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April 19 2010

Pre-employment screening - background checks are vital

Our CEO Eyal Ben Cohen recently wrote an article on Pre-employment screening.  Of all the pre-employment screening categories, previous employment poses the biggest problem for employers. This is because employment checks need to cover length of service, job title, company details, salary, and reasons for leaving.

Pre-employment screening: 1. 'Stretched' employment dates often hide unemployment

Candidates who seriously mislead prospective employers might, for example, seek to reduce or remove altogether long periods of unemployment or imprisonment by 'stretching' dates of employment on their CV, sometimes by years. As well as raising issues regarding what were they really doing during the period in question, this also casts doubt on the candidate's honesty and integrity.

Other applicants will claim to be working for companies that no longer exist, and will offer a reference from an employer that pre-dates the closed of that business. I have also come across others who create web sites for phoney companies, and who will wait at the end of the line for a verification call.

Pre-employment screening: 2. Reasons for leaving may hide the truth

Another area employers increasingly need to scrutinize is reasons for leaving, mainly because of a rise in redundancy levels. No one is proud of being made redundant, let alone being dismissed, and this is why so many applicants will try to hide the real reasons they left their previous employer. It's one thing not to state on a CV reasons for leaving a post, but quite another to lie about this when asked. Even dismissal in itself is not always necessarily detrimental to a candidate's chances, but when one lies about it, it certainly raises questions about their character.

And when it comes to stating current income, employees are increasingly taking advantage of the fact employers now provide less and less information on standard references. In fact, most will supply only dates of employment and job title. Therefore, employees allow themselves to inflate their salaries, thinking they will be able to get away with such lies.

Pre-employment screening: 3. Job titles can be a tricky area

As for job titles, candidates play faster and looser with these than any other aspect of a CV, But employers need also be aware that this is also a complicated area from a human resources perspective, and one where genuine mistakes are often made. Because of this, HR data systems may occasionally contain incorrect job titles, and such errors can only be discovered with a cross-check.

Plus, remember that in times of recession and unemployment job candidates face greater temptation to bend the truth to create more impressive CVs, and employee screening will safeguard employers against hiring a person who is not what they seem.