thorough training in Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance. Florida employers may also choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent help them maintain Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading provider of background checks accredited by National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – is a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent and can help employers virtually eliminate Form I-9 errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about E-Verify, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php, read ESR News Blog posts tagged ‘E-verify’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/e-verify/, and see the E-Verify State Legislation Map is available on the ESR website at http://www.esrcheck.com/State-E-Verify-map.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be ‘Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:

http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/scott.eo_.two_.pdf 

http://media2.wpri.com/_local/pdf_files/chafee-e-verify-executive-order.pdf

ESR Background Screening Trend 9 for 2011: E-Verify and I-9 Audits Help Government Find Employers with Illegal Workers

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011

Trend No. 9: E-Verify and I-9 Audits Help Government Find Employers with Illegal Workers

An October 2010 press release from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration, which included issuing more financial sanctions on employers who hired unauthorized workers than during the entire previous Bush administration. Since January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the principal investigative arm of DHS – has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring workers not legally eligible to work in the U.S., debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions, according to the DHS.

A summary of fines and penalties from ICE reveals that this surge in enforcement of a legal U.S. workforce included a 500 percent increase in penalties from worksite enforcement actions (over $5 million), a nearly two-fold increase in I-9 audits (2,200), a record-breaking 180 criminal prosecutions of employers, and the debarring of more than 97 businesses, compared to 30 last fiscal year, with average fines exceeding $110,000.

Due in large part to increased scrutiny on employers from ICE through I-9 audits – where employee information on Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (“I-9 forms”) is checked for accuracy by Government agents –  penalties from worksite enforcement inspections have increased recently. The following statistics from ICE compares Fiscal Year 2010 (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010) with Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009):

  • ICE penalties from worksite enforcement inspections increased to $5,300,000 in FY 2010, up from $1,033,291 in FY 2009.
  • ICE criminally charged a record-breaking 180 owners, employers, managers and/or supervisors in FY 2010, up from 135 in FY 2008 and 114 in FY 2009.
  • ICE conducted more than 2,200 I-9 audits in FY 2010, up from more than 1,400 in FY 2009.
  • ICE debarred 97 business and 49 individuals in FY 2010, up from 30 and 53, respectively, in FY 2009.

These record breaking statistics show that ICE is focusing more on targeting the employers that hire illegal workers through the use of I-9 audits and investigations of their hiring practices. Now more than ever, U.S. employers must regularly review their I-9 compliance practices.

One of the trends that emerged in 2010 and should continue in 2011 is that employers will take steps to ensure they hire a legal workforce by using E-Verify, a free, web-based electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by the U.S. government that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees by comparing data from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 against records in DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. E-Verify is currently being used by more than 230,000 employers at more than 800,000 worksites, according to recent figures from DHS.

Currently, federal contractors and subcontractors in all states must use E-Verify. Many U.S. states have additional state or local E-Verify mandates for either all employers, state agencies, city employees, or have E-Verify legislation pending. A listing of E-Verify requirements can be found on the recently updated (November 22, 2010) online E-Verify State Legislation Map from Tracker Corp available at http://www.esrcheck.com/State-E-Verify-map.php.

Employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance with the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification process. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. To learn more about E-Verify, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is releasing the ESR Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011 throughout December. This is the Ninth of the Top Ten Trends ESR will be tracking in 2011. To see an updated list of ESR’s ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Trends-In-Background-Screening-2011.php.  

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was also the third background screening company to be ‘Safe Harbor’ certified. For more information, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Most Up-to-Date E-Verify Legislation Online Interactive Map Announced

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

To help employers navigate the ever-changing landscape of employment verification requirements, Tracker Corp – developers of innovative Form I-9 software for compliance with employment eligibility verification laws and E-Verify – has announced in a press release the latest and most up-to-date online interactive E-Verify State Legislation Map that shows current summaries of all active and proposed E-Verify laws at federal, state, county, and city levels.

With E-Verify laws gaining momentum, and worksite enforcement “I-9 audits” by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reaching record numbers, employers need to understand their E-Verify compliance requirements now more than ever. Clicking on the image of each state on the online, interactive E-Verify State Legislation Map provides an instant description of the current active E-Verify legislation in that state, including relevant links about the specific E-Verify executive orders, bills, or ordinances.

