COVID-19 Coronavirus Update

As we all watch unprecedented actions and prepare ourselves for the expanding reach of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we want you to be aware that we are taking every feasible precaution to keep our staff and clients safe, and our business functioning, with as few interruptions as possible.

We have had a Business Disaster/Recovery Plan in place for many years. Our leadership team has recently reviewed this plan in consideration of the current situation. We remain hopeful that it will not have to be implemented; however, if it does, you can rest assured that we are prepared. Our ability to provide the exemplary services to which you are accustomed will continue through internal adjustments, which will not affect you.

We will make risk assessments and corresponding decisions as necessary, according to the plan we have in place, which includes different phases based on our evaluation of risk. At this time, we are operating as usual, with a heightened sense of awareness and additional practices in place to help ensure our maintenance of a healthy office atmosphere.

If mandated by the state or federal government, or by circumstances outside of our control, all of our critical staff can work remotely and securely, with no interruption to our services. We would be able to maintain all critical business operations in this manner for whatever amount of time is necessary.

Unfortunately, there are many situations that are outside of our control in their effects on the background and drug screening processes. Below is a summary of those situations and their potential effects. We will continue to update this information, as it becomes available to us.

  • Over the past few days, many higher education institutions have closed, for varying lengths of time. Closures of this magnitude may affect turnaround times for education verifications.
  • While we are unaware of any current court closures, it is possible that other government institutions, including courts, may follow the lead of the colleges and universities and close as well. Our court researcher partners are also monitoring this situation. If there are court closures, we will immediately notify affected clients via the home page of our Screening System.
  • Although there are currently no impacts to our drug screening and occupational health facilities, we expect there may be delays that arise in this area due to the increased burden on healthcare facilities throughout the world.
  • As the effects of this pandemic are being felt in countries around the world, international verifications and searches are also expected to be delayed. Specifically, those in China and Italy.

We are working closely with our local governmental offices and are monitoring developments from several sources, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/.

As with most situations, knowledge and communication are the keys to success. We will continue to post updated information as it becomes available. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at contact@hireimage.com.

Hire Image’s Top 10 Background Screening Predictions for 2020

 

1.Access to Criminal Data Faces Severe Limitations

Legislators and courts around the country are making data more difficult to obtain for background screeners and their clients. This trend is moving throughout the country and is expected to continue in 2020.

          a. Access to Records

Although the court records utilized by background screeners are considered public records, the courts have been limiting access over the past few years. Some limitations relate to the removal of personal identifying information (PII), making it difficult to ensure the record belongs to a specific applicant. Other limitations relate to court personnel refusing to share the records at all. An example is the Clerk of the District Court of Benton County, Arkansas, who withheld entire court records. The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) took them to court and fought for the right to have access.

          b.Sealing/Limiting Records

Last year saw many states and localities automatically sealing convictions under Clean Slate Acts. Pennsylvania became the first state in the country to pass a Clean Slate Law, automatically sealing certain criminal records via technology. The law went into effect in June of 2019 and the process of sealing records officially began. Pennsylvania courts have until June 27, 2020 to seal more than 30 million records. Two other states, Utah and California, followed in Pennsylvania’s footsteps shortly thereafter. Michigan also recently introduced similar legislation. Localities are joining in as well, with prosecutors in both Los Angeles and Chicago erasing thousands of marijuana convictions from criminal records, clearing nearly 18,000 misdemeanor convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.

As this trend continues, employers are increasingly concerned that the candidate who was reported as “clear” may still have a criminal background.  The legislation thus far relates to older charges and minor drug possession charges. However, employers will want to keep an eye on legislation that may further restrict access to criminal record information, potentially impacting the safety of workplaces, properties, customers, employees, and tenants. Going forward, employers should discuss the reporting used by their background screening providers to help ensure they have appropriate access to their candidates’ criminal histories.

