Posts Tagged ‘background checks’

EEOC Record Keeping Comes to Background Checks

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

For many years now, the EEOC has required specific record keeping when a company uses some sort of applicant testing as a screening tool for employment.  Testing broadly refers to any part of the recruiting process where a decision can be made on an applicant as to them advancing in the process.  According to the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP), companies have to collect applicant data when they make adverse decisions of employment based upon the performance of protecting status people through the use of “interviews, review of experience or education from application forms, work samples, physical requirements, and evaluations of performance” (UGESP).

While there is a partial reprieve for employers with less than 100 employees, these guidelines require employers to keep race, sex and ethnicity data on applicants, hires promotions and terminations (Section 15, UGESP).  This requirement is nothing new for those employers covered by federal affirmative action guidelines.  For all other employers, this news may be a bit unsettling.  As it was for Crothall Services Group.

In 2015, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Crothall Services Group, Inc., ( 2:15-cv-03812, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) for not keeping the above prescribed records as they related to their use of background screening.  The case was recently settled through the signing of a consent letter where Crothall, in regards to conducting background checks, agrees to “keep records identifying the person’s gender, race, and ethnicity. Once Crothall has reviewed any person’s criminal history information or conducted any criminal history assessment, it also has to keep records of the criminal history information, the results of any criminal history assessment, and any employment decision made based on any criminal history assessment. The decree further requires record keeping relating to complaints about Crothall’s use of criminal history information and assessments, including complaints of discrimination, and regular reporting to EEOC throughout the decree’s duration” (EEOC).

So this leaves employers with an interesting choice.  If you adhere to the letter of the guidelines and collect race/gender information on all applicants, then that means the government will have the data it needs to potentially extract backpay and other monies from your company for applicants adversely impacted by your selection procedures.  If you collect that data, you are strongly advised to document why each applicant didn’t progress through the various levels of your selection process.  You would also would want a clear process on how long you maintain such records (one-year requirement from EEOC for non-federal government contractors).  If on the other hand, you chose to not collect data on applicants, then you could potentially find yourself in a situation like Crothall and be forced by the EEOC to adopt such practices going forward.  It’s also yet to be seen how an NC court would rule in such a case.

Regardless of the direction you go, we strongly recommend reviewing your applicant recordkeeping procedures and all “tests” you use during the selection process.

We can also help you with your background checking needs.  For more information please contact Kevin W. von der Lippe at (919) 878-9222, (336) 668-7746 or by e-mail;

Kevin W. von der Lippe is a licensed private investigator at CAI and for 19 years has managed our detective agency and background checking business.  He is security minded and proficient with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as administered by the EEOC as it relates to background checks. Capital Associated Industries Services Corporation is a licensed investigative agency, specializing in corporate pre-employment background screening. Our corporate agency license is BPN 001473P11.

Supreme Court and Technical Flaws of Background Checking Paperwork

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The alarm bells for employers have been sounding for the last few years about getting your federal Fair Credit Reporting Act paperwork in order.  The proliferation of class action lawsuits around Printproper release forms and the pre-adverse and adverse action paperwork has cost companies millions of dollars.  In large part, the class action suits have been driven by a Ninth Circuit Court (the federal court that covers California) ruling that identified that technical flaws in your company’s background checking documents was “injury” enough to have standing.  This change in the barrier to having standing in federal court made the creation of class action lawsuits very easy to file, and to win.

The new six to two ruling sends the matter back to the Ninth Circuit, but essentially states that in many cases the plaintiffs have to show some injury beyond a technical flaw in the company’s process.  Will this ruling abate the rising tide of FCRA driven class action lawsuits?  Only time will tell.

Making critical hiring decisions for your company is a huge responsibility. Not only is it critical to the success of the company, but also the safety of your employees and getting it right isn’t easy. Last year, approximately 90% of businesses in the US did some sort of background check on prospective employees to help protect their companies against the significant liabilities of negligent hiring lawsuits.

Unfortunately, the number of businesses out of compliance with the latest background checking standards grows every year and regrettably, most hiring professionals do not realize it until they are named in ever more frequent class action lawsuits.

Chances are that you are ordering background checks, but are you compliant?

Background checks compiled by third parties, such as CAI’s detective agency*, are covered by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The FCRA covers more than financial records; it also includes reports that research criminal records, employment records, education information, driving records and even something as simple as an address history.  The FCRA was broadened in scope in 1997, and is designed to provide a safeguard for the applicant who has an adverse action taken against them based upon the results reported in the background investigation.  That is, if the applicant is denied an employment opportunity in whole or part by information contained in a background check, he or she has the right to view the information and dispute the record.

