Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and author of the updated second edition of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ will present a webinar, ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with the New EEOC Criminal Guidance,’ at the Institute for Human Resources (IHR) Quality of Hire Virtual Event on Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET. To register for the webinar, which will help HR Professionals understand U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on the use of criminal records, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/ESR-Speaks/Practical-Steps-Employers-Can-Take-to-Comply-with-the-New-EEOC-Criminal-Guidance-147/. Continue reading
Attorney Lester Rosen, the Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) who “wrote the book on background checks,” has authored a new updated and expanded second edition of his comprehensive handbook on background screening, ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Employment Screening Background Checks for Employers, Recruiters, and Jobseekers’ (Facts on Demand Press). The 736 page book, which will be published in October 2012, includes new chapters on the April 2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on criminal records and social media background checks. For more information and to order the book, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/SafeHiringManual.php. Continue reading
To help Human Resources professionals stay in compliance with new laws regulating background checks in California, Jared Callahan, Director of Business Development for San Francisco-area background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and a licensed Private Investigator, will present the session “How to Comply with California’s Two New Laws Regarding Background Checks” at the annual San Francisco HR Star Conference on Wednesday, July 18, 2012. For more information about the one day conference, which will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time at the South San Francisco Conference Center in South San Francisco, CA, visit: http://www.hrstarconference.com/sf/. Continue reading
To help Human Resources professionals understand the current trends, best practices, and legal developments affecting due diligence and hiring, Attorney Lester Rosen, CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will present a webinar titled ‘The Top 10 Trends for Background Checks in 2012’ for the Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) on Friday, May 18, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Pacific Time. To register for this program, which is approved for 1.0 general recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute, visit: PIHRA Webinar ‘The Top 10 Trends for Background Checks in 2012’. Continue reading
To help Human Resources professionals stay in compliance with new laws regulating background checks in California, Attorney Lester Rosen, a safe hiring expert and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), will present a session titled “How to Comply with California’s Two New Laws Regarding Background Checks” on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at the Los Angeles HR Star Conference. To register for the conference, which takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA, visit: http://www.hrstarconference.com/la/. (UPDATE: Jared Callahan, Director of Business Development for ESR and licensed Private Investigator, will speak at the LA HR Star Conference in place of Lester Rosen on February 29). Continue reading
Multinational business hardware and software system provider Oracle has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Taleo Corporation, a leading provider of cloud-based talent management, for $46.00 per share or approximately $1.9 billion, according to a press release on the Oracle web site available at: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/1517159. Continue reading
New York, NY & Novato, CA — Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide background check provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and HR Integrations, the leading integrations network and exchange for the Human Resource (HR) market, have announced a strategic partnership that will make HR services more accessible to ESR clients by connecting Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) on the innovative HR Integrations HRNX platform with ESR’s background check solutions. The integration allows employers to also take advantage of ESR’s paperless Applicant Generated Report (AGR) system. Continue reading
To help Human Resources professionals avoid the cost in time and money of bad hires, safe hiring expert Les Rosen, CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a background check company accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), will review ‘The Top Ten Trends for Background Checks in 2011 – What Every Employer Needs to Know’ at the 2011 San Francisco HR Star Conference on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at the South San Francisco Conference Center in San Francisco, California. For more information or to register for the event, visit http://www.hrstarconference.com/sf/. Continue reading
By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President
Institutions of higher education such as colleges and universities bear the same risk as other employers when it comes to hiring employees. Due diligence in hiring, including employment screening background checks, is critical for any organization seeking to avoid workplace violence, negligent hiring lawsuits, or any repercussions from hiring employees with unsuitable criminal records or false academic credentials.