2.Courts Continue to Debate FCRA Application to Independent Contractors and Other Non-Traditional Employees

The issue of whether the FCRA requirements apply to independent contractors has recently been brought back to the forefront. Contrary to the long-standing liberal interpretation of “employment purposes” from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which does include independent contractors, agents, and volunteers in its definition, some courts held last year that the protections afforded when consumer reports are obtained for “employment purposes” under the FCRA do not extend to reports obtained for independent contractors.

As most people are aware, the FCRA requires that disclosures are clear and conspicuous and in stand-alone documents when the report is obtained for “employment purposes.”  “Employment purposes” is defined in the FCRA as “a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.” (emphasis added)

The evolution of this issue demands attention. While there appears to be a trend for employers under these circumstances, they should still exercise caution, as some courts have also taken, and may continue to take, a broader view of the term “employment purposes.” Until there is more clarification, employers may consider treating independent contractors the same way they would treat employees for the purpose of the FCRA’s requirements. In doing so, they would be well-advised to create a separate background screening policy for independent contractors, rather than including them in the employee background screening policy. Modifying forms to refer to the applicant as an independent contractor and not as an employee could help to avoid the question of the status of that work relationship for other reasons later.

3. Privacy Laws Increasingly Impact Background Screening

Privacy concerns permeate almost everything we do now, especially with the increase of online “living.” These concerns affect not only consumers, but also the companies that must securely maintain and dispose of records containing sensitive information.

The Federal Trade Commission regulates business privacy laws and policies in the U.S. that impact consumers, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs background checks and provides guidance on best practices businesses should follow to keep data secure. Additionally, post-2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates action by companies and institutions around the world. 2019 saw the imposition of many penalties under the GDPR, but none as large as the 50-million-euro penalty imposed against Google last January. State privacy regulations are now also coming into play more than ever. For example, California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which some are calling the U.S. version of the GDPR, creates new consumer rights relating to the access to, deletion of, and sharing of personal information that is collected by businesses.

With more consumers exercising their privacy rights, and with more avenues to do so, an increase in privacy-related litigation will ensue. Businesses should stay abreast of all privacy laws and regulations affecting them.  In addition to following the FTC’s guidance on the proper data security practices, businesses that utilize a consumer reporting agency for their background screening services should be sure to partner with one that has achieved accreditation with the Professional Background Screeners Association(PBSA) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). The Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) standard, policies and procedures, and measurements are available at http://www.pbsa.com.

4. Companies Begin More Rigorous Screening Practices for Third-Party Vendors and Contractors

As companies continue to outsource various functions of their business, the need for a comprehensive screening policy to cover the third-party vendors and contractors with whom they work will be vital in protecting their interests. Nothing is more evident of this need as the tragic story of the Florida grandmother killed by a delivery worker contracted by Best Buy. While the delivery worker was employed by a third-party company hired by Best Buy for deliveries, it is Best Buy that is named in the lawsuit.

With cases like this in the news and some states beginning to address the issue (Florida has recently introduced a bill to require background checks on third-party delivery companies), companies will not only need to assess their own screening criteria, but also that of their vendors and contractors to ensure the same criteria is applied. Confirming that each vendor and contractor follows the same screening requirements is crucial to keeping the company, its employees, and its customers safe.

5. Employer Policies Require More Updates and Reviews Due to Increase in Laws Impacting Employers

More states are enacting legislation that affects employers, employees, and job applicants at an increasing rate. As they do so, employers must update their policies and procedures on a regular basis to remain in compliance. This is especially true for employers conducting business across state lines, as each state’s laws have their own nuances, to which employers must adhere.

Background and Drug Screening Policies should be reviewed to update for the latest changes in the industry, including, but not limited to, Salary History Bans and Ban the Box laws. What can and cannot be asked during the interview process should be clearly documented in the company’s Hiring policies. Drug Screening policies, also known as Substance Abuse Policies, should include how CBD use is handled and reasonable accommodations as it relates to medical marijuana and the American Disabilities Act.  Attention to the state and local laws are more important than ever in this area. Other policies that should be reviewed are Equal Pay and Wage Discrimination policies, with the onslaught of salary history laws making its way around the country, and any Safe Driving policies, with new cellphone laws being enacted at an increasing rate.