E-Verify – currently used by more than 230,000 employers at over 800,000 worksites – is a free, web-based system operated by the United States government that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees by comparing data from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 against records in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.

Employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance with the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification process. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about ESR’s E-Verify services, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php and read ESR News Blog posts tagged ‘E-verify’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/e-verify/. The E-Verify State Legislation Map is available on the ESR website at http://www.esrcheck.com/State-E-Verify-map.php.

Founded in 1998, San Francisco, CA-based Tracker Corp provides software for immigration management, I-9 compliance, and E-Verify used by many Fortune 1000 companies, hospitals, and universities. For more information, visit http://www.trackercorp.com/.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com. 

Source:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2010/12/prweb4840794.htm

Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announce Anti-Fraud Enhancements to E-Verify Employment Verification Program

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas have announced the expansion of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program’s capabilities to include U.S. passport photo matching which will enable E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of all U.S. passports and passport cards presented for employment verification checks, according to a DHS press release.

Businesses using E-Verify – a free, web-based system that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees – will now able to verify the identity of new employees who present a U.S passport or passport card for the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 by comparing data with State Department records. Approximately 10 percent of all E-Verify queries currently provide a U.S. passport to establish both identity and employment authorization in order to prove employment eligibility.

“E-Verify is a smart, simple and effective tool that helps employers and businesses throughout the nation maintain a legal workforce,” DHS Secretary Napolitano stated in the press release. “Including U.S. passport photo matching in E-Verify will enhance our ability to detect counterfeit documents and combat fraud.”

E-Verify – operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration – is currently being used by more than 230,000 employers at more than 800,000 worksites.

Now more than ever, U.S. employers must regularly review their Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 compliance practices. Since January 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the principal investigative arm of DHS – performed Form I-9 audits on more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions, according to DHS statistics.

These statistics show the Government has focused less on rounding up illegal workers and more on targeting the employers that hire illegal workers. To help maintain Form I-9 compliance and avoid I-9 audits, employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance using E-Verify. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php and read ESR News Blog posts tagged ‘E-verify’ at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/e-verify/.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1289422305190.shtm

New Research Finds Companies Using Employment Background Screening Experience 60 Percent Better Quality of Hire Compared to Companies without Screening

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A recently published new study on employment background screening has found that organizations using automated tools for background checking, employment and education verification, and reference checking experienced 60 percent better quality of hire compared to those without employment background screening solutions in place.

The new report from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company – “Employment Screening: Mitigating Risk, Driving Down Cost” (September 2010) – is based on over 400 survey respondents to Aberdeen’s 2010 Talent Acquisition Strategies study and looks at the components of employment background screening that are most widely used and how these components impact hiring performance.

The report found that employment background screening is fundamental to best-in-class performance. When asked what kinds of technology they currently used as part of their talent acquisition process, over three-quarters (78 percent) of survey respondents cited the use of employment background screening solutions. The report also found that companies using employment background screening were 43 percent more likely to achieve “Best-in-Class” companies, which Aberdeen Group defines as the top 20 percent of performers along the following categories:

  • First year retention of hires.
  • Percentage of new-hires that were the top-choice candidate.
  • Average year-over-year decrease in time-to-fill vacant positions.

Overall, the research revealed that among Best-in-Class companies the most utilized employment screening technology was employment background screening, with 83 percent using employment screening such as background checks and drug testing.

As for the most common aspects and elements of an employment background screening solution, the Aberdeen Group found that out of all of the survey respondents:

  • 88 percent performed domestic criminal background checks.
  • 87 percent performed previous employment/education verification.
  • 72 percent performed reference checking.
  • 60 percent performed drug screening.

The use of employment background screening has shown an impact on overall quality of hire, with an increase of 7 percent year-over-year for organizations using employment background screening as compared to a 5 percent average increase among those that did not use employment background screening.

The need for criminal background checks and employment and education verifications is key when it comes to risk inherent in hiring, the Aberdeen Group survey found, since even seemingly ideal candidates may have issues unearthed via background checks that make them undesirable for hiring and prospective employees may be included to stretch the truth about their educational backgrounds or previous employment in the current ultra-competitive job market.

