Tag Archives: Recruiting

Employment screening blog on applicant lies in top ten list in 2009 on major recruiting web site

A leading recruiting web site, RecruitingBlogs , has released its list of the ten most read blogs posted on its site for 2009.  RecruitingBlogs  is a network that is home to over 20,000 recruiters, HR Professionals and recruiting vendors. 

Employment Screening Resources is pleased to note that a blog posted by its president, Lester Rosen, was on the top ten list. 

The blog dealt with the six biggest applicant lies.  The blog was posted at: http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-six-biggest-applicant-lies 

For the entire list, see:  http://www.recruitingblogs.com/forum/topics/top-read-posts-of-2009-on 

ESR will continue to update its blog at leat twice weekly to fulfill is mission of keeping employers, Human Resources and Security professionals  advised of trends, best practices and legal development.  The purpose of the ESR blog is to be the one place employers need to go to keep on top of critical safe hiring issues.  

Although ESR will at times comment on stories in the news that are relevant, ESR does not simply rehash new stories.  The majority of content on the ESR blog is original content written for employers, Human Resources and Security professionals.  Between the blogs, the whitepapers and resources, the ESR web site is a one source encyclopedia for hiring information.  ESR looks forward to continuing to serve its clients in 2010.

Why Background Firms should not contact an applicant directly

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.

Job Applicants and Online Employee Background Screening Software

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)  believes that an applicant’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 applicant’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: http://www.esrcheck.com/Applicant_Generated_Reports.php

Calling unlisted former employers for employment reference

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.

Background Checks and Recruiters

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.  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.  It has great tools and information for recruiters.  See:  http://www.recruitingtoolbox.com/ 

The following is an excerpt from  the blog for the Recruiting Tool Box : 

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.

http://www.esrcheck.com/diligence-audit-current-provider.php

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.

See:  http://recruitingtoolbox.blogspot.com/2009/06/background-check-vendor-checklist.html

Employment Screening Expert Lester Rosen To Present At National Recruiting Conference in Chicago

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 combined KennedyInfo/Onrec 2009 Recruiting Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2009. 

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.  See: http://www.onrec.com/conferences/031109/schedule.html

Mr. Rosen will be addressing, “Don’t Play Recruiting Russian Roulette: Hot Issues, Trends and Current Developments in Background Check.”  

 “Ensuring that candidates are qualified and bona fide are critical element of the recruiting process,” commented Rosen. “I 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.” 

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 background checks, “The Safe Hiring Manual Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace.” He also wrote, “The Safe Hiring Audit.”

 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

Background Check Expert Lester Rosen to Present at Seattle Conference on Social Networking sites

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 – 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.”

 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

The Rush to Source Candidates from Internet and Social Networking Sites

A new article by Employment Screening Resources President Lester Rosen has appeared in the Recruiting  Trends blog, sponsored by Kennedy Information for the purpose of providing leading edge insights and strategies for the recruiting professional.  The blog offers articles by thought leaders and experts in the area of talent management and recruiting.

The article is titled: “The Rush to Source Candidates from Internet and Social Networking Sites – Let’s Slow Down and Think About This for a Minute.”

The article examines pitfalls and legal risk in the use of the internet for sourcing and screening. 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.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) to Present at Recruiting Conference by KennedyInfo

ESR President Lester S. Rosen will be presnting at RECRUITING 2009 by KennedyInfo in Las Vegas on May 21, 2009.  Mr. Rosen will be speaking on: 

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 — such as MySpace™, Facebook, LinkedIn® — 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 “employment brand,” 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.
 See: http://www.therecruitingconference.com/sessions?C=Uks1GkjfHDyHDCr4

Recruiters and Background Checks – How to Speed up the Process

The life cycle of a background check is often in conflict with a recruiter’s time constraints to fill a position.  This blog explores how recruiters can help speed up the process.