6. The Evolution and Confusion Related to Drug Screening Continues

                     a.Oral Fluid Testing and D.O.T. Mandatory Guidelines Result in Employment Drug Testing Changes

For many years, urine drug tests were used more frequently than any other drug test for employment screening. However, the last couple of years have seen the emergence of more options, some of which are far more convenient and accurate. Specifically, more employers are using oral fluid, lab-based testing, which is considered better at detecting recent drug use than urine and hair drug tests. According to Quest Diagnostics, “[b]y using oral fluid instead of urine, donors can collect their own samples on-site and in the presence of a monitor, reducing the likelihood of tampering or a donor challenge later in the screening process.”

Last year also saw the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), establishing guidelines to include oral fluid specimens in the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The new Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs using Oral Fluid (OFMG) allows for the collection and testing of oral fluid specimens by federal executive branch agencies and other agencies, including the Department of Transportation and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This is the first time a new drug screening test has been added since the guidelines were first published in 1988, requiring only urine specimens.

Oral fluid, lab-based testing has begun to establish itself as the most efficient and accurate drug test in the industry. And, now with the federal guidelines in place, the trend will continue in 2020, with more businesses turning to this method.

                   b. Lawsuits Increase Surrounding Marijuana and CBD Use

If you are an employer who conducts employee drug testing, you have probably been asking some familiar questions recently, namely, among others: Do I have to accommodate marijuana use? Can I still have a drug-free workplace? Can I get sued for terminating an employee for a drug test that is positive for marijuana?

Marijuana continues to remain a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act, making it illegal for any reason under federal law. However, more than half of the states across the country disagree and have now legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Each state’s law also has its own nuances. This inconsistency among states and between states and the federal government leaves many employers asking what the changing laws mean for their existing drug screening policies.

Legislation up to this point has focused on legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use.  However, in 2019, Nevada, following in New York City’s footsteps, became the first state to prohibit employers from refusing to hire a prospective employee because he or she submitted to a screening test and the results indicate marijuana. Nevada’s law became effective January 1, 2020, while New York City’s becomes effective May 20, 2020.

To further complicate matters is the now fairly widespread use of CBD products. While it is not marijuana, per se, use of CBD could still lead to a positive marijuana drug test. Since CBD has not yet been regulated, and many products contain THC, the component in marijuana that results in a positive result, more applicants and employees may unknowingly fail a drug test. We expect this area to continue to cause major issues among employers.

The year 2020 is already shaping up to be one of the biggest years for marijuana-policy reform. Many state legislatures will seriously consider cannabis legalization and voters in other states could face a question about the legalization of cannabis for medical or adult use on their November ballots.

7.Applicants Have Higher Expectations Regarding the Candidate Experience

Today’s job candidates are accustomed to streaming, texting, video conferences–basically, instant gratification. Even email seems slow to those emerging into the workforce. When it comes to interviewing for a job and having their background check conducted, they expect the same swiftness they have been surrounded with their whole lives. In fact, Glassdoor polls show that more than half of job-seekers would consider pulling out of a lengthy selection process. They want to see that their time is valued and if it’s not, they are not afraid to go to social media to express their negative opinions of that business.

Employers should begin to take these factors into consideration, if they haven’t already, with response time involved, interview techniques, and the background screening process. In 2020, employers may start considering what processes can be implemented to make the experience more streamlined and faster, without sacrificing quality. Additionally, and maybe most importantly, can any of the processes become mobile-friendly? Overall, employers should start looking to improve the entire on-boarding experience by focusing not just on what they need, but also what their applicants need.

8.State and Local Limitations on What Can and Cannot be Done by Employers Increase

There are more jurisdictions, both at the state and local levels, with Ban the Box laws and Salary History Bans than ever before. Additionally, more states have enacted various types of marijuana laws, as discussed more in depth above. Together, these laws, and others like them, severely restrict the information to which a prospective employer has access in order to make hiring and promotion decisions.

