Easiest way to order a background check, EVER!
In today’s economy, many employers and landlords will struggle through stacks of applications to find the perfect applicant. Narrowing down dozens of applicants to find the most qualified applicant for an available position or a reliable potential resident for an available property can become incredibly demanding. Luckily, our technology is rushing to keep up with this demand. The embedded QuickApp within the InstaScreen system allows you to invite an applicant to electronically sign and authorize a background check, fill out their own personal information and return it to us for processing. This process allows you to apply your valuable attention back to maintaining your business.
One issue that every employer should always have on his mind when it comes to staffing is compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. There are numerous examples of class action lawsuits with settlements in the millions of dollars against pizza chains, major banks and other employers. These lawsuits are for simple technical FCRA violations like including a release of liability in the same document as the FCRA Summary of Rights. Compliance with the FCRA also applies to collection of personal identifiers, ensuring that the information reported is complete and accurate (no room for data entry errors) and even organizing secure storage of authorizations. The QuickApp is a comprehensive aid in avoiding these issues entirely while simultaneously simplifying your application process.
Our built-in QuickApp includes default, fully FCRA-compliant disclosures for employment, tenant, and volunteer screening, including the Summary of Rights under the FCRA, notices for residents of California and New York, and the ability for the applicant to request a copy of the report. Any newly-released FCRA compliance updates are automatically added to our default disclosures before the required implementation date. Applicants’ completed QuickApp authorizations are stamped with the date, time, and IP address of the applicant and stored in a dropdown for access on the report results page at any time. If you have unique disclosure requirements or would like to make any modifications to our default disclosure language, we can make those changes on your behalf.
Lying on a Resume
Resumes are a well-known and vital part of the job application process. Applicants will strive to look their best on their resumes, knowing it could be the difference between getting an interview or spending another week on the job hunt. Unfortunately, this need will occasionally lead an applicant to stretch the truth about his or her work experience or education.
According to Sunny Bates, CEO of a New York recruitment firm, “40% of all résumés aren’t altogether aboveboard.” It even happens with high profile jobs; for instance, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson resigned in May after certain falsehoods on his resume came to light. Apparently, he claimed to have a degree in computer science from a Massachusetts college which he never actually earned.
Background and criminal records checks are the best means to make sure the information you see on that stellar resume isn’t falsified. Here’s a list of the top lies you might find:
- Amount and type of education completed – Like the Yahoo! executive, some applicants won’t be above granting themselves admission to prestigious colleges or degrees they haven’t really earned.
- Number of years of experience – Sometimes this technique is used to cover up gaps in employment. Other times it’s used to inflate the amount of supposed real-world experience.
- Level of knowledge or ability – It’s easy for applicants to overestimate their own technical prowess or language fluency. These exaggerations are sure to become apparent, however, should he or she be hired.
- Inflated job title or salary – Have you ever heard of an environmental maintenance officer? You might recognize it in layman’s terms: garbage man. People aren’t above giving their more menial positions more impressive, if vague, titles. Inflated salary reports are also common, as it gives the applicant more bargaining room.
Don’t fall for these resume tricks. A thorough background check or employment screening should be able to put to rest most of your worries while simultaneously saving you valuable time and money.
Brent Ramey asked about Customer Service
Here is an interview from Brent Ramey on the customer service of VICTIG. Interview was done by a marketing guru Nate Moller, owner of MollerMarketing.com.
Customer service is extremely important to us. We have setup several ways for our clients to contact us. We always have some one live answer the phone, which we feel that is key to separate us from the competition especially from the big boys of the industry. It is much easier to keep a client then to get a new one and we value that concept so we will do what ever we need to keep our clients happy and give them the best service possible.
Listen to the podcast posted here.
Screening employees to help avoid workplace violence.
Did you know that one in every five on-the-job deaths is caused not by workplace accidents, but by violence? That’s the word from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently released new data about workplace injuries.
The bureau found that nearly 17 percent of the 4,609 job-related deaths recorded nationwide last year were linked to some kind of violence in the workplace. In raw numbers, that represents 780 people.
Needless to say, a thorough background check can do wonders when it comes to preventing potential violence at work. People with histories of domestic abuse; assault and battery; and/or drug and alcohol abuse often demonstrate anger management and personal control problems that can possibly lead to on-the-job violence, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Background checks can identify applicants who have demonstrated these types of unacceptable workplace behaviors.
Background checks do add a layer of time and complexity to the hiring process. And they may not prevent all types of workplace violence. But they are an important step for a company that is trying to make sure its employees have a safe working environment. And they can help reduce the risk that your company makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.
For more information about preventing workplace violence through background screening, take a look at this report.
