In a recent state court case that concerned a fact pattern familiar to background screening specialist, a local office of a national staffing firm supplied an employer with a bookkeeper that turned out to have criminal record for felony fraud and who misrepresented her educational background. The worker embezzled $138,350. However, since the employer did not specify that the staffing firm should do a background check, and the staffing firm never claimed that they would do one, the employer’s claims were dismissed. Continue reading
A leading recruiting web site,Â RecruitingBlogs , has released its list of the ten most read blogs posted on its site for 2009.Â RecruitingBlogs Â is a network that is home to over 20,000 recruiters, HR Professionals and recruiting vendors.Â
The blog dealt with the six biggest applicant lies.Â The blog was posted at: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-six-biggest-applicant-liesÂ
For the entire list, see:Â http://www.recruitingblogs.com/forum/topics/top-read-posts-of-2009-onÂ
ESR will continue to update its blog at leat twice weekly to fulfill is mission of keeping employers, Human Resources and Security professionalsÂ Â advised of trends, best practices and legal development.Â The purpose of the ESR blog is to be the one place employers need toÂ go to keep on top of critical safe hiring issues.Â Â
Although ESR will at times comment on stories in the news that are relevant, ESR does not simply rehash new stories.Â Â The majority of content on the ESR blog is original content written for employers, Human Resources and Security professionals.Â Between the blogs, the whitepapers and resources, the ESR web site is a one source encyclopedia for hiring information.Â ESR looks forward to continuing to serve its clients in 2010.
Some employers or recruiters want background firms to contact an applicant directly if there is a need to obtain additional information or to clarify information from an applicant. If this has ever crossed your mind as an employer or recruiter, you might want to reconsider.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) generally recommends against having background firms getting in the middle of that special relationship between the Recruiter and the Applicant. It creates confusion, causes delays, and brings a background screening firm into discussions with the applicant who may not even realize that a third party is involved.
From many years of experience, ESR knows that background checks actually go much faster where the recruiter exclusively manages the direct applicant relationship and obtains additional information when needed.
This issue of applicant contact can come up in a number of ways.
First, if a recruiter is submitting faxed orders instead of using the ESR online solutions, recruiters must understand the process can be delayed if orders are sent that are illegible or incomplete. For example, screening firms often face difficulty in deciphering an applicants handwriting as to past employers or a Social Security Number. An eight and a three can easily look alike. Since a screening firm is not expected to read hieroglyphics or be a mind reader, the screening firm has to contact the recruiter to clarify the information. Some screening firms will make their best guess and if they are wrong, the report is delayed even further, proving the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished. Recruiters who review all applications for completeness, legibility and accuracy with the candidates before sending the applications to a screening firm will find their report is completed much faster.
Another example is an incomplete employment verification because the past employer has moved, merged, or gone out of business. If the recruiter still needs that to be verified, then someone needs to contact the applicant and ask for things such as W-2’s, or names of past supervisors. There are some recruiters who ask their background firm to do this, even though it is the recruiter that has most knowledge about the applicant and has direct contact.
There are a number of complications that arise if the screening firm attempts to contact the applicant.
1. The applicant does not know the background firm, and is naturally reluctant to supply a Social Security Number or date of birth to a stranger over the phone, or send pay stubs to someone they do not know. That typically means the applicant will normally call the recruiter first anyway to find out what the situation is all about, which, of course, delays the screening process further.
2. The background firm often has to engage in phone tag, requiring back and forth before the screening firm can connect with the applicant. Since the applicant has no relationship with the screening firm, an applicant does not always realize it is important to call back, especially if the applicant is looking at several different job offers. On the other hand, if a recruiter is in hot pursuit of an applicant, or the applicant is focused on getting the job, it is likely that the recruiter will have a great deal less difficulty getting in touch with him/her to obtain the additional information or clarification.
3. The third issue is tracking. The screening firm needs to track the status of the additional calls to the applicants and to deal with multiple applicants instead of a single point of contact. Recruiters presumably already have an ATS or some other system to keep tabs on the progress of each job and each finalist (since typically only a finalist is getting screened).
4. The last and most important issue is when a screening firm calls the applicant, an applicant may now believe that the background firm is somehow involved in the hiring decision. There have been applicants who have wanted to continue selling themselves to a background firm’s clerical employee, whose only mission was to obtain some missing information and who knows nothing about the job. Or, if the applicant somehow feels that background employee did not give them the attention he or she deserved, the applicant may be left with a negative impression of the potential employer or complain about the contact.
For these reasons, many background firms typically prefer not to get themselves in the middle of the relationship between the recruiter and the applicant.
