Identification of Your Applicants – Let’s Get Back to Basics

Do you love getting back accurate information on your applicants? To quote Waylon and Willie, then maybe it’s time we got “back to the basics of love” (Don’t get the reference? Here’s a link to the song).

We’re not sure why, but in the past few years, there have been more instances in our industry in which employers have submitted inaccurate identifying information on the applicant and missed relevant information that would have disqualified the applicant.

One instance resulted in a lawsuit. An employer ordered a criminal record on an applicant and the record came back clear. The applicant was hired and later assaulted a person whom the employer served and got sued. In reviewing the case the employer discovered that the applicant had misspelled his name on the application. It was close, but a letter off. At the court, they did not have record of this “alias” and the names were not “linked.” The employer had photocopied the applicant’s drivers license and checked his Social Security Card, but not compared those accurate spellings with the application and submitted misidentifying information.

It is extremely important to verify the spelling of the name and accuracy of date of birth that you submit when ordering reports. Check the identifying information that you receive to ensure that it matches the identifying documents you were presented. “Ericson” and “Erikson,” “Gonsalves” and “Gonzales” are close, but may not result in an accurate search if the wrong spelling is used.

VICTIG uses methods that can sometimes catch name and date of birth discrepancies, but these methods primarily work when an individual has a history of using different names or dates of birth. The best method to ensure accurate data is to ensure accurate identifying information is submitted to VICTIG. The identifying information you submit is the hinge around which your entire background check revolves.

VICTIG Compliance Tips – Are You One in a Million?

Even if you think you are “one in a million”, there’s about 340 of you in the United States. Of course you are unique, but we’re referring to your full name and date of birth as identifying information.

Verifying the name and date of birth that you submit to us for background checks is important. Beyond that, VICTIG takes additional steps to ensure the accuracy of information we report.

As you know, when ordering criminal records, VICTIG goes to the appropriate source(s)/court(s) to obtain the information and a unique identifier to ensure that we have the correct information. Records are accessed by the available information which is typically full name and Social Security Number. Full name and date of birth is not unique. In fact, even if you have an uncommon name and that name and your date of birth are one in one million, there are hundreds of people in the United States with that same name and date of birth. For common names, a search in one county can return multiple “matches.”

VICTIG goes to great (and uncommon) lengths to ensure we provide you with accurate information. Prior to reporting any criminal offense, we run the name through an algorithm called IdentityScore™ that evaluates the frequency of use of that name by year (First name commonality and even last name commonality evolve over time). When a name is “common”, VICTIG researches further in the files to look for additional verification. The alternative would be to report multiple “matches” and tell you to figure it out (which we don’t do of course) or, if we received multiple “matches” guess which (if any) were a true match. The other alternative would be to determine that since we couldn’t guess, we would just report nothing.

The course we take is to spend some additional time and money to determine the commonality of a name and perform additional research prior to reporting any matching information to you. On December 10, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held a workshop in Washington DC. VICTIG was the only employment screening firm to be on the 3rd panel (VICTIG’s President, Matt Visser, represented VICTIG), and this panel addressed “accuracy considerations for background screening”. Name commonality was a topic of discussion.

VICTIG is confident that our procedures to provide you with accurate and complete information are industry leading.