Sunnyvale, California-based internet corporation Yahoo! has changed the language concerning background checks in its offer letter to newly hired CEO Marissa Mayer from what the company previously used in an offer letter to former CEO Scott Thompson, according to a blog on the Wall Street Journal website ‘Yahoo Tweaks Background Check Language for Mayer.’ Thompson left the company in May 2012 after a discrepancy in his academic credentials was publicly revealed. In the offer letter  from Yahoo! to Mayer dated July 16, 2012, the following language was used for background checks:

  • Background Check. You represent that all information provided to Yahoo! or its agents with regard to your background is true and correct.
In the offer letter from Yahoo! to Thompson dated January 3, 2012, the following language was used for background checks:
  • Background Check. Please understand that this offer is contingent upon the successful completion of your background check.
As previously reported on ESR News blog ‘Yahoo CEO Leaves Company after Discrepancy in Academic Credentials Revealed,’ Thompson left the company after it was revealed that while several biographies and securities filings claimed he held a Bachelor’s degree in both accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, a “rudimentary Google search” revealed his degree was in accounting only.  Studies have revealed resume inflation in the highly competitive job market during the recent economic downturn is not uncommon.  A 2009 white paper from payroll outsourcing firm Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®) found that 46 percent of employment, education, and/or reference checks turned up discrepancies. The ADP white paper is available here: ‘Should Employers Consider Outsourcing Background Checks?’ However, a 2010 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that while more than three out of four businesses polled – 76 percent – conducted general reference checks on all job candidates, less than half – 49 percent – always verified the degrees claimed by job applicants. The SHRM survey is available here: ‘Conducting Reference Background Checks.’ The new language used by Yahoo! in its offer letter to Mayer mirrors advice from ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ written by background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR). As part of a ‘Sample Policy on Employment Background Screening’ to be placed in an Employee Manual, the book suggests concluding with the following language: This firm relies upon the accuracy of information contained in the employment application as well as the accuracy of other data presented throughout the hiring process and employment, including any oral interviews. Any misrepresentations, falsifications, or material omissions in any of the information or data, no matter when discovered, may result in the firm’s exclusion of the individual from further consideration for employment or, if the person has been hired, termination of employment.  The Yahoo! case is an example why all businesses need to conduct education verifications during background checks. To show how employers can verify academic achievements of job applicants, Rosen also wrote an article ‘The Basics of Education Verifications’ which is available at For more information on background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at, call ESR at 415.898.0044, or email [email protected]. Sources: About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit, call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 (Toll Free), or email [email protected]. About ESR News: The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected].]]>