The substantial increase in these types of laws, coupled with criminal justice reform that is just beginning to scratch the surface, is leading employers down a path they do not want to go–having to make hiring, promotion, and other business decisions with only limited information on their applicants and/or employees. While the reasoning behind these laws is sound, unfortunately, there is not much in terms of protecting the employers.

In 2020, employers will, unfortunately, continue to struggle with the need to balance their decision-making process in the face of compliance with all of these laws and the effective running of their businesses, including protection of their customers and property.

9.Continuous Monitoring Becomes More Commonplace

Industries other than on-demand industries, such as Uber and Lyft, have begun to realize the benefits of continuous background screening monitoring over the past couple of years and we expect this to continue. Technology has made it easier than ever to continuously monitor employees for indications of illegal behavior or reckless driving reports. Employees not only represent a company’s brand, but also could have access to financial and other confidential information. Not having trustworthy employees can lead to loss of productivity, workplace safety, and theft.

As 2020 brings continuous monitoring, it also brings continuous compliance. Employers must make sure to have the employees’ consent to continue to conduct background screenings. Additionally, employers should ensure the technology used is providing objective recommendations, with no perceived or actual built-in biases.

10.Global Screening Programs Evolve

With a now firmly established global economy and more companies employing individuals across the globe each day, having a comprehensive global screening process is crucial to a company’s success. The information required, as well as the results available, will vary from country to county, as will the privacy laws affecting access. As such, companies are seeing the need for a global screening program in order to have a flexible process to account for the varying laws, requirements, and of course, the cultural differences. This need will continue to expand in 2020 and beyond.

Companies are understanding that the old notions that a global screening program is not worth it, too expensive, or too time-consuming are simply not the case. Rather, they want to know where candidates have lived, where they have studied, where they have worked, regardless of whether it is here in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, or somewhere else. With a comprehensive global screening plan in place, companies can mitigate risks and take advantage of the benefits of increased diversity, including differing skills, creativity, and ideas in the workplace.

 

 

 

 

Salary History – What’s That? Where We’ve Been in 2019; Where We’re Going in 2020

By: Christine Cunneen

The legislative trend banning salary history questions is clearly not going anywhere. In fact, it is quite the opposite. At times, it seems nearly as if it’s an epidemic spreading throughout the country. Through the passage of various state and local laws, an employer’s ability to inquire about a job applicant’s salary history is diminishing at an increasing rate.

The trend itself is not new, the pace; however, is.  Starting over three years ago, with Massachusetts and Philadelphia, salary history bans never impacted as many states as they did in 2019. Today, 14 states (and Puerto Rico) and 8 localities have passed salary history bans for private employers, with an astounding 50% of those passed in 2019 alone.  In addition to bans on private employers, 3 states and 10 localities have passed similar legislation for public employers.

Some of the laws passed in 2019 are already in effect, including Alabama, Illinois, Maine, Kansas City (MO), Suffolk County (NY), and Washington.   However, some are not effective until 2020 or later:

  • New Jersey – January 2020
  • New York – January 2020
  • Cincinnati (OH) – March 2020
  • Toledo (OH) – June 2020
  • Colorado – January 2021

Each state’s law has its own nuances, ranging from the size of the employer for which the law is applicable to what exactly can and can’t be asked and when. Some, such as Alabama and New York, specifically prohibit employers from retaliating against an applicant for his or her refusal to disclose their wage history. Others, such as Illinois, also prohibit employers from soliciting salary history information from the applicant’s former employer. Additionally, while Alabama’s law doesn’t ban the question outright, it does prohibit employers from refusing to “interview, hire, promote, or employ” any job applicant who declines to answer.

Other than keeping abreast of the nuances and how they affect employers’ interviewing practices, employers also need to be mindful of the interaction between local and state laws.  For example, New York’s state law is more restrictive in terms of affected individuals than its New York City equivalent.  As such, employers within localities that have salary history bans need to ensure they are in compliance with both.

