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Background Investigations - Perception vs. Factuality

There are many factors that go into a background investigation, which leads to numerous misconceptions on what goes into conducting one. Here are five important misconceptions that should be addressed with applicants to put both the employer and the prospective employee at ease.

1. HAVING A CRIMINAL RECORD = NO JOB

This is a fallacy. The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) states that to deny an applicant a job due to criminal history, said criminal history must be related to the job at hand. If Due applies for a truck-driver position, it’s important to know if his license has been suspended or revoked as a result of a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) convictions. If Due applies for a job as a Nurse, his DWI record does not directly pertain to his position, unless he operates a vehicle as part of his duties. A criminal record does not immediately disqualify a person from consideration of employment.

2. ALL BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE THE SAME

False. Many companies processing background investigations only dip their metaphorical toes into the verification aspect of the industry. Most focus instead on the criminal aspect, employment verifications, and credit checks. CI’s clientele keep us busy with a variety of requests. In addition to full time investigators on staff, who comb through data multiple times to verify information through a primary source (school, employer, etc.), the thoroughness of the reference checks we conduct set us apart from our competition. A thorough multi-level investigation conducted by CI is proven to save employers time and energy, in addition to expensive litigation costs.

3. LYING ON A RÉSUMÉ WILL NOT BE DISCOVERED

False. When someone has lied on their résumé, I guiltily admit that I get some satisfaction checking that little “Adverse” button! We’re not talking about people who forget their dates of employment, or embellish a position title to “Shipment Processor” while the employer calls it “Laborer.” Rather, it is when people flat out lie about a position calling themselves a Manager, when in reality they were a Sales Associate. As they say, “The truth will reveal itself.” That is, of course, as long as you hire a background investigation company that does their Due Diligence (and we do)!

4. SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES ARE OFF LIMITS

This is only half true. CI offers a service called “Cyber Investigations.” In this thorough search, we scrutinize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and all other profiles online to gain a more comprehensive look at a subject. The information found on these sites can reveal reasons to further investigate a candidate, which may lead to further investigation that could end in the loss of a potential position.

5. ALL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ONLINE

No! While many companies use third party sites that assist in verifications, not all educational history, employment history or even criminal history can be found online, e.g. the New York State Sex Offender Registry only shows Level Two and Three offenders in their onlinedatabase. We research to learn if a candidate is a Level One offender. Less reputable companies may get a name match, but don’t verify what are often false records. We conduct primary source verification.

Sherry Kocienski