The Aberdeen Group survey also shows these two employment background screening elements – criminal background checks and employment/education verifications – are even more important in the financial services, healthcare, and public sector environments:

  • Financial services: 93 percent performed criminal background checks and 97 percent performed employment/education verifications.
  • Healthcare: 94 percent performed criminal background checks and 94 percent performed employment/education verifications.
  • Public sector: 100 percent performed criminal background checks and 83 percent performed employment/education verifications.

Lastly, when it comes to selecting a partner for providing employment background screening, the Aberdeen Group survey found that the speed with which the process was completed (62 percent of respondents) and the accuracy of the results (54 percent of respondents) were far and away the top criteria.

For more information on employment background screening, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?spid=30410182&cid=6812&camp=2

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-research-links-employment-screening-to-recruiting-performance-2010-10-19?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Former Texas A & M Administrator Charged with Fraudulent or Fictitious Degree for Allegedly Lying on Resume and Job Application

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

The Brazos County (TX) Attorney has filed formal charges against a former top-level Texas A&M Administrator after a background check found he allegedly lied on his resume and job application documents about his degrees and military service.

According to a report on KBTX.com Channel 3 serving Bryan and College Station Texas, the former Senior Vice President for Administration at Texas A&M was charged with Fraudulent or Fictitious Degree, a Class “B” Misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $2,000 and six months in jail.

In June, the accused resigned from his position following a background check of his credentials that revealed he had allegedly lied on his resume and job application by stating he was a Navy SEAL and had a master’s or doctorate degree from Tufts University. A plea hearing is set for November 10th, according to court documents.

Resume fraud is a growing problem, especially during the recent down economy, as people struggle to find work and are willing to do anything – including lie about their experience and education – to find a job. A 2003 study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that over half (53 percent) of all job applications contained inaccurate information, a figure that is likely higher given the current economic climate.

For more information on background checks and education and employment verifications, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Charges_Filed_Against_AM_Administrator_105111684.html

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Publishes New E-Verify User Manuals

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released several newly revised E-Verify publications – including the popular E-Verify User Manual for Federal Contractors (M-574) and E-Verify User Manual for Employers (M-775) – that offer instructions for using E-Verify, an Internet-based system that assists employers with electronic employment eligibility verification of new hires and existing employees.  

Overseen by USCIS and the Social Security Administration (SSA), E-Verify is an online verification system that is used along with the Employment Elgibility Verification Form, or Form I-9, to allow employers to check if an employee is legally eligible to work in the United States. The new E-Verify manuals – while providing instructions on how to enroll in the E-Verify system, verify a work force, and steps to take after receiving a USCIS non-confirmation notification regarding an employee’s employment eligibility – also reflect recent changes to the E-Verify website and offer additional clarification:

  • Updates in the ‘M-775 E-Verify User Manual for Employers’ (September 2010) include guidance on determining an employee’s “Hire Date” for E-Verify – which determines the timing requirements for when employers are expected to complete Section 2 of the Form I-9 and E-Verify – and new Error Checking capabilities such as the unexpired document requirement.
  • Updates in the ‘M-574 E-Verify User Manual for Federal Contractors’ (September 2010) include guidance on the new E-Verify interface, FAQs, and instructions for federal contractors required to register for E-Verify due to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) E-Verify clause in their contract.

To download the M-775 or the M-574 documents, visit the ‘E-Verify Publications: Manuals and Guides’ page on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/.

USCIS has also released a new ‘M-776 E-Verify User Manual for E-Verify Employer Agents’ since employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance in the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility process.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

For more information about background screening, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=e2410f4752f0a210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e2410f4752f0a210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

Using Online Referencing Tools and Background Checks to Optimize Employee Selection – Part 2

Read Part 1

Part 2

By Lester Rosen, ESR President

At the end of Part 1 of this blog, the question arose from some hiring managers as to whether automated reference services like Checkster could replace the type of employment verifications performed by background firms.

The short answer is no. Although services from Checkster and similar firms can be extremely valuable, they are done earlier in the time line of the hiring process. Background checks are done near the end of the time line. Traditional background checks and Checkster type services can compliment each other, but they serve different purposes. They are different tools for different functions.

First, Checkster type services occur in the talent sourcing and selection stages. Background checks, by comparison, occur only AFTER a tentative decision has been reached. In other words, Checkster type services are used to decide who to focus on out of a pool of candidates, while a background check seeks to assist an employer in exercising due diligence by examining if there is any reason NOT to hire someone that an employer has potentially targeted for employment.

