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Study reveals shortcomings in background check due diligence

posted Jun 6, 2017, 8:45 AM by Resty Manapat

Conducting background checks on job candidates prior to their employment is a standard operating procedure for most organizations today. After all, not only do employers want to ensure they’re making a quality hire but they need to shield themselves against any liability they could incur by bringing on someone who poses a known risk to their current workforce or customer base. But while there are numerous resources available to companies to help them weed out potentially problematic workers, many still have significant gaps in their background screening programs.  

Last month, background screening services provider HireRight released its 10th annual “Employment Screening Benchmark Report,” which highlighted several areas where employers are still falling short. One of the most noteworthy findings of the report, which included responses from nearly 4,000 human resource professionals at organizations of all sizes worldwide, was an alarming lack of organizations that rescreen employees post-hire.  

Despite the risk of insider threats and the ability of rogue workers to walk out of the door with a treasure trove of proprietary data, the study found that only about half of employers today (48 percent) are actually doing this, a mere five percent improvement from just five years ago. Only 10 percent of respondents said they rescreen contingent and/or contract workers, which was down from 31 percent in 2013. Of those organizations that did rescreen workers, they majority only did so when employees were promoted or changed roles.  

According to Mary O’Loughlin, vice president of global customer experience at HireRight, failing to rescreen employees, especially those who have access to sensitive information, introduces an “enormous amount” of risk into a company.  

“Many things could have changed since that time of hire: professional license status, different criminal misconduct may have taken place and there are all sorts of things that could have changed in that person’s status,” O’Loughlin explains. “If you’re not rescreening that employee to find out what may have changed… you’re really putting your company at risk for potential legal and brand exposure.”  

Resume Fabrications  

Although people embellishing their resumes is nothing new, 85 percent of respondents to this year’s benchmark report said they had uncovered a lie or misrepresentation on a resume or job application, which is up from 66 percent five years ago. O’Loughlin says the spike could be attributed to the fact that baby boomers, who generally possess greater skills and experience than the rest of the labor force, are retiring in greater numbers and people are trying to puff up their credentials in order to land those jobs. Additionally, there are those folks who may have been out of work for an extended period of time during the Great Recession and don’t want those years missing on their resume.  

“In reality, most employers are going to be more upset about the lying than someone not having a job for a period of time. Employers understand that there were a number of people who were unemployed during that period or at some point during their career and most won’t hold it against you,” she says.  

Drug Screening Policies Fail to Evolve  

Despite the fact that 28 states and the District of Columbia now allow for the use of medical marijuana and that seven states and D.C. have even legalized its recreational use, the overwhelming majority of employers have not changed their drug screening policies in response. Five years ago, the study found that 79 percent of respondents did not have a policy or plans to create one recognizing medical use of marijuana. That number has not changed that much over the course of time as 78 percent of organizations responded similarly in this year’s survey.  

O’Loughlin says they were a bit surprised by this given everything that continues to change on the legal front with the drug. However, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, many employers are still required to prohibit its use among their employees.  

“We highly recommend that employers should be taking note and working with their legal team on their drug policy and just making sure it’s in line with what their company’s risk goals are and the state and federal regulations they have to abide by as well,” she says.  

Screening of Contingent Labor  

On a positive note, O’Loughlin says that a majority of organizations now understand the importance of screening their contingent workforce. Whereas just five years ago only 41 percent of respondents were screening these workers, this year’s study found that 86 percent of companies are now screening their contingent and/or temporary employees.  

“There’s been this growing understanding of the risks associated with a contingent labor force. These are people that often have the same access to your customers, facilities and intellectual property and I think companies have become much more mature in their programs and understanding the risks associated with contingent workers,” O’Loughlin adds. “We’ve heard stories over the years of people who were perhaps not screening their contingent labor with the same diligence as their employees and when they would have someone go from contingent labor to full-time employee, they would screen them with their normal process and you would have things pop-up that showed that person shouldn’t have been hired or had the level of responsibility that they did previously.”

 

Source: Security InfoWatch 

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