Do You Trust a Resume

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Do You Trust a Resume

  1. 1. www.BusinessControls.com Do You Trust A Resume?According to the United States Department of Commerce, 30% of smallbusinesses fail due to employee theft.[1] Theft, negligence, and improper hiringpractices are often the thorn in the side of every business executive. Lawsuitsresulting from negligent hiring practices are handed out with higher price tags,and they are becoming more common as employees and the economy struggle.As such it is even more important to know your employees. In an informal studyconducted by Business Controls, Inc., it was found that of the individuals whowere reviewed for a pre-employment screening, only 20% had no felony,misdemeanor, or infraction history. It was found that 36% had a driving historyinfraction, 22% had a DUI, 36% had a misdemeanor and 4% had a felony. 52%of individuals who had one type of record had multiple instances of other criminalor negative driving history. While 36% of applicants denied ever having pledguilty, bonded out, or pled no contest at any point prior, 66% falsely indicatedthat they had never done so, or did not accurately reflect their history regardingprior convictions.When reviewing the resumes of potential hires, you often see the best anindividual has to offer. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employees to over-exaggerate their resume. Bankrate.com offered statistics to suggest thatapproximately 30% of resumes had some sort of distortion in the informationpresented.[2] The most common areas of exaggeration include employmentduration, experience, degrees and education received, and job titles. Whenscreening your applicants, be sure the application is completely and accuratelyfilled out. Also, be sure to call educational institutions and employers to confirmtitles, experience, and employment duration. Employers should be conscious ofconcerning information, such as information that does not accurately reflect thedetails provided on the application, or employees who are not eligible for re-hire.While it has become more common for organizations to release less informationwhen providing employment verification, it does not hurt to ask for informationbeyond what is offered or to offer to provide a copy of a signed release, whichshould accompany every application.Another important search to conduct is of applicants’ criminal history as it canprovide the most information regarding misdemeanors, felonies, potentialsubstance abuse history, as well as weapons charges or violent crime. A drivinghistory is also important for those employees who will use a company vehicle, aswell as to reflect substance abuse or weapons charges. For applicants workingwith at-risk populations such as children or the elderly, or for those who will entercustomers’ homes, it is important to complete a search of registered sexoffenders. 5995 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Suite 110 ● Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 ● Office 303.526.7600 ● 800.650.7005 ● Fax 303.526.7757
  2. 2. www.BusinessControls.comWhen reviewing an applicant’s pre-employment background, employers shouldlook for a number of specific “red flags.” Felonies, misdemeanors, and drivinginfractions are easily recognizable concerns. Inflation of employment oreducation history are concerning in that they may “cover up” unsavory orproblematic gaps in the applicant’s history. This may be reflected by employersor educational institutions that are unable to find a record for a former employeeor student. Hesitation regarding eligibility for re-hire is a concern, as it may reflecta history of misconduct, performance issues, or other issues that warrant furtherquestioning. It should be noted that resume and background inflation are notlimited only to lower-level employees. A 2007 article by BloombergBusinessweek indicated that approximately 16% of executive resumes andapproximately 30% of management-level resumes contain inaccurateinformation.[3]While there are many types of pre-employment background services available toorganizations, it is worth noting that the industry is a “buyer beware” market inthat you “get what you pay for.” There are many quick internet backgroundservices available; however, they do not guarantee a name or information match,which may lead to a lot of data sifting on the part of the organization. Similarly,many of the almost 3,200 counties do not report to a central location, such as astate or national database. As such, many “statewide” and “nationwide” searchesare approximately 60% accurate to a name-match only. The allure of thesedatabase searches is that they are quick and inexpensive; however, it has led toa false sense of security in the information returned.[4] Hand-record searches,while more expensive, guarantee accuracy and information matches relevant tothe applicant. If you are going to invest the time and money into conducting pre-employment backgrounds, you should be sure to do your homework and invest ina quality product. Spending money at the forefront may save your organizationmillions of dollars in a negligence lawsuit later.Of note, two current court cases are testing the extent to which criminal recordscan be used in a pre-employment background check. Specifically, in Hudson v.First Transit Inc., Adrienne Hudson, an African American woman, was terminatedafter a background check revealed she had served 4 days in jail for a charge thatwas subsequently dismissed. Ms. Hudson claims First Transit’s criminal recordspolicy has an adverse affect on African American and Latino applicants andemployees. Notably, First Transit does not consider the nature or age of theoffense, or the relevance of the offense to the job.In Johnson v. Locke, Eugene Johnson and Evelyn Houser, who are both AfricanAmerican, were denied temporary employment opportunities with the UnitedStates Census Bureau based on arrest records retrieved from the FBI database. 5995 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Suite 110 ● Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 ● Office 303.526.7600 ● 800.650.7005 ● Fax 303.526.7757
  3. 3. www.BusinessControls.comThe FBI database does not provide information about the nature of the chargesor if the charges were subsequently dropped; thus the Census Bureau relies onthe applicants to provide information about these records. Both Mr. Johnson, whowas provided with inaccurate information from the county court, and Ms. Houser,who was never formally convicted of any charge, were denied employment withthe Census Bureau in spite of being otherwise qualified applicants. As such, theyclaim that the Census Bureau’s hiring practices are inherently discriminatory.In 1982, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued astatement affirming that“an employers policy or practice of excluding individuals from employment on thebasis of their conviction records has an adverse impact on Blacks andHispanics in light of statistics showing that they are convicted at a ratedisproportionately greater than their representation in the population.Consequently, the Commission has held and continues to hold that such a policyor practice is unlawful under Title VII in the absence of a justifying businessnecessity.”[5]A poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (January 2010) notedthat at least nine out of ten HR professionals consider the nature and severity ofthe criminal activity, the number of convictions, the relevance to the position theyare applying for, and the time since the criminal activity, which are the necessaryconsiderations to ensure hiring decisions are in compliance with EEOCguidelines. Further, over half of employers offer the applicant an opportunity toexplain any adverse information found before making a hiring decision.Pre-employment verification has quickly become an industry best practice. It isimportant to know who you are hiring and what their backgrounds look like.Protect yourself, your employees, and your organization by developing andcomplying with a pre-employment verification process. Reduce the risk of legalaction due to improper hiring and negligence. Finally, be sure that the employeesyou hire are who they say they are.[1] http://www.employerschoiceonline.com/resources/screening-stats.html[2] http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/biz/Biz_ops/20000515.asp[3] http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/oct2007/ca2007104_799274.htm[4] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7467732/[5] http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/convict1.html 5995 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Suite 110 ● Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 ● Office 303.526.7600 ● 800.650.7005 ● Fax 303.526.7757

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