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The ways and means of screening.

WOULD YOU INSTALL AN EXPENSIVE security system and then give a thief a key to the front door? Of course not, but that is exactly what employers may be doing when they hire without verifying an applicant's background. Employers who do not verify the applicant's background may be welcoming a thief with open arms.

Fraudulent resumes cause serious problems for businesses. One mistake in the hiring process can cost an employer millions in negligent hiring or retention lawsuits. Employee theft costs the nation's businesses over $40 billion each year, according to the US Commerce Department. The time to prevent these losses is before the individual has access to your company's assets and information.

Too many companies rely on just the interview process to detect fraud. Employers are often fooled by the applicant who is impressive when interviewed since some of the people who make the best impression during the interview process are those who are the most accomplished at lying.

Fortunately, businesses can take the following steps to protect themselves against resume fraud:

* Establish and publish requirements within the company that background investigations must be completed on all new hires. The scope of the investigation may vary depending on the position being filled.

When drafting these standards, be sure to get input from the human resources department. The policy should be administered consistently to avoid any appearance of discrimination.

n Use an employment application that authorizes the company to have references checked. These authorizations will sometimes convince former employers to give important information.

Include in the application a statement noting applicants will not be considered for employment if they falsify information and that employees will be fired if evidence emerges that information has been falsified on the application or resume.

* Verify the application information using internal resources, or verify it through a company that specializes in background investigations. Today, it is both legal and ethical to conduct background checks.

* Carefully document the information obtained. If information is refused by a former employer, document the attempt to obtain this information. This effort could be used as a defense if the company is sued later for negligent hiring. Hiring decisions should be made on job-related information.

* Verify educational background. Testimony to the House Select Committee on Aging in 1985 reported that 60 percent of university and college registrars regularly experience attempts to document false credentials. These are in the form of counterfeit reproduction of diplomas, altered transcripts, impersonation of legitimate degree holders, and claims of degree or credential status without supporting documentation.

n Talk with an applicant's former supervisor and business associates when possible.

n Obtain a credit report. These reports contain important identification information as well as financial background information. Some credit reports contain sophisticated fraud detection searches that can identify social security numbers issued to persons now deceased and other information reported inaccurately on the application or resume.

Send a clear message that your organization will not tolerate resume or credential fraud by putting procedures in place to identify and avoid hiring persons who have falsified their credentials.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Screening for Success supplement; preemployment screening; six-part article on basic methods
Author:Schafer, June P.; Jayne, Brian C.; Harris, William G.; Kuhn, Ryan A.; Rea, Kelley V.; Carroll, Charl
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Previous Article:Getting help from the outside.
Next Article:An inconvenient problem.

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