Some laws, especially the more recently passed ones, provide some guidance and protections for employers. In Kansas City, employers may ask whether applicants have expectations regarding salary, benefits, and other compensation. Kansas City, as well as Toledo, Ohio, also specifically state that the law does not apply to “voluntary and unprompted” disclosures of salary information by applicants. It is important to note though that even if the disclosure is voluntary, employers still are not permitted to rely on the information in determining the applicant’s compensation.

While salary history bans have been enacted at a rampant pace in 2019, not all states are completely onboard. In fact, both Michigan and Wisconsin took a harsh step in the opposite direction, passing laws prohibiting the passage of salary history bans by local governments. Yet, ironically, Michigan enacted legislation for state employment, while preventing local government from enacting at their own level.

Additionally, this issue is not without controversy. Namely, can salary history bans really rectify the issue at hand? Philadelphia’s ban on salary history was challenged based on a claim of violating the First Amendment’s free speech clause, and a federal district court judge agreed. While the “inquiry” portion of the rule was enjoined, the “reliance” portion remains valid. In his opinion, Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg noted that “it is not in dispute” that a gender pay disparity exists, but that the evidence did not sufficiently demonstrate that Philadelphia’s ban would reduce that disparity. Whether this opinion sets a precedent for challenges in other states will be a topic to watch in 2020.

The policy behind these laws is clear. Relying on past salaries to set current ones assumes the past salary was established fairly to begin with. Oftentimes, though, it wasn’t. As such, policymakers argue that basing current salaries on past potentially biased numbers only perpetuates pay gaps based on gender and other protected classes. The laws are designed to protect applicants from receiving offers for starting salaries that are inextricably linked to lower than average past salaries.

Employers may not like yet another legislative trend prohibiting yet another question during the interview and onboarding processes; however, they do need to begin embracing the change in 2020. In doing so, they may find some unexpected benefits. Every employer knows the right employee in the right position is invaluable. If they could shift their focus from worrying about overpaying to focusing on the value this person can add to their company, it would go a long way in moving forward. Many companies have already begun reviewing their pay policies. This transparency can also build trust with an applicant from the start because the information is clear – they know the salary range of the position and understand it has nothing to do with their prior salaries. This comes from a place of trust, rather than one of contention.

Key Takeaways for Employers:

  • Employers in all states should stay informed on the laws that are being passed with regard to salary history and pay equity.
  • Employers in any state that has a salary history ban, either statewide or in a locality that affects them, should review and update their hiring practices and job applications to ensure compliance with the laws.
  • Employers should review their employment verifications processes and background screening questionnaires to remove the question, if needed.
  • Employers should be mindful of remote employees and the various state laws around the country that affect them.
  • Employers should shift the discussion to the applicant’s expectations, rather than what he or she earned in the past.

Hire Image understands the intricacies of salary history bans and stays informed on, and compliant with, the ever-increasing changing laws.  For up-to-date information on salary history bans and how they may affect your workplace, please visit our Resource Guides or contact us to find out how we can help.

HIRE IMAGE ACHIEVES BACKGROUND SCREENING CREDENTIALING COUNCIL RE-ACCREDITATION

 

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release

 

Media Contact:

Deanna Novak : 888-433-0090

 

APPROVED PRESS RELEASE

HIRE IMAGE ACHIEVES BACKGROUND SCREENING CREDENTIALING COUNCIL RE-ACCREDITATION

RALEIGH, N.C., NOVEMBER 11, 2019 – The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) announced today that Hire Image LLC has successfully demonstrated continued compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) and is recognized as BSCC-Accredited.

Hire Image CEO, Christine Cunneen noted on the achievement: “I could not be prouder that Hire Image has once again achieved BSCC-Accredited status.  Our team works tirelessly to ensure that we remain in compliance with the program’s requirements, not only for the benefit of our clients, but for our company, overall.  Through accreditation, we are a stronger background screening provider.”

