Pre-employment screening is critical. It is the ultimate nightmare for every human resources, security, or risk-management professional: Your phone rings late Friday afternoon as you wind up loose ends from yet another challenging week and are looking forward to a quiet weekend. A panic-stricken voice informs you that Pat in accounting has assaulted another co-worker and threatened to harm a supervisor. It turns out Pat was not only stealing money, but did not really have the experience claimed.
Another important tool is resume verification. Job applicants often use their resumes as a marketing tool, but the hiring company can find itself in trouble when resumes exceed the bounds of honesty. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of resumes contain material falsehoods that pertain to previous employment, education, and professional licenses.
A professional screening firm can verify whether an applicant has the degrees or licenses claimed. Even if a past employer will not give details about job performance, just verifying the job dates and job title is crucially important. One of the most critical parts of the hiring process is to look for unexplained gaps in employment. That is important in order to help a screening firm check the appropriate courthouses while searching criminal records.
Checking criminal records is a good example of a pre-screening process that helps promote safe hiring. It is estimated that 10 percent of job applicants have criminal conviction records relevant to the hiring process; without a screening program, it is statistically almost certain that a company will hire someone with a criminal record. Contrary to popular perception, there is no national database available to private employers. Criminal records are normally checked by having qualified researchers visit courthouses in counties where an applicant has lived or worked. Because there are more than 10,000 courthouses in America where records are kept, most employers outsource this task to qualified firms that specialize in pre-employment screening.
Employers have an absolute right to conduct lawful pre-employment screening in order to hire the best-qualified candidates. A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) balances the right of employers to know whom they hire with an applicant’s right of disclosure and privacy. Under that law, the employer first obtains the applicant’s written consent to be screened. In the event negative information is found, the applicant must be given the opportunity to correct the record. Employers should set up a consistent policy so similarly situated applicants are treated the same. A qualified screening company will assist an employer with legal compliance issues.