Since colleges and universities have a higher duty of care when it comes to hiring given their special role in society to provide a safe place of learning for young people, these institutes should avoid the ten biggest mistakes that higher education Human Resources (HR) professionals make in the area of background screening of staff members:
- No. 1 – Assuming all screening firms are the same
The mistake of assuming all background screening firms are the same is like saying that all schools are the same and a fake degree from a “diploma mill’ is as good as a degree from a school with a legitimate accreditation. In selecting a background screening firm, higher education HR professionals need to make sure the firm belongs to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and if it is accredited by the NAPBS Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). Higher education HR professionals may also want to see if a background screening firm – also referred to as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) – is a member of ConcernedCRAs and demonstrates a commitment not to “offshore” job applicant personal data overseas beyond U.S. laws.
- No. 2 – Assuming database searches for criminal records are adequate protection
One of the biggest fallacies is the untrue premise that database searches are real criminal background checks. Even Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database searches using fingerprints of job applicants can result in missed records since it relies in great part upon the accuracy and timeliness of reports made by state and local jurisdictions. Commercial privately assembled multi-jurisdictional commercial databases used by higher education HR departments can be full of holes since they are a crazy quilt of information complied from a variety of sources with no guarantee that the data is complete, updated, timely, or accurate. Large swaths of the country are not included in these databases and they are subject to both “false positives” and “false negatives,” meaning that criminals can come back as “cleared” and innocent job applicants can be falsely labeled as criminals.
- No. 3 – Assuming a job applicant’s privacy is protected and personal information is kept within United States borders
Many background firms ship personal data of job applicants such as names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers (SSNs) outside of the U.S. for processing in order to save money. In recent years, there has been a substantial effort in the U.S. to protect what has come to be known as “Personally Identifiable Information” or PII. Unfortunately, these protections cease to exist as a practical matter once PII leaves the U.S. The lack of any meaningful protection once data is “offshored” is a major gap in the effort to combat identity theft. When identity theft occurs in the U.S., legal protections, resources, laws, and mechanisms help victims. Once data goes offshore, that protection dissipates rapidly. A reputable background screening firm should believe that risking PII to make more money is not justified by the potential damage to the consumer and the potential liability to the educational institution.
- No. 4 – Assuming you need to have applicants sign a physical piece of paper
There is a “green” solution to the significant logistical challenges faced by institutions of higher learning that are hiring across numerous departments of large campuses, or even across multiple campuses. With the new technology available right now, background screening can be performed by a completely paperless system. For example, if a school uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a button can be added that says “Perform Background Check.” Releases can be handled online as well with a legally valid E-Sign electronic signature, so that no paperwork is involved whatsoever.
- No. 5 – Assuming temporary employees have already been screened by staffing firms
When a staffing firm uses the term “screening,” it may simply mean they are trying to match up applicants with your list of needs – not that they are performing due diligence background checks. It is crucial for higher education HR professionals to have staffing firms clearly specify what types of background checks they are doing, if any, including: who is ordering them, what searches are being conducted, who is reviewing reports, and what criteria is being used to decide who is eligible to work. Another best practice is to ask the staffing firm to include the school, college, or university in the language of the background release so that the HR professional can review the completed reports as well. Even though the worker is on the staffing firm payroll, a college or university can still be considered a “co-employer” and be on the hook for any crimes or misconduct.
- No. 6 – Assuming that contacting past employers is not beneficial
Not checking those businesses or institutions where the applicant has worked for the past seven-to-ten years can be a big mistake for higher education HR professionals. Some HR professionals assume that since past employers are reluctant to give reference information that such calls provide little value. But there are many instances where past employment verifications can be just as valuable as a criminal records search. These include verifying dates of employment and job titles, confirming a job applicant’s whereabouts for the past seven to ten years, making certain there are no “unexplained gaps” in employment, and determining which jurisdictions to search for criminal records.
- No. 7 – Assuming international background checks are too difficult
With the increased mobility of workers across international borders it is no longer adequate to conduct due diligence checks just in the United States. Based on the ‘Place of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 2009’ report issued in October 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 38.5 million foreign-born U.S. residents, representing 12.5 percent of the population. In addition, an increasing number of workers have spent a significant part of their professional career abroad. Because of the perceived difficulty in performing international employment screening, some employers have not attempted to verify international credentials or to perform foreign criminal checks. However, the mere fact that information may be more difficult and expensive to obtain from outside the U.S. does not relieve employers such as colleges and universities of due diligence obligations.
