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It's important for companies to conduct employment verifications as part of their background screening process to ensure they're hiring the best candidate for the job. HR professionals and business owners should understand what they're receiving from the verification process, what it entails, and if there are any other options available to optimize their background screening policy.
What is Employment Verification?
Employment verifiers are precisely what you think they are: confirming that your candidate did, in fact, work at their previous employer, for how long, and what position they held. Verifying someone’s job history ensures that they have the necessary experience needed for the role, with the added benefit of confirming that your candidate is providing honest and accurate information on their resume. Typical details include qualifications, job titles, and dates of employment (or unemployment). Sometimes these verifications can include the person’s salary.
How do Employment Verifications work?
Employers who want to verify their candidate’s work history have two options.
1. They can call each past employer directly.
2. They can partner with a background screening company that provides this service.
More details on the pros and cons of these options later. First, let’s get into the details of how it works.
Regardless of whether you are taking on that responsibility or using a pre-employment background screening company, the steps are the same.
It is common for employers to use a third-party verification company to manage their employee data and respond to information requests. Most of these agreements prohibit the business from giving out employment data directly. So, if you can get the information of the past employer directly, that’s great! But if the past employer you verify uses a third-party service, you will be required to pay their fees–in these cases, there is no other option.
What are Employment Verification Databases?
Third-party verification services are meant to protect HR departments from handling information requests directly. These providers obtain information from multiple companies to build an extensive database – you may recognize names like Work Number, U-Confirm, CCC Verify, Verify Today, and Thomas and Company – all third-party services. In many cases, these companies will pay the businesses that provide this data a share of the profit.
What is the downside to third-party verifications?
The most considerable downside is the cost. Large third-party services may charge up to $100 per verification, which is often offloaded to the business requesting the information. These prices have increased exponentially in the past five years as database companies have grown and been bought out by even larger providers.
When using a 3rd party data service, it's important to remember that the information provided may be limited or not meet expectations, despite the high cost. Data suppliers may restrict the data they can provide or may not collect as much information as desired - many are limited to just providing the date of employment and job title. This can lead to incomplete information being included in the screening process and can also result in charges being incurred if additional data is requested.
A thorough background screening process includes information on the dates of employment, job title, supervisor’s name, and if the candidate was eligible for rehire.
Do I need to use third-party verifiers?
While it can feel like these companies back you into a corner and that you must pay for their services, know there is an option to opt-out. With more than two decades of experience in background screening, we know how to help our clients evaluate the information they need to get the best candidate and can help companies determine whether paying these third-party providers is worth the expense. Risk Assessment Group works with many clients who save on this cost and continue their background screening without them.
Why should I use a background screening company for employment verification?
The DIY approach to employment verification will involve a representative from your company calling each past employer on the candidate’s resume. You will still run into employers that require you to go through a third-party verification provider, requiring you to shell out some money regardless.
A professional pre-employment screening company like Risk Assessment Group can save you money in the long run. Risk Assessment Group staff have the experience and training to conduct these searches efficiently and professionally. Ongoing training ensures our customer services reps know exactly what questions they must ask to get accurate information. Additionally, Risk Assessment Group is PBSA Accredited, meaning our services follow FCRA regulations and best practices in HR.
We pride ourselves on personal service, so if we can help you conduct an effective pre-employment background screening without incurring the additional expenses of a third-party provider, we will personally walk you through that too. We consider ourselves an extension of your company – a true partner so that you can find the right people to hire.
Take a look at your pre-employment background screening program. Are you taking on the cost of a third-party data provider when you may benefit more from opting out? Are you not sure? Drop us a line and let's chat about your hiring solutions - we can help.