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Hiring Controversies, Social Networking and Falsified Resumes Top EmployeeScreenIQ's Annual List of Background Screening Trends

Global employment screening company shares 10 insights about hot topics that hiring professionals need to watch during 2010

CLEVELAND / June 29, 2009 - EmployeeScreenIQ, a global leader in employment screening, has announced its 2010 list of 10 background screening trends.

Since 2007, the company has developed an annual list to be unveiled at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition. This year's trends were announced at SHRM's New Orleans conference and are designed to equip hiring professionals with advance information on crucial screening topics before they become everyday news.

EmployeeScreenIQ's top background screening trends for 2010 include:
    1 - Greater hiring controversies due to social networking. Social networking has exploded in popularity and changed America's culture. A recent CareerBuilder study found one in five employers used social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to influence hiring decisions. However, many sites have no verification process and several can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. Sites such as YouTube and MySpace have few content requirements, and nearly all sites allow users to make up a profile in someone else's name. At risk are FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) regulations and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines.

    2 - Contractor and PEO background checks rise in importance as temporary labor gains widespread use. As the economy regains its footing, employers will turn to temporary labor such as onsite vendors, contract employees and PEO workers. When a contractor is on-site at an employer's business, which party is responsible for screening the contractor's workforce? And how can all those involved be sure the contractor has chosen a screening provider who employs best practices? Addressing these issues before signing a contract will be critical for employers in 2010, and their diligence will be tested. A primer for employers is available at: http://university.employeescreen.com/articles/Contractor_Performed_Check

    3 - Increased hiring in 2010. Integrating a background screening program with applicant tracking systems (ATS) will enable companies to save time and money in the onboarding process. This will help speed the inevitable hiring upswing in 2010, as companies realize that the recent mass layoffs cut too deeply into their workforce. Key employees will be rehired and job vacancies will need to be filled.

    4 - Fewer employers will respond to requests for resume verifications. Mass layoffs have left HR departments short-staffed and spread thin in managing responsibilities. As a result, employers are either slow or unable to assist with background checks and verifications. The reality is that former employers don't make money providing verifications, and many are outsourcing the verification process to a third party provider. However, such companies simply provide payroll data that their client - the candidate's former employer - uploaded to their system, and information is lost about the candidate's performance, attitude, skills and experience.


    5 - As job seekers become more desperate to regain employment, resume falsification and diploma mills will increase in use. As the recession triggers an increase in overall crime, employers will see sharp increases in false information from job applicants as well as applicants with criminal records. EmployeeScreenIQ's newest verification study finds that approximately 50 percent of resumes have some kind of inconsistency. The study also found that approximately 17 percent of background checks conducted by the company identify some kind of criminal activity.

    6 - A greater "blind" dependence on the FBI criminal database-despite the reality that it's not fully effective. This database is a law enforcement tool that wasn't created for the purposes of background screening. It lacks more than 50 percent of all criminal records, it's slow and cumbersome, and includes records that resulted in non-convictions. As the number of government jobs increase, our legislators' reliance on this database as a thorough, accurate and effective screening for regulatory guidelines provides users with a false sense of security. It also creates more gridlock since the tool was never intended for employment background screening purposes.

    7 - Controversies over increasing attempts to enact privacy laws, redacting social security numbers and other background information from court records. In recent years, state legislators in New Mexico, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and others introduced bills that would remove personal identifiers such as Social Security Numbers and birthdates from public records. All were defeated, but this is a misguided effort to reduce the potential for identity theft-the unintended consequence is an insurmountable setback to any organization who conducts background checks on job candidates. If states destroy such records, employers may not be able to perform due diligence on candidates. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is leading the efforts to educate public officials and defeat such bills.

    8 - Increased state legislation aimed at discriminatory use of credit reports. Legislators in the state of Connecticut recently drafted a bill that would prohibit employers from using credit reports when conducting employment background checks. While the stated purpose is "to prevent discrimination against prospective employees on the basis of their credit history," the abolishment of this important screening tool is not in the best interest of the state's employers or its citizens. A similar measure was proposed and nearly passed in California until it was vetoed. Such bills would significantly increase businesses' exposure to civil actions over the use of credit checks; further, they increase administrative costs to those employers who must legitimately use credit reports as a screening tool. This legislation is an obstacle to employers' use of available information to make hiring decisions.

    9 - Screening Providers Will Achieve Industry Accreditation. This January, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) announced the launch of a new Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). The result of a seven-year effort, the BSAAP will offer a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to screening organizations that demonstrate a commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and ongoing institutional improvement. EmployeeScreenIQ will be one of the first providers to apply when the association begins accepting applications.

    10 - Litigation will increase over perceived discrimination in screening and hiring decisions. For years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) field offices have aggressively pursued cases where one or more forms of discrimination permeate a company's hiring practices. Such discrimination cases will only increase in America's litigious culture. For instance, in most cases it's not enough to simply adopt a policy against hiring felons, someone with a poor credit history or with a less-than-honorable military discharge. Instead, employers need to ask if there is any nexus between the hiring standard and the job the individual is being hired to do. A continuing area of legal concern is Adjudication Modules-grids or charts that dictate specific reactions to convictions for identified crimes. The pitfall is that different jurisdictions define crimes differently and such inconsistencies can result in possible employer EEOC infractions.
The bottom line, according to EmployeeScreenIQ experts, is that employers need to regularly revisit their hiring practices.

"We're often asked by clients what elements of a background check deserve the most attention. The answer is, review everything," said Jason Morris, president and chief operating officer of EmployeeScreenIQ. "Every organization is unique in their hiring needs and practices. Every individual that you consider for employment should be judged on their own merit, strengths and weaknesses, by someone in the hiring organization that can consider the complete individual."

About EmployeeScreenIQ
EmployeeScreenIQ is a Cleveland, Ohio-based employment screening company offering a variety of employment screening services to mid- and large-cap organizations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe and East Asia.

Media Contact:
Nick Fishman, EmployeeScreenIQ
(847) 564-5410

Elrond Lawrence, Fisher Vista/HRmarketer

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