A recent post on an HR blog concerned an applicant who was directed online to web-based background screening software to fill out information, finding it took 80 minutes. Not surprisingly, this applicant was not pleased with the amount of time and effort it took to fill out on online background form. Such dissatisfaction can actually lead to qualified applicants going elsewhere. See: http://www.risesmart.com/risesmart/blog/feeling-dissected-by-pre-employment-screening-software/
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Â believes that an applicantâ€™s time is valuable and the online system for a background check should respect the applicant and reflect the value the employer places upon recruiting qualified candidates. The ESR system, for example, only takes a few minutes of an applicantâ€™s time to fill out online. It only asks those questions that are strictly necessary for the screening an employer wants and does not waste time by asking for information that is not needed for the screening involved. It also transfers information already put into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), if the ATS is able to send it. Also, all work is done in the US in a professional environment, and not sent offshore or into private homes for processing, so applicant privacy and data protection is much greater. Applicants that have had a negative experience with using online background screening systems to fill out their own data may want to suggest that the employer look at other systems, such as the ESR system at:Â http://www.esrcheck.com/Applicant_Generated_Reports.php
From the ESR mailbox: I have heard that it is against the law to check any reference other than those provided by the applicant. For example, if an applicant had a job that was not listed on the resume or application, can a background firm or employer still contact that person?
Answer: We are not aware of any legal prohibition against contacting “unlisted” individuals to perform reference checks as part of the employment process. The consent that is given to employers or screening firms to verify past employment or qualifications is not limited to just those individuals an applicant chooses to list or reveal
However, the unlisted” person should only be contacted if the person has knowledge relevant to employment and should only be asked job related questions. Questions for example, about legal off-duty conduct would not be proper. Furthermore, any questions should certainly be non-discriminatory and not an invasion of personal privacy. Typically, a background firm is asked to contact listed employers. There are circumstances however where the person in charge of hiring decides to go a deeper because they are hiring for an important position. The hiring manager hiring may contact the listed references, and then ask who else has they can call that has knowledge about the applicant. This is known as a developed reference. The purpose is to develop the names of other individuals who know the applicant and to get a candid assessment from someone who perhaps has not been “prepared” to give a reference. The topic of unlisted employment may also come up if there are unexplained gaps in employment, and the employer wants to dig deeper. Unlisted jobs may also appear on automated employment verification databases.
One important caveat-”a background firm will typically not contact a current employer without specific permission in order to avoid causing any problems on the current job if the new job doe not work out.
Employers with questions about background checks are free to send them to Jared Callahan at jcallahan@ESRcheck.com . For more information generally, see www.ESRcheck.com
ESR is closed for the holidays on November 26 and 27. Happy Thanksgiving.
A leading national Recruiting Blog by noted national recruiting and training expert John Vlastelica recently featured the role that a screening firm such as ESR can play for recruiters.Â The blog, Recruiting Tool Box, is a management consulting and training firm that partners with HR and recruiting leaders to build and deploy the right recruiting strategies, plans, processes, systems, tools and training.Â It has great tools and information for recruiters.Â See:Â http://www.recruitingtoolbox.com/Â
The following is an excerpt from Â the blog for the Recruiting Tool Box :Â
Considering a new background check vendor?
I completed a custom benchmarking study 18 months ago for a client, and asked 20 major employers about their background check policies, processes, standards, and plans for the future. 50% said they were relatively unhappy with their current vendor.
There’s a lot of firms out there. I was networking with people from a firm (ESR) based in California yesterday, and I asked them some questions about the differences between the firms in their space. (Their President was one of my favorite speakers at the Kennedy show I was at a few weeks ago, and we’re bringing him to Seattle to speak to us on Sept 16; watch www.smaseattle.org for details in the coming weeks).
They pointed me to a 22 question checklist that highlights key questions you should ask any background check vendor you’re considering. I thought it was an objective list, so thought I’d share it.
Are you pleased with your background check vendor? What makes them work well – or not so well – for you?
p.s. Note: I don’t have any commission relationships with any vendors of any kind. I certainly have opinions about firms and people in our space, but my opinions are not influenced by commissions or kickbacks.
