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5 Myths About Verifications and References

September 24, 2013

There are many beliefs about background screening that make conducting one seem costly or time-consuming. However, what many business people don’t know is that these beliefs oftentimes are myths brought to light based on misconceptions. In truth, background screenings and verifications are a necessary investment that every company should make to protect itself from liability.
Here are five of the most common myths that people have about performing verifications and checking references:

Verifying is Time Consuming or Expensive

Proper Verification Saves Time and Money in the Long Run

The cost of a bad hire, whether fraudulent or just a bad fit, is quite high. You will have spent money on training and compensation. Mistakes, missed deadlines, alienated customers, theft, damaged equipment, and trouble with other employees can be costly and lawsuits are a possibility. Solving these problems can use up valuable time. Then there are the costs associated with terminating employment, re-advertising and re-filling the position. Meanwhile, customers flee and profits dwindle.

Hire Image has a network of resources, and a systematic process for verification and contacting and interviewing references with our team of skilled employment professionals. We verify through proper channels that all information provided by the candidate is accurate and truthful, and that the reference they designated is legitimate.

MYTH #2:
References Won’t Tell Us Anything Useful

You Need to Get the Right Answers

You do need to know if the prospective employee was actually employed in the specified position, at the stated salary, and for the dates claimed. You also need to know under what conditions the candidate left and ascertain that there are no contractual stipulations that would affect their ability to perform at your company. Most references will provide these answers.

Hire Image is experienced at handling all of your verification needs, especially when a reference is not willing to volunteer information. Asking the right questions can often elicit helpful information. Did the reference truly work with the applicant, or is he family or a friend? According to, one applicant actually included her dog as a reference!

MYTH #3:
People Wouldn’t Risk Lying

Applicants Do Embellish and The Risk is Yours

High unemployment and fierce competition are among the motivations for people to fabricate skills and credentials. Some lie to hide criminal activities. Chicago University economics professor and coauthor of Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt, cites research suggesting that more than 50% of job applicants lie on their resumes. Other sources indicate that at least 30% of all job applications contain lies.

Imagine the repercussions if you hired a bookkeeper claiming to be a CPA who really wasn’t. How long would it be and how many mistakes would be made before the ruse was discovered? The damages, resulting stress, bad publicity and cost of legal liability could close the doors on your business for good.

MYTH # 4:
Does Education Verification Really Matter?

An Employee’s False Credentials Could Get You Sued

The National Credit Verification Service reports that 25% of the MBA degrees it examines on resumes are false. People often claim they have a high school diploma, undergraduate or even graduate degree that they did not get, or claim degrees from bogus institutions.

You could be at risk of litigation for “negligent hiring” if your employee is one of them. Hire Image can make sure they attended an accredited school and were awarded the degree in the field specified. We contact educational institutions and student record clearing houses and confirm accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education and other accrediting organizations to verify educational credentials. We check with state boards and licensing agencies and organizations to ensure any professional license claimed by the applicant is current and in good standing.

MYTH #5:
Verification Checks Can Be Done Informally

Following Correct Procedures Protects Your Organization

It is vital to keep proper records and to stay within legal guidelines when researching employee backgrounds. You could be sued for negligent hiring or for discrimination if you cannot document your process.

We keep meticulous notes of all phone calls and file all letters and records, as well as notes of any unsuccessful efforts to contact references or information – and we encourage our clients to do the same. This documentation should be retained for at least one year whether or not the individual is hired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers reference check documents as legal records of hiring decisions.

The bottom line is, your bottom line will benefit from a thorough background screening of all potential employees.

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