Part of the on boarding process for most in-house recruiters is the completion of the pre-employment background check.On the other hand, it is mission critical that employers exercise due diligence in their hiring. If an employer hires someone who turns out to be dangerous, unfit or unqualified, and some harm occurs where it was foreseeable that a bad hire could cause damage, then the firm can be on the hook for a negligent hiring lawsuit, not to mention all of the other costs, workplace problems, and negative publicity associated with a bad hire. Of course, a bad hire does not reflect well on a recruiter either.

The challenge for recruiters  is that they are typically under intense time pressure to complete the hiring process quickly and to get the new person started. In a perfect world, a recruiter would like to be able to go to a website such as www.Should-I-Hire-This-Person-or-Not.com to get an immediate “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” However, no such site exists because much of the data needed to do a background check is simply not gathered ahead of time and data based in such a neat and tidy way. There is not even a comprehensive national criminal database that reveals an accurate criminal history. Most private employers do not have access to the FBI criminal database, and even the FBI database is subject to numerous sources of errors.

As a result, background checks are conducted by actually calling up schools and past employers and going to courthouses. A background check will typically take three days, and that is assuming the universe is cooperating. Of course, there will be delays if an employer has gone out of business or refuses to call back, or a school is closed for a holiday or requires a release or check sent by mail. If a high school degree needs to be verified, there are almost always substantial delays since each high school does things completely differently.  If the applcaint has a GED, the delays can be very long.  If an international background check is requested, there can be a substantial delay.  Further delays can occur if there are potential criminal record matches, and the court clerk delays producing the file that would help determine whether the case can even be reported under complex federal and state rules.

The end result is that the  life cycle of a background check is often in conflict with a recruiter’s time constraints to fill a position. The good news is that a recruiter can be pro-active in speeding up background checks in several ways.

Creating an Efficient Background Check Timeline

1. Recruiters must understand the process can be delayed if screening firms are sent incomplete information, or supplied with forms that are illegible or incomplete.

For example, screening firms often face difficulty in deciphering an applicant’s past employers or social security number. 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 work is completed much faster.

2. An in-house recruiter needs to communicate with hiring managers to eliminate unrealistic expectations. A hiring manager may not understand, for example, that criminal records are searched at each relevant courthouse, or that delays can occur if there is a potential match and the court needs to bring files from storage.

Hiring managers must also be advised that employment and education verifications can be delayed for a number of reasons, such as schools that are on vacation or that require a check or release to be mailed, or employers that are closed, merged or refuse to cooperate. If there is a delay in receiving a completed screening report, the recruiter should examine the source of the delay.

3. If a recruiter is working with a screening firm that has an online ordering system, the process is considerably faster. Not only does this ensure accuracy, which makes the process faster, but it also avoids delays caused by sending a request to a screening firm and waiting for the firm to do manual data entry.

4. Finally, there are times when a recruiter should determine that even though the screening firm has not been successful in obtaining all of the information, enough data is available to make a hiring decision. This typically happens in the area of verifying previous employment. When conducting employment verifications, often times the earliest employment is the most difficult to obtain. However, it may also be the least relevant. If the applicant, for example, worked in a fast food restaurant six years ago after getting out of school and the fast food place will not call back, then there may be no reason to delay the hiring decision, especially if the screening firm has obtained the most recent, and presumably more relevant, job verifications.

5.  It is also important to understand there is a difference between screening and investigation.  Screening is a high volume process, typically done at a low price point so large numbers of people can be reviewed, typically within 3-4 business days.  Investigation on the other hand is much more intense and in-depth endeavor, where each applicant is the subject of increased focus.  However, it much more expensive.   A recruiter or employer cannot reasonably expect to receive investigative level services at screening prices. 

Experienced recruiters understand that background checks are not only a critical part of the hiring process, but are a great deal more complicated than merely putting a name in a database. A competent background checking process requires specialized knowledge, resources and experience. This is particularly true since employment screening is a highly regulated area. The best way to speed up the process is to understand exactly what is involved in facilitating the smooth flow of accurate data.