Flawed Employment Background Checks: The Hidden Pitfalls of Databases

2018-12-16T19:47:43+00:00December 5th, 2018|Background Check, Investigation|
  • Digital Fingerprint

Inaccurate and incomplete information can create more problems than solutions

To paraphrase Alexander Pope, from four centuries ago, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” In no application is that so true as in modern business. Over the past two decades, ironically, the Internet has morphed from instant information into way-too-much misinformation. According to leading journalists, trade organizations and professional HR associations, over 90% of employers conduct preemployment and ongoing background checks with candidates and existing employees. The alternatives are potential financial exposure to employee theft, civil and criminal liability for employers.

As well, statistics show that more than one-half of the information derived is either insufficient or simply wrong. Essentially all individuals share a common name with others. Social Security numbers, I.D.’s and any other personal information is increasingly subject to identity theft. For perfectly legitimate reasons, names can be changed with or without legal formalities. As a result, most databases which rely on public records and algorithms, while failing to assure any degree of accuracy or liability, can be worthless if not dysfunctional. Read their disclaimers.

“The efficiency, economic feasibility and accuracy of this technology exceed anything in my experience. Employers and employees are the beneficiaries.”

John Holliday, President

In an effort to combat these pitfalls, an increasing number of businesses, employers and legitimate background-check services have come to rely on fingerprinting as the only unique screening criterion. Unfortunately, the results are only as relevant as the available information in their data banks. Private businesses, state & local authorities don’t always share information among themselves. Processing can take weeks. On the other hand, the most comprehensive resource is the F.B.I., with over 450 million individual prints on file. Few private investigation agencies have the credentials to invest the time or money to have access to those files.

Recent technology now provides select, private sector, organizations the mobile and digital capabilities to verify the identity and criminal records of any employment candidate or current employee. The “Live Scan” (touch pad) process takes seconds and imposes no more inconvenience or intimidation than cashing a check at the local grocery store. Fingerprint live scanning entails no messy ink, no back room procedures or awkward confrontations … just economical and accurate information.

Among others, one of the pioneers in loss prevention and employee screening is Holliday Investigative Services, Inc. In a recent interview, President John Holliday explained, “I retired as a detective with the NYPD after more than 20 years of service. My company now serves a clientele from GA to CA and NY. The efficiency, economic feasibility and accuracy of this technology exceed anything in my experience. Employers and employees are the beneficiaries.”

John Holliday
Holliday Investigative Services, Inc.