- No 8 – Assuming “one size fits all” for background checks
While HR processionals live by the rule that similarly situated people must be treated in a similar fashion, that does not mean all employees must undergo the same background check. It is perfectly acceptable to screen CEOs more intensely than janitors, as long as all CEOs are screened the same and all janitors are screened the same. The typical rule is that a higher degree of risk justifies, and may require, a higher level of background check. In considering the level of background screening, higher education HR professionals need to weigh the potential risks of the position. Examples of positions with of greater risk include workers with access to: student dorm rooms; personal or financial data; vulnerable groups such as the aged, young, or infirmed; and uniforms that may allow them to act under color of official authority.
- No. 9 – Assuming the Internet and social networking sites can be used without limitations
Many employers have discovered that the internet can provide what appears to be a treasure trove of information when it comes to recruiting and hiring. By using search engines and social networking sites, recruiters are often able to source candidates for positions and use the Internet to pre-screen job applicants. However, in using the Internet for background screening, employers can uncover “TMI” or “Too Much Information” that reveals prohibited information such as ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religious preference, or other factors that cannot be considered for employment. Social network sites such as Facebook may contain a photo that reveals personal characteristics or physical problems and raise questions of discrimination as well. Other concerns with using the internet for background screening include issues of privacy, off-duty conduct, and “cyperslamming” where defamatory material is placed anonymously online. Some schools now have a policy of requiring employers to reveal whether they do such online searches as a condition for recruiting at the school. One alternative is to get specific consent from applicants for an online search, and only after a conditional job offer.
- No. 10 – Assuming it costs too much to do real due diligence
Although cost is an important factor in business, it is usually not advisable to choose the cheapest provider for any professional service since, as the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.” It is especially true for an information-based and heavily regulated industry like background screening. Key criteria for selecting a background screening firm should be knowledge, training, experience, and privacy policies – not cost-cutting.
For more information on background checks in general, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.
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.
By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor
According to background check expert Lester Rosen, while the background check industry is still fragmented, he notes in an article about pre-employment background checks in HR Magazine that some consolidation has occurred and that he expects consolidation in the industry to continue with two background check firm models evolving: large data-driven industries and smaller boutique-style firms emphasizing education and consultation.
Rosen – founder of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace’ – was quoted in an article “Backgrounds to the Foreground” in the December 2010 issue of HR magazine, a publication from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), saying two background check models have evolved.
“Investment banking firms buying and consolidating big companies is a new trend. Larger financial interests are involved at the same time we still have medium-size or boutique firms,” Rosen, an Attorney at Law, says in the story, adding that two models for background check firms have evolved: “A large data-driven industry with assembly-line-like practices and a boutique approach with emphasis on education and consultation.”
The author of the article, Bill Roberts, a contributing editor for HR Magazine, writes that the stakes have never been higher when it comes to choosing a background check firm to protect a business and its reputation due to legal challenges and security concerns. While juries still punish employers for inadequate background checks – one jury mentioned in the article awarded over $20 million in a negligent hiring case – the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has increased enforcement against overuse of background checks that the agency claims violate federal law.
To help employers choose a background check partner, the article notes that the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) launched an accreditation program in March 2010 to apply best practices for consumer protection, legal compliance, and client education, and standards for court researchers, data, and verification, to its members. The NAPBS accredited companies were announced before year-end of 2010.
The article also reveals that while some vendors have ISO certification from the International Organization for Standardization, the ISO only designates that formal business processes are applied and that the ISO is not specific to background checks and does not guarantee quality of products or services like the NAPBS accreditation.
The HR Magazine article “Backgrounds to the Foreground” is currently available only to SHRM members at: http://www.shrm.org/Publications/hrmagazine/EditorialContent/2010/1210/Pages/1210roberts.aspx.
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.