Each year, U.S. employers, organizations and governmental agencies request millions of consumer reports to assist with critical business decisions involving background screening.  Background screening reports, which are categorized as consumer reports, are currently regulated at both the federal and state level.

Since its inception, PBSA has maintained that there is a strong need for a singular, cohesive industry standard and, therefore, created the BSAAP.  Governed by a strict professional standard of specified requirements and measurements, the BSAAP is becoming a widely recognized seal of achievement that brings national recognition to background screening organizations (also referred to as Consumer Reporting Agencies).  This recognition will stand as the industry “seal,” representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

The BSCC oversees the application process and is the governing accreditation body that validates the background screening organizations seeking accreditation meet or exceed a measurable standard of competence. To become accredited, consumer reporting agencies must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent auditing firm, of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas:  consumer protection, legal compliance, client education, product standards, service standards, and general business practices.

Any U.S.-based employment screening organization is eligible to apply for accreditation. A copy of the standard, the policies and procedures, and measurements is available at www.thepbsa.org.

 

About PBSA®

Founded in 2003 as a not-for-profit trade association, the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) represents the interests of more than 900 member companies around the world that offer tenant, employment and background screening.  PBSA provides relevant programs and training aimed at empowering members to better serve clients and maintain standards of excellence in the background screening industry, and presents a unified voice in the development of national, state and local regulations. For more information, visit www.thepbsa.org.

 

About Hire Image LLC

Hire Image LLC is a nationally accredited specialist in the field of background screening, drug testing, and verification services. Our priority is to provide accurate and timely background screening reports, using our secure platform, thus enabling clients to make well-informed hiring and/or retention decisions. Our exceptional support system, live phone answering, compliance-centric focus, and customized reporting is tailored specifically to meet client needs.  For more information, visit www.hireimage.com.

Driving Record Searches: Not Necessarily Just for Drivers Anymore

Today, more than ever, employers are checking driving records as a part of their overall background screening process.  While a majority of employers conducting this search are filling positions that actually involve driving – trucking, delivery, and ride-sharing, to name a few, more employers are also checking driving records in other situations.  For example, they may want to check with regard to those who may occasionally use their personal vehicles on company business, those who receive a car allowance, or even those who are not anticipated to drive for work at all.

First, from a risk management perspective, this search may serve as an added level of protection for employers against lawsuits brought about if the employee is involved in a negligent car accident while driving in some capacity for his or her employer or on company time.  An employer’s ability to demonstrate that this search was conducted at the outset may provide an extra layer of insulation if the employee is found at fault.  This search can also provide insight into potential drug or alcohol problems, if one or more DUIs appear on their record, depending on the jurisdiction involved.

A driving record, also known as an MVR or DMV, is a public record.  The length of time offenses stay on a driving record is dependent upon the Department of Motor Vehicles of the particular state involved, with each having its own rules and regulations.  Additionally, the number of years driving records may be returned also depends on the state law.   It could be three, five, or seven years; however, seven years is the limit for FCRA purposes.

Driving record reports may show identifying information, such as the name, address, and license number, as well as moving violations, such as speeding tickets, DUIs, and accident history, as well as license records, including points, license suspensions, and revocations.  Without conducting this search, a moving violation may only show up if it resulted in a criminal citation, which appears on a criminal background check in some states.  In other states, criminal convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs do not appear on criminal records and can only be revealed through a motor vehicle record or DMV check.

As with any search, an applicant must first provide authorization.  Employers should be aware that additional wording is required to cover health-related information, such as seizures or other serious medical conditions that may be included on driving records. Hire Image has steadfastly worked to address this issue and our compliance team has included this information on our background check authorizations, including those of several states that require additional specialized forms.

The impacts a driving record search can have on a hiring decision are largely based on the type of job being applied for and the type of violation which occurred.  Some questions an employer may want to consider include:

  • Is driving involved for this position?
  • If it is not involved, will there be occasions for this person to drive while on company time?
  • How serious is the violation?
  • How long ago was it?
  • Are there multiple violations?
  • Did the person pay the fine, if applicable?
  • What are our company policies?
  • Did he or she tell the truth during the application process?

