Blog

Background Checks

BE CAREFUL WHOM YOU HIRE TO DO BACKGROUND CHECKS

 While this piece may sound a little self-serving, it’s important to know something about the reputation of the provider you choose to do background checks for your company.  A recent Bloomberg article that appeared on-line back on July 8th (2013 Bloomberg News) illustrates what can happen when little or no care is used.  A few excerpts from the article follow.
 
 “…A former contractor hired to check the backgrounds of U.S. government workers filed a 2006 report with the results of an investigation.  There was just one snag: A person he claimed to have interviewed had been dead for more than a decade….”
 
 The article continued:
 
 “[The contractor] is among 20 investigators who have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying such reports since 2006. Half of them worked for [the same company], which performed a background check on National Security contractor Edward Snowden. The cases may represent a fraction of the fabrications in a government vetting process with little oversight, according to lawmakers and U.S. watchdog officials….”
 
 The article went on to point out:

 “Passing a government background check is a requirement before an employee or contractor can be granted a security clearance to access classified information. The process has been under increasing scrutiny since Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who had worked for [a] McLean, Virginia-based [company], leaked secret documents on U.S. surveillance programs….”

 “In one case…a former investigative specialist for [another background checking company], submitted some 1,600 falsified credit reports, according to the Inspector General’s office.  [The former investigator] pleaded guilty in August 2009 to falsifying one out of three credit checks performed during an 18-month period, according to a Justice Department statement.  [The investigator], then 25, received three years of probation… [and] also was ordered to pay about $95,300 in restitution to USIS and an estimated $4,300 to the personnel office.”

 If these stories about sloppy or fabricated background checks wouldn’t curl an employer’s hair, it’s difficult to imagine what would.  The obvious point is to check the reputation of the firm you select to do your pre-employment screening before hiring them.  The results, as the federal government has discovered, can be disastrous to an employer.  Obviously, there are reputable pre-employment firms out there.  Just be sure you pick one with a solid reputation for honesty before hiring one to do your pre-employment screening!