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Applicant Screening...

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  • Mr. Security
    2 DUI's

    Seems a bit liberal to me, especially since a second DUI in CT (other states too) involves mandatory jail time.

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  • Rooney
    SecTrainer and security consultant pretty much summed up the processes we go through when evaluating a perspective employee. We also have however security clearance requirements for some postitions. The checks on clearances can be somewhat of a pain in the keester (haven't thought of that word in years).
    We also sometimes are required to go to the border or overseas for maintenance and training. We like our personnel that go to these areas qualified for small arms and first aid. If they are not currently qualified but will make a good fit in our organisation we will send them to training.

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  • Curtis Baillie
    Background Checks

    Here's my receipe for background checks:

    DMV Criteria

    Any of the following will be considered cause for disqualifying an applicant:

    • Four (4) speeding tickets received within the previous 36 months with two (2) being received in the previous 12 months.

    • Two (2) DUI’s and/or DWI’s received within the previous 24 months.

    • Currently suspended, revoked or expired driver’s license.

    • Reckless driving received within the previous 24 months. This would include motor vehicle accidents caused by the employee.

    • Four (4) moving violations received within the previous 36 months, with two (2) being received within the previous 24 months.

    Criminal Record

    • Criminal (Felony) – A criminal (Felony) convictions

    • Criminal (Misdemeanor) – A criminal (misdemeanor) conviction (Minor violations such as public intoxication, possession of al illegal drug, disturbing the peace, etc. may not result in an “unsatisfactory rating” depending on the number, date and seriousness of the occurrence).

    • A felony offense that was reduced to a misdemeanor

    • Any conviction involving assault or other acts of violence, including sex crimes and hate crimes.

    Prior Employment Record

    • Significant differences from what is stated on the Employment Application regarding job title, wages and employment dates.

    • Reason for leaving the employ of a company differs from the reason listed on the Employment Application.

    • Degree listed by candidate on the Employment Application cannot be confirmed.

    Criminal Background Checks are in effect for One (1) year; however, a new MVR will be requested for anyone being considered for a new position in which driving is required and whose most current background check is a least 6 months old.

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  • SecTrainer
    The depth of the background investigation and the scope (which are two different things) will vary depending on the position. How far you go down this list will depend on the trust level of the position:

    First, you pre-screen all applications and eliminate any that do not meet the minimum formal job qualifications SET FORTH IN A WRITTEN JOB DESCRIPTION.

    Of the remaining possibilities:

    1. Verify the applicant's identity. Be alert to fake ID, etc. Obtain fingerprints.

    2. Verify the applicant's right to work, PHOTOGRAPH THE CANDIDATE (you will use this in your background checking), and do drug testing right now. Drug testing is not considered a "medical exam" and can be done very early in the process. The cost of such a test is quite negligible when it comes back positive and eliminates the candidate from the expense of all of the rest of the background check.

    #1 and #2 are done at the first screening interview, during which ID is photocopied, drug sample and photo obtained, the applicant is introduced to the company's mission, the job requirements and the hiring procedure. Also, during this interview, the applicant is asked to explain any discrepancies, time gaps, etc. in the application, which you have pre-screened for such.

    Some more will be eliminated at this point, either due to the drug test results, questionable ID, inability to explain discrepancies, etc. in their applications. Some will be self-eliminated merely by the surprising realization that you really are serious about doing the background investigation, which they know they will fail.

    NOTE: This is the applicant's first experience with your company and his impressions will be very powerful. Establish right from the "git" that you are serious about your standards and about adhering to established procedures. If your company is seen as "just joking" or "wobbly" about any of this during the hiring procedure, why should a candidate think anything else about your policies and procedures once he is hired?

    Of those applicants remaining, steps 3 through 6 are absolute minimums (and can be done simultaneously). Haste in hiring that eliminates these steps will, I guarantee, cost you money in the long run due to turnover, having to fire people, etc. To "save money" or "save time" by failing to do these steps is a false economy and the mark of extremely poor HR practice.

    3. Verify the applicant's criminal record. This should be done in every location where he has lived for at least the past 7 years. It is also advisable to check for records in neighboring jurisdictions and anywhere that the applicant spends significant amounts of recreational or other time. To be absolutely certain, you cannot rely on any of the so-called "national" record services, which are as full of holes as Swiss cheese.

    4. Verify the applicant's employment history - and not just dates, position and salary. It is not true, as so many lazy HR managers whine, that you cannot learn more than this. Most states have now passed "immunity from lawsuit" laws that protect employers who provide truthful information about former employees, and the techniques for extracting this from former employers are well known.

