For Workers with a Conviction, Employment Can Be Hard to Find

While unemployment may currently be at an all-time low in the United States, there is one group of people who continually finds it difficult to gain employment: people with criminal records.

A team of researchers from Arizona State University conducted a three-year study on the impact of having a criminal record on employment-related outcomes, varying by race and gender. In the study, researchers paired candidates according to their demographics (white men, African American women, etc.). Each pair included one person with a criminal record and one without. The pairs sent applications for the same jobs, and all skills and qualifications on résumés were matched.

Researchers found that results were heavily skewed by race. Both black and Hispanic men were less likely to receive a positive response from employers—including a callback or email for an interview or a job offer—compared with white men. In fact, white men with a criminal record had more positive responses than black men with no criminal record. When the results were examined by gender, it was found that men with criminal records were more likely than women with criminal records to receive a negative response from employers.

Among the most stigmatized job applicants—including welfare recipients, the short-term unemployed, individuals with only short-term and part-time work histories—applicants with criminal histories were the least likely to be hired. As approximately 30 percent of American adults have some type of criminal conviction, it’s a troubling problem.

“Ban the Box” Legislation

Statistics like these have led many states and municipalities to implement so-called “ban the box” legislation, which requires employers to consider individuals’ applications before they check criminal records in an attempt to give candidates with criminal records a fairer shot at employment.

Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from asking applicants about criminal history on an initial job application. However, some go further, requiring employers to wait until after they have conducted an interview or made a conditional offer of employment before asking about criminal history.

Many companies check candidates’ criminal records before they consider a hire. But since 13 states and many municipalities now have rules in place that prevents a criminal background check too early, it’s important that employers stay abreast of the rules.

Ensure You’re Doing Background Checks Properly

Criminal history background checks are an integral part of the hiring process and help protect companies and their employees. It’s essential, however, that employers ensure they’re following all the rules, including fair employment mandates.

With the services of a professional pre-employment background screening company like DataCheck, you can protect your workers and your business and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits while still complying with “ban the box” laws. 

As Face-to-Face Interviews Decline, Pre-Employment Screening is Critical

Let’s face it: nobody likes job interviews. The old hiring standard of bringing a group of people in and asking them a series of sometimes-absurd and irrelevant questions has been under fire recently. Does the job interview really communicate a candidates’ qualifications? Does it serve any purpose except wasting everybody’s time? Are face-to-face job interviews going the way of the dodo?

Possibly, if you believe industry trends. The Wall Street Journal has reported that some employers trying to recruit in the tightest job market in decades are hiring some candidates sight unseen—after just one phone interview. This isn’t generally for high-powered jobs. But the trend could spread from retail and low-level office work into more professions. The reason, according to Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed by the WSJ, is that most companies are “so bad at interviewing, and the interviews are so full of bias, that it’s not crazy to just ignore them altogether.”

What’s Wrong with Interviews?

Interviewing, it’s felt, only represents a person’s interviewing skills, and few people conduct interviews for their jobs, noted Suzanne Lucas writing for Inc. magazine.

“This job requires that I sit at a computer, analyze information, and write about it in a coherent and entertaining fashion (hopefully with the least typos possible),” wrote Lucas. “An accountant’s job is to make sure that all laws are followed and all numbers balance out. A computer coder’s job is to write clear, clean code. None of these jobs require great interview skills on a daily basis. Someone who is great at interviewing may not be all that great at doing the actual job, and vice versa.”

Interviewing candidates face-to-face is also expensive and time-consuming. Companies are instead relying on applications, resumes, recommendations, and telephone interviews. In some cases, they’re engaging would-be employees in short temporary assignments to test their work capability. They’re also putting research procedures in place to check out potential employees.

Should You Stop Interviewing?

Experts say that while eliminating interviewing altogether may not be in your company’s best interests, they do recommend shortening the process. What they don’t recommend, however, is foregoing the kind of pre-employment checks that can protect your business.

Why Are Pre-Employment Checks Important?

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you screen your potential employees for the information you need to know before you hire. DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today. 

Don’t Lie About Having a Degree (Do This Instead)

More employers are requiring candidates to possess college degrees than ever before. If you don’t have a degree, it can be tempting to say that you do; at least then, you might be considered for an interview, right?

Wrong. Sure, you may receive an interview, and you may even get away with the lie for a little while; that is until this would-be employer runs a background check on you. What happens then? In short, you won’t get the job. In fact, a recent survey proves that of all resume lies, hiring managers detest ones about academic credentials and degrees the most.

How You Can Compete Without a College Degree

While having a college degree may help you get an interview, it’s not the end-all-be-all. Moreover, having nothing but a college degree on your resume will not make you a promising candidate either. So what’s more valuable than a college degree? Work experience. Of course, when people are presented with this solution, they often wonder: “How can I get work experience if I can’t even get an interview?” By completing projects.

Gain An Edge By Completing Projects

Showing someone that you can actually do something is often far more valuable than completing classes that teach you the theory of doing something. If you need to learn the theory of something, then learn it online for free. Remember: YouTube is more than just a hub for viral videos; it’s also a great resource for free classes and information. Don’t know how to actually balance a checkbook? YouTube it. Don’t know how to create a powerpoint presentation? YouTube it.

