Helping you get the FACTS on Pre-employment Background Checks.

The blog is a valuable information source for human resource professionals and those seeking employment alike. We provide employment screening to hundreds of corporations and organizations throughout the United States. In doing so, we have an ongoing duty to stay abreast of changing trends as well as state and federal legislation. Here we bring you straightforward information on the how's, why's, do's and dont's, of applicant background checks.


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Past Employment Verifications vs. Professional Reference Verifications

When it's time to create (or update) your applicant screening package, which packs more punch for the price?

While utilizing two or more of each verification type is ideal, we understand it's not always budget permissible. The following information will help you decide which form of verification is more suitable to your need. The fact is, a well constructed screening package will deliver the most relevant information for the least amount of money.
Here's the basics of each.

Past Employment Verifications:
Past employment verifications will typically provide the following information...
-Confirmation of hire and termination dates.
-Confirmation of the applicant's title while employed.
-Eligibility for re-hire
-Confirmation of Salary (optional)
-Comments on performance (when available)

Tip: get the most out of employment verifications by...

1) Asking applicants to provide direct contact information to their supervisor. Supervisors will often yield more information about the employee's performance, along with verifying the dates and title of employment. Human resources personnel tend to be more cautious about revealing information about past employees other then confirming dates of employment and title.

2) Asking the applicant to provide detailed and legible company contact information on the past employers they list. Valuable time can be lost leaving messages for incorrect branches of large corporations or for companies with similar sounding names due to limited or indecipherable information provided by the applicant.

Professional (character) Reference:
The scope of a professional reference verification is quite different than that of a past employment verification. For this type of verification we contact people that worked directly with the applicant. We inform each individual that they were listed personally as a character reference so they understand it is not an employment verification better suited for the HR department. The professional reference can be a supervisor. general co-worker or someone they regular communicated with through work such as a recurring client.

The information obtained during a professional reference verification will often consist of the following.

-Approximate dates the individual worked with the applicant. (may not be identical to the actual dates of employment)
-Title of applicant.
-Summary of responsibilities of applicant.
-Summary of strong or weak points of applicant's work habits based on opinion of the reference.

Tip: get the most out of professional references by...
1) Asking the applicant to provide references that worked with them directly for extended periods of time.
2) Asking the applicant NOT to provide references to which they are related to or have a personal relationship with.
3) Requiring the applicant to provide references to more than one past employer whenever possible.

Each type of reference verification has it's positive and negative aspects. Here are a few notable ones.
Past Employment Verifications: Positives
1) Highly accurate and consistent for confirmation of employment dates and title.
2) Nearly impossible to spoof with false information as "suspicious" company information is verified through corporate records and directory listings.

Past Employment Verifications: Negatives
1) Often limited or no information on performance or character
Professional Reference Verifications: Positives
1) Frequently provides approximate dates of employment and title information as well as character and performance information.

Professional Reference Verifications: Positives
1) Frequently provides approximate dates of employment and title information as well as character and performance information.

Professional Reference Verifications: Negatives
1) Greater likelihood of applicant attempting to use friends or family to act as positive references regardless of actual working relationship.

To decide what's right for your screening package, take into account the responsibilities of the position. Is length of employment and salary a key indicator of success? If so, you'll definitely want past employment verifications for the most accurate factual data. However, if charisma and leadership is key, the descriptive nature of professional character references will deliver on the details. If you're still on the fence, just give us a call. We can help evaluate your need and recommend a cost effective plan!

Call or email today for more information. We're here to help!


1 comment:

  1. The facility is required to maintain records of each background check conducted on current employees. Since these checks may contain adverse, but not disqualifying information, the facility and the Secretary are charged with keeping these records confidential. The only people at the facility that are allowed to see these records are those whose duties actively involve evaluation of those records for purposes of these regulations.
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