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View Poll Results: What would you do (see question/post)

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  • Nothing - I don't check degrees/education

    0 0%
  • Pay The Fee

    2 100.00%
  • Set aside the applicant and consider the oethers instead

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    Hiring & Pre-employment checks

    Here's a little something related to my main source of income: Private Investigating.

    A fair portion of my PI business is Pre-Employment checks. These checks typically involve making sure the information the applicant provided is truthful and accurate and also to make sure they are fairly "clean". All these checks are done with signed releases from the applicant. It often entails 4 sections:
    1) Verify Identification Information: make sure that the name and SSN go together, check previous addresses (comes into play in section 2), etc.
    2) Criminal & Civil Record check: Check at a minimum the county where the person lives for criminal & civil records for the past 7 years (extent usually allowed by law), recomended to check the crim & civ for every county that the person has lived & worked in for the past 7 years.
    3) Verify Credentials (licenses) & Education
    (Note: We don't verify referances or past employers - we recomend the employer do that themselves since they know the type of info they need for the job position)

    Most of this is fairly easy if a little time consuming (the court checks mostly). I have found that there are 'errors' or inaccuracies (and sometimes downright lies) on about 1/3 of all applications.

    One of the big quasi problems I've noticed lately is in regards to Education Verification. It used to be that you could call up a school's registrar and verify the person has the degree they listed. You had to provide the SSN & name of the person, and this was all done for free (well the cost of the LD call). We don't ask for transcripts, grades, etc.
    Lately it seems that many schools (6 out of the last 8 I had to do) have "outsourced" this task of performing verifications to "national Clearinghouses" that are reportedly non-profit. This would not be bad except that the person doing the checking (the employer or us) now has to pay between $6 and $15 for the verification.
    I don't like it myself, but I just pass the cost on to a client, and since they are already paying several hundred for the check they don't mind, but for the normal employer reviewing applicants on their own, it poses a problem.

    So now onto the poll question and discussion:
    Let's say you are interviewing for a job and have narrowed the applicant list to 3 people. You check to make sure they have their Masters Degree in Computer Networking (or whatever) and 2 of them check out o.k. (The school registrar verifies the degree), but the 3rd registrar tells you that you must go to one of the Degree Check Clearinghouses to verify the degree, and a check with them shows it'll cost you $12.50 (which is what one of the major one charges for immediate results, but it's only $7.50 if you are willing to wait 2 days for the answer). Everything else about the 3 applicants is equivalent (work history/experience, drive, salary, etc).

    What would you do?

    1) Nothing, I don't check my applicants education (in that case I have a doctorate in everything and I'll work for $100K a year - cheap for the degrees!)
    2) Pay the fee.
    3) Stop considering this applicant.

    (now also for discussion: think if it was 6 equivalant applicants, and fees were needed on 5 of the 6! - you'd end up spending an extra $60 just to see if their degrees are correct!)
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    If you need to hire a private investigator before you hire someone then there must be something wrong.

  3. #3
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil_Red
    If you need to hire a private investigator before you hire someone then there must be something wrong.
    What is wrong is how many people lie on their applications or hide something their employers should know.

    Think of all the great sounding/looking executives at Enron that seemed like the cream of the crop of the business world. Look at them now.

    Wouldn't you like to know that the person you are considering hiring has a criminal past?

    Here's some examples I have come accross:
    1) Man is about to be hired in an executive financial position for in excess of $150K a year. A look into his civil history revealed several suits against him for "Financial Malfeasance" (that means he screwed up with the money) by investors and employers. Would you want him handling your money?
    2) Lady applies for Nanny position with a wealthy family, a position which will include picking up and dropping off the kids at school. A check shows a DWI, drug arrest, and theft charges. You want her taking care of your family or home alone with the kids?
    3) Young man just out of college being considered for a job requiring alot of maturity and trust. He had stated none on the area of the application asking about criminal history. We found 4 cases of him being charged and put on probation or fined for being a minor in possession of alcohol within the last 4 years. You would think he would learn after the first or second time he was caught? Mature? Trustworthy?

    I just finished a set of 6 backgrounds for a client. I can almost guarantee you that at least 2 of them won't be hired now. Their applications were nice and they seemed capable, but reviews showed unreported DWI's, Prositution (probably solicitation), lawsuits, and gross fiscal irresponsibility.

    I think it's actually foolish not to have a background check done, and better by a PI than yourself, but at least do one yourself.

    Here's what we have on the FAQ on our site:

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BACKGROUND CHECKS

    Q. We have an extensive interview process, why should we spend more time and money conducting background checks?
    A. Although good interview techniques are a part of the entire process, background checks may provide the employer with information regarding the prospective employee's history of suing their employers, criminal activity, or personal financial mismanagement. We believe that people are victims of scams because they do not take the time to properly research available records.

    Q. Our company has a security department, shouldn't they conduct our in house background checks and investigative needs?
    A. Security departments are just that, and are designed to protect the physical facility and assets. There is a dramatic difference in the expertise of security and investigators. Security is their main job and they do not have the proper resources, manpower or experience to handle investigations. In addition, many companies utilize outside investigative agencies for liability reasons. When internal investigations are needed, most employees recognize security personnel and may have developed relationships with them. It is therefore important to obtain outside, unbiased investigative resources.

    Q. We do not conduct background checks on our employees, why should we start now?
    A. Court cases have demonstrated that employers who fail to provide a safe working environment are liable to their staff when something occurs that could have been prevented if reasonable efforts would have been taken to prevent this. Lets face it, this is a society of individuals just waiting on the opportunity to sue. Why give them the chance?

    Q. We are a mid-size company with a limited budget, can we afford to conduct background checks?
    A. The question is, "can you afford NOT to conduct background checks?" Why work to build a business, just to have it placed in jeopardy without reason?
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    I didn't vote, because I'd say #1. But in my industry, education doesn't matter as much as portfolio. I tend to look at someone's experience (not just education), their portfolio, and how they present themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsun
    3) Stop considering this applicant.
    I don't understand this option... are you saying you'd stop considering an applicant just because he or she listed a degree and their school is making you pay to verify the information?! That seems rather absurd and unfair...

    I mean, it's not the student's fault his school charges to release information. Penalizing a perfectly good employment candidate just because he/she went to school is silly.
    Josh is an anomaly
    rails & work & twitter

    Organization is the
    death of creativity.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict Caryn's Avatar
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    Hi Steelsun,

    This may seem a little off-topic and I don't mean any disrespect, but there are individuals out there that are desperately trying to break out of their vicious cycle and / or make a new life for themselves.

    Personally, I have a large problem with corporate highflyers repeatedly breaking the law and using other peoples' money for their own gain.

    At the other end of the scale, I am willing to give people a fair go, and maybe that's a weakness on my part.

    Except for positions where candidates have responsibility over children, the incapacitated, and the aged, I would still consider hiring someone who genuinely wanted to turn their life around.

    I can see your point that past mistakes shouldn't be covered up and applicants should not lie, but there are too many narrow-minded employers out there trying to degrade what should be our fair and civilised society. That's probably why many applicants feel they need to lie.

    Finally, to answer your question; depending on the amount of responsibility, I would consider an applicant's whole life experience (not just their degrees etc), or if I were hiring for a senior executive position, I would run a full background check, approach those candidates who had omitted their controversial histories, and give them a chance to prove themselves.

    Cheers,

    Caryn


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