Security is Important
We have posted about the inherent dangers of storing information online in the past, and the methods you might use to make the most of our software’s built-in security standards, such as choosing a unique password and avoiding writing passwords down. Since then, the slow economy has not slowed the growing attempts at identity theft, and Tazworks, our software partner, has kept security a fundamental priority by making a few upgrades to help tighten the screws on the deadbolts protecting our applicants’ personal information.
Along with existing password-controlled access for all users and optional IP restrictions, we’ve added an additional user restriction called Multi-Factor Authentication. This restriction is most powerful against those looking to gain access to your information by stealing your password, whether it’s through malware, social engineering, or simply looking around your desk for a Post-It with your password. Multi-Factor Authentication works by requiring you to provide a text message-enabled cell phone number or e-mail address. Then, when you sign into a new computer or a new browser, an authentication code is text-messaged or e-mailed to the account on file. You can have up to five browsers or computers authorized at any one time, but you will be required to re-authorize them again every 30 days. It may seem like a hassle to have to check your phone and type in a weird authentication code every time you want to use a new computer, but this feature is smart security when it comes to protecting your assets. By using MFA, we are requiring you, or anyone pretending to be you, to pass through two separate security gateways, the first being something that you know (your username and password); the second is something you have, which in this case would be your cell phone, or access to your e-mail account. The text message-enabled cell phone is obviously the more secure of the two options, as it is a physical item that can’t be obtained by an Internet thief.
In case you forget your password, we have added the option to reset it by answering two of three security questions that you have selected. When you set your security questions, make sure to choose questions and answers that you can remember, but that truly only you will know. Do your due diligence in keeping your password secure, educating your users on the importance and sensitivity of the information we are guarding on your behalf, and protecting your login session. We do the very best that we can to protect you and your applicants, but as a vigilant user, you must be the final safeguard.
Complying with Fair Housing Laws
Sure, rental properties can be great sources of income, but they can also be sources of never-ending legal drama. One way you can avoid a healthy dose of this drama is by being aware of the Fair Housing Act, which was adopted in 1968 and amended in 1988. This act prevents landlords from discriminating against renters based on the following criteria:
- Familial Status
- National Origin
Unfortunately, it is a normal failing of the human race that we can’t help but form opinions of others based on our own, personal biases. You can circumnavigate this pitfall by using a background service to give you all the important information about your potential renter. A thorough tenant screening includes:
- A Credit Report – lists all credit activity and verifies the person’s identity
- A Criminal Search – a search of multiple databases to ascertain the person’s criminal record
- An Eviction Search – a search of state records to see whether the person has ever been or is in the process of being evicted (not all counties or states provide this)
- Landlord References – involves seeking out and speaking with prior landlords to verify that the person has been a responsible renter in the past (i.e., kept up with rent payments, fulfilled rental agreements, etc.)
- Tenant Score Card – a simple, powerful recommendation tool for property managers and landlords. It provides an automated means to quickly and efficiently analyze the credit, criminal, and eviction history of applicants and then generate a “pass”, “fail”, or “conditional” recommendation based on criteria customized by you. Our scorecard can help improve decision turnaround time, reduce delinquency rates, and increase bottom line profits.
With this information, you can avoid long, drawn out legal battles over whether you turned potential renters away for the right reasons. Thorough tenant screenings make sure your final decision is based on cold, hard facts, and not on personal bias or discrimination.
The Facts About Adverse Action Documents
When using a third-party vendor to do a background check on prospective employees, you should be aware of the federal regulations regarding “pre-adverse” and “adverse action” documents. “Adverse action” is defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as an action which includes, “all business, credit, and employment actions affecting consumers that can be considered to have a negative impact as defined by Section 603(k) of the FCRA–such as denying or canceling credit or insurance, or denying employment or promotion.”
On occasion, you may receive information in a consumer report that will cause you to not want to hire a particular applicant. When this happens, you must adhere to the following procedure as outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act:
- Notify the applicant that you are considering denying their job application based on information you received in their credit report. This is the “pre-adverse action letter.”
- By law, you are required to allow the applicant 60 days to investigate and correct any erroneous information.
- If they choose to contest the information provided in the credit report, you (the employer) and the background check company have 30 days to look into the disputed information.
- If the applicant chooses not to contest the information provided in the credit report or further investigation proves the information in the report to be true, a notice of adverse action must be furnished to the applicant. This is the notification that you have decided not to hire the applicant for reasons pertaining to their credit report.
This process may seem cumbersome, but it is necessary to be sure that no adverse action can be taken against applicants without their knowledge. It’s important to be sure the company you choose to do your background checks is well-versed in all the pertinent legal processes.