Although a Checkster type service will obviously also help to eliminate some candidates from consideration in the early stages based upon the results of the third-party reference and assessment provided to employers, there is a fundamental difference between an email-based reference service and the role of a background firm.

The whole idea behind due diligence as a legal defense is independent factual verification.

For example, background firms do not take the applicant’s word for whether the past employer even existed. A background firm will typically independently verify that the past employer existed as well as verify that the phone number is real, independent of what the applicant contends. Even if past references are contacted for evaluation purposes by email, the task of verifying the truthfulness and accuracy of the employment history still requires a screening firm to independently obtain information from past employers.

Another advantage to an employer utilizing traditional background checking techniques is that the employer has a powerful argument in front of a jury in the event of a lawsuit for negligent hiring that they excised due diligence. The background firm’s efforts to manually verify the existence of a past employer, and then to verify that the applicant in fact worked there, is one of the most important and powerful due diligence tools in the employment process. By knowing where a person had been, an employer is able to eliminate any unexplained gaps in employment, and to also know where to search for potential criminal records. It is a well-known fact among due diligence professionals that verifying where a person has worked is just as important, and in some cases more important, than checking for criminal records. A criminal record can occasionally slip through the cracks, but an unexplained gap in employment creates a red flag that may prompt an employer to do further research.

If an employer is sued for negligent hiring, it is also questionable whether an employer can demonstrate due diligence if they let job seekers pick and choose which references were contacted. There is also the possibility of a fake or set-up reference, or an applicant creating a fake identity, and having the bogus ones “verified.” Checkster certainly takes step to minimize the possibility of fraud. However, in the final analysis, there is no substitute for the hard work of manual checks. By manually verifying the existence of past employers, and verifying dates of employment in order to reveal gaps in employment, an employer is taking the final due diligence steps needed before making a hiring decision final.

Employment verifications by a background firm are typically conducted in a call center environment in high volume by callers who are used to verifying factual information about an applicant’s employment history. Given the highly sophisticated software and databases as well as expertise that screening firms bring to the process of manual verification, a substantial number of such checks are completed within three working days.

The bottom-line is risk management. Although these email assessment tools are an excellent means of providing an in-depth assessment about a candidate during the decision-making stage, the traditional background check complement them for the final candidates and provides the demonstrable due diligence that can be used as a legal defense if there is a negligent hire lawsuit.

Conclusion: In the never ending efforts by employers to identify candidates that are a good fit and qualified, a new internet tool has been developed to allow employers to utilize email to accelerate the process of obtaining references and assessments from past supervisors and others that know the applicant. Questions have arisen as to how such a tool is related to the background screening process that employers utilize in order to exercise due diligence. In fact, the two processes, although related in some ways, are entirely separate workflows that occur at different times in the hiring process and for different reasons.

Internet based references can be utilized by an employer to whittle down the field of candidates and to help an employer decide whom to hire. Background checks occur after an employer has made a tentative decision, and needs to determine whether there is any reason NOT to hire an applicant.

When past employment checks are done as part of the background check process, the purpose is to verify that the employer actually exists and to independently verify the core details of employment, such as job title and dates. In other words, there is a large difference between obtaining references, which are a qualitative measure of an applicant’s fit and abilities, and factual verification of an applicant’s employment history, which is a critical due diligence task. Both processes can be useful in the quest to select the best candidates to hire and to avoid bad choices.

For more information about background checks and employment verifications, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com. 

Read Part 1

Source: http://www.recruitingtrends.com/optimizing-employee-selection-by-using-online-referencing-tools-and-background-checks

Using Online Referencing Tools and Background Checks to Optimize Employee Selection – Part 1

Part 1

By Lester Rosen, ESR President

Identifying applicants that are the right fit and have the right knowledge, skill, and abilities to do the job is a perennial challenge for employers. In pre-industrial society, the problem was generally solved by either hiring someone that the employer knew, basing the hiring decision upon a personal recommendation, or using an apprenticeship type program that gave an employer a great deal of insight into who they were hiring.