    In most instances, I have found this to be effective: "Mr. Smith, I'm sure you know that your company by law is immune from any lawsuits by this applicant for giving me truthful information about him and I have provided you with a copy of his signed permission to speak to me. What you should know is that the applicant is applying for a position of high trust and as such your company will be liable to us for failure to disclose anything you know about him that would disqualify him for such a position such as dishonesty, violence in the workplace, malfeasance, etc. So, sir, I must ask you directly: Are there any facts in your possession that I should know about this candidate along those lines? (Whatever answer....) Fine. I will record you as having answered in the negative (or whatever). I will also need your official position with the company." In over 1000 interviews, I've seen this to fail only a handful of times, and in such case I follow with: "I regret that you can't see your way to cooperate, Mr. Smith. I'm sure that you understand that we will not be able to consider this candidate further if we cannot satisfy ourselves as to his character." This shook loose some of the holdouts, who did not wish to be put in a position of having harmed the candidate - a liability for which they are NOT immune, especially when the law provides immunity to them for truthful disclosure.

    There are other methods, well documented in a number of print materials, for developing the employment record. In some cases, I have made the candidate himself responsible for getting the employer to "open up".

    5. Verify the applicant's educational history. Dates here are tricky if they can be construed as tending to show age discrimination.

    6. Speak with personal references. This is not, as some believe, a worthless exercise "because he'll only provide people he knows will vouch for him". First, you're going to be more clever than to call up and ask "Mrs. Johnson, do you know Roy Smithers? Do you like him? Is he a nice fellow? Oh, thank you Mrs. Johnson - goodbye!" Learn how to develop information from personal references, among which the most important are secondary references. If Mrs. Johnson doesn't know someone else who also knows Roy Smithers, how well does she know him in the first place? These secondary references can be very interesting sources.

    By now, more have been eliminated. You can stop here and hold second interviews if need be, to probe the individual's interest and capabilities for the job. Rank them, and for the top tier you will probably want to consider some or all of the following:

    7. Verify the applicant's driving history if there is even the slightest chance he might drive a company vehicle (and there always is, eh? nudge-nudge). In some states it will be necessary to have the candidate provide his driving record himself - less than desirable, but that's how it goes. The driving record tells you a lot, of course, about what the candidate thinks about the obeying the law, as well as his degree of responsibility for the safety of others.

    8. Conduct a credit check. Lots of info here and you should probably always at least run the header. Aside from "unforeseen circumstances", a man's credit performance does tell you a lot about his character.

    9. Interview neighbors.

    10. Interview ex-spouses.'s a little trick that's worth using. Everyone is hired, of course, "conditionally" on a medical exam being passed. Everyone might potentially need to be bonded - often a good idea! They can be hired conditional on "ability to be bonded". So, about a week after being hired, have the new employee sit down and complete the bond application without reference to his other application, etc., in your presence or under supervision. It can be very interesting to compare the two applications and see whether they differ in any material way.

    This is the scope of a reasonably decent background exam, although it lacks certain features. Depth is another matter. Depth is related to time span covered (5 years, 7 years, etc.) and the number of secondary sources developed. These can include former supervisors, former teachers, former classmates, former neighbors, Moose Lodge associates, etc. - and the other names that THOSE people give you, etc...on into infinity. For any position of responsibility, I am not comfortable if I have not spoken to at least a couple of second-level sources (and our consent form covers this: "...and any other persons who may have knowledge of me".) Throughout this process, I'm always asking every source for a factual "hook" - particularly dates and locations - that all should hang together.

    Your life history is a fabric that has no holes in it - it's all one linear march of time that has to "make sense". Any holes or rips that APPEAR to exist in this fabric will usually represent information that you're missing or deception by the candidate, and you need to know which.

    In all of the foregoing, you must avoid certain issues. The "deadly dozen", or whatever they're called in various articles, are well known, but check with your company counsel for specifics.

    Now note this: All of the foregoing has ONLY to do with information-gathering. It is a different matter entirely as to whether the information developed will disqualify a candidate or not, aside from obvious criminal matters. Will a reckless driving conviction eliminate the candidate? How about a bad credit rating? What IS a "bad" credit rating, exactly? What if you learn that he did steal $100 from an employer 5 years ago, but owned up to it voluntarily and made restitution? This is "ajudicating" the information, or deciding what weight it should have, and should also be subject to certain policies. For instance, we will not hire anyone who has a certain threshold of dishonored debt.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 01-31-2007, 09:06 AM.

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  • ValleyOne
    started a topic Applicant Screening...

    Applicant Screening...

    What, aside from state criminal disqualifiers, do you employ to screen applicants?