Thursday, August 27, 2009

Background Check Tips

Background check provider IntegraScan recently released a list of seven powerful tips to help small businesses perform background checks on applicants without hurting their budget.

  • Verify the applicant's Social Security number - One of the most important factors is to verify the applicant's identity using a Social Security number. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America and an easy way for a criminal to hide their past.
  • Verify the applicant's residential history - 98 percent of crimes are committed within a 50 mile radius of the offenders home address. Being armed with an address history tells you exactly what counties and states to check for existing records. You can save money by visiting the courthouses in the counties your applicant has lived in order to access public record information.
  • Sex offender searches - You can use the FBI's Crimes Against Children Web site to check an applicants sex offender status for free.
  • Don't just search criminal records - Also search bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, municipal court and traffic court. They can go a long way in telling you about a person's character. A person with financial problems may not be the one to put in charge of the company till and a person with DUI charges is not someone you want driving kids around. This information can usually be accessed at the same courthouse criminal records are held at.
  • Check state and federal records - Both types of convictions can be very serious. To save money you can run a preliminary scan of Federal records at If you get a name match you can dig deeper to see if it's your applicant or someone else with the same name. PACER charges you 8 cents per page and you will not be billed if your charges do not exceed $10 per year.
  • Check coverage before you order a database scan - Many companies offer both instant database scans and hand searches. Although database scans are usually much cheaper, not every record is included in a database search. Some states and counties don't make this information available in electronic format. Make sure you check the database coverage against your applicant's address history.
  • If you're a non-profit or work with children, you may be entitled to a discount - Many background check organizations offer large discounts or free searches to non-profits and youth organizations. Make sure you check with a perspective provider to see if you qualify.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pre Employment Test? Prepare for a Drug Screening

Drug screenings have become an important part of the pre employment test process for many companies.

The recent Drug Screening Pulse Survey from the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that three-quarters of companies have a drug test policy. Of those companies, 95 percent said that drug screening is the most common type of pre-employment test. Of organizations with at least 10,000 workers, that number increased to 100 percent.

Of the nearly 300 respondents, 70 percent administer drug tests when there is "reasonable suspicion" of drug use, 62 percent require a drug test following an employee accident and 41 percent do random drug testing.

Of the companies that administer pre-employment drug tests, 47 percent require the test to be conducted within four days after the applicant accepts a position, while 30 percent allow the test to be done any tiem before the employee begins working.

“Most companies aren’t messing around anymore with the drug issue,” Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research at i4cp, said. “They can afford to be picky in the current climate, and one of their demands is applicants who are squeaky clean. Not only is it a legal concern in some cases, there’s also employee health and productivity issues that can’t be ignored by organizations either.”

So how are drug tests done? About 95 percent of companies use urine testing, while 10 percent use breath tests. That number increases to 18 percent at large companies. Only 49 percent of companies allow a re-test following a positive result from a drug test.

When it comes to who should be tested for drug use, 84 percent of respondents said the entire workforce, 13 percent said those who drive as part of their job and 10 percent said those in administrative, clerical and professional roles.

In general, most companies are satisfied with their in-house or vendor-administrated drug screening programs, according to the study. Overall, 61 percent of all companies queried say their program is better than average or excellent. That number increases to 69 percent among large companies.