Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

Background Searches

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 by Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE

As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for building your company’s corporate culture. You want to hire individuals that embody this culture, and you want these employees to represent you and your company in the best way possible. Once you have hired these individuals, it is ultimately up to the employees to be the face, body, and character of your company. Over the last few years, we have seen many prestigious companies fail and fall because of egregious acts committed by trusted employees. How do you protect your good name, your band name, and your reputation? How can you get an accurate picture of their life outside of the interview?

Well, there are a few options available to help you. Most are public social networks like Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter where you can view friends, daily life updates, and pictures. These social websites are a new tool in the corporate HR department toolbox according to many HR industry experts. I was at an entrepreneurial workshop recently where a headhunter claimed that whether or not a potential employee has added you as a friend or not they are able to see personal information on these sites. According to a recent ABC News report, Forty-five percent of businesses are using information from these social networking websites as a tool to help make hiring decisions. Furthermore, thirty-five percent of them have turned down a candidate for a job because material they found on their page. Others, such as: ZabaSearch and Google Search, can give you free public information about a person’s previous addresses and known aliases. Usually, any site that does not charge a fee for a background check will only give you surface information on the individual. A more complete background check can include a criminal activities check, sex offender check, bankruptcies & liens, small claims & judgments, current & previous addresses, relatives & associates, contact info, home & value details, neighbors, and more. Any site that will provide this amount of information will usually charge a fee by search or on a monthly basis. But, there is a site that will provide information about criminal activity for free: You can get information about minor and criminal violations on babysitters, acquaintances, or anyone else working for you. There is also a program for employers run by Homeland Security called E-Verify that provides information about employees and contractors. Enrollment in this program is voluntary for employers and can let you know whether or not an employee/contractor is eligible to work in the United States or if they have a criminal history. But, beginning September 8, 2009, Executive Order 12989 will mandate the verification of all employees working on any federal contract, and federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to use E-Verify.

Running a background check on your potential employees through these sites will not guarantee that you will hire a winner every time, but it will definitely help to weed out any individuals with characters that could potentially be detrimental to the image of your company.

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