While these approaches are still in use today, it is no longer possible to match millions of applicants and jobs based upon the employer having a pre-existing relationship with applicants. Additional approaches such as using the internet to find good candidates have developed.  Since every time an employer hires a stranger, it is somewhat of a “leap of faith,” employers need tools to make good decisions. Employers are seeking ways to determine who the person really is and what the person has done in the past, as predictors of how they will perform. Although past is not always prolog, past performance says a great deal about how a person may be expected to perform in the future. Employers also want a means to “look under the hood” at applicants rather than just accepting them at face value.

Every hire represents a significant investment and – simultaneously– a significant risk. A bad hire can result in a legal and financial nightmare. Bad hires cost an employer a great deal in terms of time wasted recruiting, hiring and training, and searching for a replacement, not to mention the job not being done. A bad hiring decision can also lead to litigation for negligent hiring, if the new employee turns out to be unfit, dishonest, or dangerous, and someone is harmed. To add insult to injury, when the bad hire is eventually terminated, employers need to deal with the possibility of a wrongful termination lawsuit even if the firing is entirely justified.

In order to evaluate the various hiring tools, it is essential to understand that the hiring process occurs on a time line. Each step of the continuum carries its own set of legal implications. Matching your hiring tools to the proper stage of the time line is key to sorting out the best applicants AND to helping prevent a bad hire. The available tools of the hiring process can roughly be divided in seven stages as follows:

  • 1. Sourcing stage: This is the process of gathering potential applicants through a variety of means that can include inbound applications from job boards, websites, newspapers, or outbound efforts, such as recruiters seeking passive candidates;
  • 2. Preliminary screening stage: In order to narrow down the applicant pool, there is a preliminary screening primarily based upon the applicants’ self-stated qualifications, conveyed by the resumes or applications or newer tools such as video websites;
  • 3. Assessment stage: This stage can include the interviewing process to further narrow down the field of candidates, as well as numerous other assessment tools, ranging from objective testing to references from past employers or supervisors, or various other testing methods;
  • 4. Decision process stage: Here, the employer has narrowed the pool to one, two, or three finalists and is moving toward a conditional job offer based upon an internal decision-making process;
  • 5. Background checking stage: At this point, either a conditional job offer has been made or is contemplated, and the employer needs to exercise due diligence, typically through a background screening firm, to determine if there is any reason NOT to hire the candidate. The emphasis of a background screening firm at this point is a factual verification of details such as job title and dates;
  • 6. The post offer/pre-hire stage: This is where an employer is able for the first time, if they so choose, to address such areas as pre-employment physicals;
  • 7. The post hire/on boarding stage: This is where an employer, for example, can complete the form I-9 process.

These seven stages illustrate a clear demarcation between efforts pointed at deciding who to hire, and efforts directed at deciding who NOT to hire. This is where evaluation of the pros and cons of the hiring tools comes into play.

Background checks, for instance, are of little assistance in stages 1 through 5. That is because a traditional background check is only performed on finalists, where, by definition, an employer has already made a tentative decision to either hire or place that person in the group of finalists. Background checks are used to decide who NOT to hire.

Are there other tools available besides background checks for sorting through the pool of applicants? Yes. One of the most interesting new tools is for online automated reference checks and assessments.

An example is the offering of Checkster, a company founded by a veteran in the talent management sector. Job candidates select references, such as former supervisions and co-workers, who then get an assessment request emailed to them. It’s self-service. Eliminated are the time spent making phone calls and waiting for and tracking responses. The references simply fill out an email questionnaire. The questionnaire itself is a scientifically designed assessment instrument that gives a fresh look at the applicant and contains a number of state-of-the-art validation tools. The results are communicated back to a recruiter or hiring manager in a graphical and intuitive report. Although there are others competing in the same space, Checkster clearly has thought through and designed the process from both the assessment and talent management point of view.

The end result of using such a tool is that the reference can quickly respond to an email, and time is not wasted on playing phone tag or managing follow-ups. The employer obtains a candid assessment because the person giving the reference is advised that the actual scores are confidential. Through Checkster’s processes, the email evaluations provide a scientific assessment of what is “under the candidate’s hood” – thus increasing the employer’s odds of making a job offer to the best candidate.

However, the question has arisen from some hiring managers: “Can services like Checkster replace the type of employment verifications performed by background firms?”

Read more in Part 2.

For more information about background checks and employment verifications, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source: http://www.recruitingtrends.com/optimizing-employee-selection-by-using-online-referencing-tools-and-background-checks