Ultimately, as with any background check, a driving record search can reveal if a person is trustworthy and responsible in order to better protect company property, employees, and customers.  If the position includes regular driving or even the occasional use of a company vehicle, a driving record search should be an easy decision.  However, even if the position involves no driving at the outset, it may be in an employer’s best interest to conduct the search to help identify problems that could negatively affect an employee’s performance.

Hire Image understands the importance of driving record reports.  Contact us for additional information on how to incorporate them into your background screening package or to review your current background screening package.

Verifying the Top 10 Truths about Verifications

By Christine Cunneen

In our People Lie! One Certain Truth on the Importance of Background Screening blog, we discussed the fact that 78% of hiring managers have caught lies on resumes or job applications.  Taking that one step further–how are they catching all of these lies?  The answer is generally through verifications.

With so much attention on criminal history, Ban the Box, and marijuana laws, we sometimes lose sight of how vital verifications are in the background screening process.  As such, we thought it was time to look into verifying Hire Image’s Top 10 Truths about Verifications:

 

1.Employment Verifications are the most commonly requested type of verification. They not only can confirm dates of employment, positions, job duties, the reason for termination (in some states), and eligibility for rehire, but they can also reveal insights into the candidate’s truthfulness, loyalty, work habits, and integrity.  Additionally, caution must be taken if a candidate submits pay documents, which can be fraudulent.

2. The growing trend of Salary History Bans has changed the scope of many Employment Verifications. States are disallowing employers from inquiring into or relying upon the salary history of a candidate in determining whether to offer a job and in setting that person’s salary.  With more and more states adding this restriction, this question is generally no longer asked when verifying employment history.

3. Education Verifications confirm that an applicant attended the educational institution(s) claimed, including the years attended and any degrees or diplomas received. An Education Verification is a great resource for uncovering resume inflation and/or fraud pertaining to a candidate’s educational background. With an Education Verification, it is imperative to confirm that the school was accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

4. Diploma Mills are a multi-million dollar industry affecting reports from high schools, colleges, and universities. Diploma mills claim accreditation by an accreditation mill and refer to themselves as being “fully accredited.”  Due to the increasing amount of diploma mills, Education Verifications are more important than ever.

5. International employment and education should also be verified. International Employment Verifications should be conducted when screening prospective employees who have been employed outside of the United States. Additionally, for Education Verifications, it is important to verify a copy of a degree obtained from a school outside of the United States since diploma mills can also be found in many other countries.  Many clients think if they have a copy of the degree from the candidate, that is all they need. However, many diplomas and degrees look authentic when they are not, even to one with experience in this area.

6. A Professional License Verification can provide additional information and qualifications by verifying the issuance of any professional licenses claimed by the applicant. The appropriate licensing agency is contacted to verify the validity of the license, the date issued, and, if applicable, the date of expiration. In some cases, disciplinary actions brought against the license holder can be discovered.

7. Insights into an applicant’s work ethic, character, ability to interact with different levels of an organization, and job responsibilities, as well as strengths and areas of improvement can be obtained through Professional and Personal References. An interview is conducted with customized questions based on a company’s needs.

8.Discrepancies and gaps in history do not always mean a person is lying and do not necessarily mean it is something with which to be concerned. There are many legitimate reasons for gaps in employment or education.  For instance, the person could have taken an extended maternity leave from a job or a semester off for a medical or family reason and forgot to account for it on his or her application.

9.Negligent hiring claims are a reality for many employers, but they can be avoided if employers take the necessary steps to help ensure a safe work environment. Verifications, such as Employment, Education, and References provide an important component in the defense against such claims.

10. Before any verification can be conducted, permission must be obtained from the candidate. Oftentimes, the person verifying requires a signed authorization.

 

Hire Image understands the importance of verifications.  Contact us for additional information on how to incorporate them into your background screening package or to review your current verifications package.