Employment Screening Resources,Â Â a leading international employment screening background checking firm headquartered in the San Francisco area, announced that its president, Lester Rosen, will be presenting before the combined KennedyInfo/Onrec 2009 Recruiting Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2009.Â
This national recruiting conference brings together online recruiting leaders and productivity solution providers from around the globe to push the boundaries of online recruitment solutions.Â See: http://www.onrec.com/conferences/031109/schedule.html
Mr. Rosen will be addressing, â€œDonâ€™t Play Recruiting Russian Roulette: Hot Issues, Trends and Current Developments in Background Check.â€Â Â
Â â€œEnsuring that candidates are qualified and bona fide are critical element of the recruiting process,â€ commented Rosen. â€œI am very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this prestigious conference and to share information on the latest trends and developments relating to due diligence in hiring to assist recruiters in avoiding hiring lawsuits just waiting to happen.â€Â
Mr. Rosen, who is also an attorney, is a nationally recognized, expert, on employments screening background checks.Â He is a writer and speaker on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), pre-employment screening, and safe hiring issues. In addition, Mr. Rosen is the author of the first comprehensive book on employment screening background checks, â€œThe Safe Hiring Manual Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace.â€ He also wrote, â€œThe Safe Hiring Audit.”
Â Mr. Rosenâ€™s speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences.Â Â He has testified in the California, FloridaÂ and Arkansas Superior Court as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. Mr. RosenÂ was theÂ chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the professional trade organization for the screening industry, and served as the first co-chairman in 2004.Â
More information about Employment Screening Resources can be found at www.ESRcheck.com
Employment Screening Resources a leading international employment screening background checking firm headquartered in the San Francisco area, announced that its president, Lester Rosen, will be presenting before the prestigious Staffing Management Association (SMA) of Seattle on September 16, 2009.
SMA’s mission is to present practical and relevant information by bringing in top-notch recruiting and retention experts. See: http://www.emaseattle.org/events.shtml
Mr. Rosen will be addressing, Landmines, Pitfalls and Potential Law Suits â€“ Understanding the Risks of Using Search Engines and Social Networking Sites to Screen Candidates.
“am very pleased to have opportunity to discus this cutting edge topic with to-notch staffing professionals in such a critical economic area as Seattle,” commented Rosen. “There is evidence that recruiters and hiring managers are utilizing social network sites to make hiring decisions without taking into account the potential liabilities that employers can face if done incorrectly or unfairly. This talk is geared to starting a dialogue on the potential landmines that may be encountered if not done correctly.”
Mr. Rosen will review a major new survey that demonstrates what percentage of employers use these sites, which sites they use, how often they are used to NOT hire someone, as well as the most frequently seen issues that turn-off employers.
Mr. Rosen, who is also an attorney, is a nationally recognized, expert, on employments screening background checks. He is a writer and speaker on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), pre-employment screening, and safe hiring issues. In addition, Mr. Rosen is the author of the first comprehensive book on employment screening, The Safe Hiring Manual Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace,a 500 pages plus guide that acts as the text book for the screening industry. He also wrote, “The Safe Hiring Audit.”
Â Mr. Rosen’s speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences. He has testified in the California, Florida and Arkansas Superior Court as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. Mr. Rosen was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the professional trade organization for the screening industry, and served as the first co-chairman in 2004.
More information about Employment Screening Resources can be found at www.ESRcheck.com
A new article by Employment Screening Resources President Lester Rosen has appeared in the RecruitingÂ Trends blog, sponsored by Kennedy Information for the purpose of providing leading edge insights and strategies for the recruiting professional.Â The blog offers articles by thought leaders and experts in the area of talent management and recruiting.
The article is titled: â€œThe Rush to Source Candidates from Internet and Social Networking Sites â€“ Letâ€™s Slow Down and Think About This for a Minute.â€
The article examines pitfalls and legal risk in the use of the internet for sourcing and screening.Â See: http://www.recruitingtrends.com/article/ART635215
Mr. Rosen, who is as an attorney at law, is a member of the Editorial Board and frequently presents at Kennedy Information Recruiting Conferences.
ESR President Lester S. Rosen will be presnting at RECRUITING 2009 by KennedyInfo in Las Vegas on May 21, 2009.Â Mr. Rosen will be speaking on:Â
Caution! Using the Internet and Social Networking Sites to Screen Applicants
Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information on potential job applicants by using social networking sites â€” such as MySpaceâ„¢, Facebook, LinkedInÂ® â€” and various search engines. However, it is important to remember that using these sites can present many risks, including issues related to privacy, discrimination, authenticity and reliability. If these sites are wrongly used, even if unknowingly or unintentionally, it can do significant damage to your â€œemployment brand,â€ as well as expose you to litigation and negative publicity. This session advises you on how to stay out of trouble.
Through case studies and viewing different Internet sites, attendees will learn exactly how to screen candidates online. In addition, the group will evaluate the pros and cons of using Internet sites, learn associated privacy and discrimination laws and attain invaluable strategies for navigating legal and practical roadblocks when using search engines or social networking sites.
Â See: http://www.therecruitingconference.com/sessions?C=Uks1GkjfHDyHDCr4