Thanks to the gig economy as well as Millennials and Gen Z workers who don't stay at jobs for longer than a handful of years, it might be easy to wonder why you should bother using employment reference check services in the first place.
Aren't they just a waste of time and money? Can't you learn what you need to from the application, interviews, and other background checks, like criminal history?
It's time to challenge these objections once and for all.
Here's why employment and education verifications still matter, and perhaps even more so in 2020 and beyond.
1. Some people do lie on their resumes.
Sadly, this isn't a new trend. And yes, we understand that some resume items are open to interpretation. For example, a person might list experience with Photoshop, even though they just started using it last month, so it might not fit precisely with your request for "skilled in Photoshop."
But someone who lists a nursing license should have an actual license. Should a healthcare organization take that person at their word and hire them without verifying? NO. Think of the fallout that would occur if you discover—too late—that the person lied about their licensure. From risks to patients to pricey lawsuits to brand damage, the list is almost endless.
And if you think that someone lying about something so critical like a medical license doesn't happen, think again. Earlier this year, Walgreens was fined a hefty sum for employing and promoting an unlicensed pharmacist.
2. The pandemic has resulted in desperate measures.
A year ago, no one could have predicted that the world would be experiencing a pandemic or that the U.S. would be facing record unemployment that rivals The Great Depression. Yet, here we are.
High unemployment means more people competing for the same positions. Unfortunately, we wouldn't be surprised if the increased competition in the job market will result in even more applicants (including people who wouldn't normally do so) fudging the facts simply to give themselves a hiring edge during these tough times. (Anecdotally, anyway, our suspicions are proving true.)
Again, there's a big difference between claiming you have mid-level expertise in software like Photoshop or WordPress (when in reality, you're still somewhat new) and claiming you have an official license or certification in a critical field like healthcare or construction, or 15 years of experience as an IT professional at a fin-tech company. You’d be surprised how frequently job roles on resumes such as “Director of IT” get verified as discrepant by the previous employer, who had actually employed the individual as “IT Support Specialist II.”
Still, though: lying is lying. If someone is willing to lie about meeting education and experience requirements during challenging personal times, how will they act if they face a challenging situation while employed by your company? And how much money will be wasted recruiting, on-boarding, and training individuals who aren’t actually qualified to do the job?
Hiring quality people involves making judgment calls all the time. But you should only make those calls once you have all the verified facts, including education, licenses/certification, and employment.
3. Not everyone who loses a job in 2020 will be able to blame it on the pandemic.
Here's the thing: It will be easy for hiring managers to assume any gap in employment that begins in the spring of 2020 is due to the pandemic. But you know what they say about assumptions, right? Verifying employment dates will ensure you're hiring someone who is telling the truth rather than someone who is taking advantage of a bad situation.
For example, if someone lists on their resume that they stopped working at their most recent position in April, but the reality is they were let go in early January 2020, well—that raises questions. And, yes, there might be a perfectly legitimate explanation as to why the dates are "off" on the resume, but that's something you can discuss with the applicant during the interview.
Even worse, the pandemic makes it all too easy for candidates to claim they were let go in 2020 due to COVID-related layoffs, when some were in fact terminated with cause, for stealing from their employer or exhibiting violent or harassing behavior at work. This is why professional references are still just as important as verifying employment. If not one person who worked with the candidate at their employer of the last 5 years can say something positive about them, you know you’ve got to rethink that hire.
4. At the end of the day, you and your organization are ultimately responsible for who you hire.
Don't cut corners right now due to the chaos going on in the world or to save a few bucks. Doing so could cost you big dollars down the road in the form of negligent hiring lawsuits, brand damage, and poor workplace morale.
It's not worth it. Verification screenings are important elements in a solid background check and an economical way to make sure you're hiring good eggs.
Speaking of good eggs...
At Good Egg, we make verifications and reference checks super easy for candidates and their former employers/references, thanks to our candidate text messaging feature.