Look For Freelance Work

Once you’ve learned some theory, and have practiced your dream craft, then it’s time to get involved in some projects. The best way to build a portfolio is to freelance. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer offer a robust selection of projects that you can apply for and complete from the comfort of your own home. Most of these projects do not require a degree either. They only require that you can actually do what you say you can do. Again: If you don’t know how to do something, turn to Google and YouTube.

Self-Improvement Is The Key To Success

College degree or not, hiring managers consistently favor self-starters. If you can present a relevant portfolio of work to prospective employers, you’re more likely to be hired based on “relevant work experience.” When applying to your ideal jobs, remember to scan postings for that line. Many people with nothing but a college degree on their resumes fail to get interviews too. If you’ve completed a few projects, then leverage that experience in your cover letters and follow-up emails. Happy job hunting!   

If you’re a hiring manager looking for help with quality background checks, get in touch today! We give you the facts needed to make a sound hiring decision.

 

Poor Hiring Decisions Lead to Managers Wasting 10 Hours a Week Coaching Underperformers

“Measure twice, cut once” goes the old proverb. What it means – and there are many other proverbs with similar meanings – is that if you do your work carefully the first time, you won’t need to repeat it. Hiring, always a troublesome, time-consuming task, can certainly benefit from this wisdom. Poor employees take up an organization’s time, money and patience, and they’re more common than we might think.

Research conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half found that managers spend more than 10 hours “coaching underperforming employees” during the average work week. This translates to an average of 26 business hours a week coping with employees who don’t know how to do their jobs effectively. Bad hiring decisions can also affect the overall team morale at a company.

“A bad hire is tremendously expensive for a company,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “The time and money managers spend on recruitment and training is lost, and they also have to fix underperformers’ mistakes and deal with their effects on staff morale and productivity. A bad hire signals that your hiring process may be flawed. It could be that you are not putting sufficient weight on soft skills or are overemphasizing qualities that aren’t crucial to the role.”

Fixing the Problem

From this, it seems clear that improving the recruiting and hiring process can greatly benefit most companies. This may mean bringing more people into the HR process, or adding steps for evaluating applications and resumes. It might mean more face-to-face interviews, or peer interviews in which the candidates potential coworkers meet with him or her. It might also mean more background checking of candidates, as “resume fudging” is a common practice today. While some candidates can “wow” in interviews, their education and experience may not be what they claim.

“Don’t skip the reference check,” Robert Half analysts advise. “Nobody loves calling strangers to get information, but the reference check is still one of the best ways to ensure potential employees are who they say they are, especially since resume lies are on the rise.”

Engage Professionals

If you don’t have time to vet every candidate (and who does?) it’s recommended that you engage the services of a professional background check organization.

DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining relevant information about candidates through criminal background checks on a statewide and national level, past employment and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other aspects on individuals for employers nationwide.

Background checks and pre-employment screening are so important. There is a real threat employers are facing today under the legal doctrine “negligent hiring.” Screening your potential employee through a thorough background check allows your human resources department to make the right decisions to avoid lawsuits and other pitfalls.

For more information about DataCheck, visit www.datacheckinc.com or call 949-339-3205.

How HR Departments Could Use Blockchain Technology for Background Checks

Blockchain, a technology involving “chains” of unalterable ledgers, was invented in 2008 for use in managing the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Essentially, blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. It’s managed by a peer-to-peer network that adheres to protocols for communication and validation of new blocks. It’s compelling, because it’s so unchangeable: blocks can’t be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.

Increasingly, however, blockchain is for more than Bitcoin.

It’s even showing up in human resources (HR) departments. HR personnel looking to save time combing through resumes and dodge “embellished” claims are using blockchain to verify educational and experience claims on applications directly, according to HR Dive’s Riia O’Donnell.

“When it comes to resumes, blockchain technology has the potential to largely eliminate exaggeration,” wrote O’Donnell. “Schools can post degrees and educational details, employers can share dates and titles, and credentialing entities can make information available. Candidates could then authorize employers to access their records directly.”

Third Party Verification

Lying on resumes is nothing new. A survey conducted last year found that 85 percent of HR professionals found lies or exaggerations on resumes. Faked educational credentials are a common problem. With this in mind, HR professionals are increasingly wary of resume claims, but often lack the time and resources to check the truth of educational and experience claims.

Blockchain for Education Verification

Blockchain can help employers go directly to educational sources for verification of applicants’ claims. Last year, MIT became one of the first universities to debut a blockchain tool for human resources professionals to verify degree information directly.

Employers or third-party verification companies may soon be able to use blockchain technology to perform background checks. Going forward, human resources departments could be able to use the technology to seek out ideal candidates who may not even be applying for open jobs.

Today, third-party verification from companies like DataCheck remain the gold standard of employment verification for information such as the accuracy of a candidate’s experience, employment, education and criminal history.

Contact us today to discuss all your pre-employment screening needs.