How do you comply?

  1. Have a permissible purpose (employment).
  2. Obtain written consent from the applicant.
  3. Run the check through a reputable third party Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), like CAI.
  4. Look at the results and decide if the applicant fits the needs of your company:
    1. If the record is clean, keep the authorization form in a secure place.
    2. If the applicant is not hired due to something uncovered in the background check, then you should do the following:
      1. Mail a copy of the report, and
      2. a summary of the applicant’s rights under the FCRA, and
      3. a pre-adverse action letter [that includes the third party’s (CRA’s) name and contact info to the applicant].
      4. If your company is in North Carolina, you also want to send a copy of the NC Security Freeze to the applicant.
      5. After a reasonable amount of time (around five business days) you want to mail the declination letter to your applicant. During this time you should hold the position to give the applicant a chance to respond.
      6. After the “reasonable time” you may hire the appropriate applicant, thus filling the position.
      7. Store the rejected applicant’s signed written consent for six years.  SHRM recommends that you store the negative report for two years.

Hiring can be very stressful and CAI knows that it is better to get it right the first time.

Kevin von der Lippe

Kevin W. von der Lippe is a licensed private investigator at CAI and for 19 years has managed our detective agency and background checking business.  He is security minded and proficient with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as administered by the EEOC as it relates to background checks. Capital Associated Industries Services Corporation is a licensed investigative agency, specializing in corporate pre-employment background screening. Our corporate agency license is BPN 001473P11.

Contact Kevin at 336-899-1150 or or

The Million Dollar Lie

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The following post is from CAI’s Kevin von der Lippe. He serves as CAI’s private investigator and leads the company’s Background Checking department.

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Kevin von der Lippe, Private Investigator

Laszlo Bock, the Senior Vice President of HR at Google, recently caused a stir with his two-part blog post on Linkedin® in which he exposed the ugly truth about the overwhelming number of resume mistakes that flood his desk. Bock estimates that Google accumulates more than 50,000 applicant resumes in a single week, and he personally guarantees that more than half of all resumes have at least 1 mistake on them.  He goes on to discuss the top 5 pitfalls that otherwise remarkable job candidates make on their resumes that lead to a lose-lose situation for both the candidate and the employer. The most notorious of these infractions?  Lies.

For some reason, applicants and sometimes hiring managers fail to understand that the entire point of conducting a background check is to independently verify the information provided by the job seeker.  Bock says it breaks his heart when he finds an applicant that lied on the resume.  Last year, a Careerbuilder® survey found that 58% of employers have caught an applicant lying on their resume. I can tell you from personal experience that CAI’s background checking department commonly finds evidence of lying during the 90,000 or so background checks we conduct each year.

Lying about one’s education seems to top the list of transgressions, but fudging dates of employment and being dishonest about prior convictions are also top contenders. Interestingly, a recent court case in Pennsylvania ruled that a company could hold an applicant accountable for not providing an honest answer regarding criminal records on job applications, even when the crimes were not specifically job related.

Bock suggests in his post that you should use his company’s search engine to do a quick search for “CEO fired for lying on resume.”   Imagine climbing the corporate ladder for 15 years until you finally become CEO, only to have your dream turn to horror as you’re fired for a lie you made on your resume 15 years ago.  You would be surprised how often this scenario occurs, and it is continues thanks in part to failed or insufficient background checks.

And let’s not forget, the stakes are high for employers too! The average settlement of a negligent hiring lawsuit is nearly $1 million.  Don’t be a statistic!  Make sure you are conducting thorough background checks on prospective employees. Let CAI’s detective agency help you sort through your applicant’s statements, and make sure you are hiring the right person with the skill set you need.

If you have questions about our background checking services, or how CAI can help you remain in compliance with the federal laws related to background screening, you can call me at 336 -899-1150 or email at

5 Recruiting Tips for Your Hiring Needs

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

recruitingAs the job market roars back into the limelight of post-recession America and our national unemployment rate plummets to a satisfying 6.3%, companies from basement start-ups to fortune 500’s are hiring again. The question is, who’s doing all of their recruiting?

Well, it depends. For anyone having grown up in the millennial generation the answer is simple, social media. As our society becomes ever increasingly social, more people are absorbing most if not all of their news, entertainment and career resources from various sites online. As a result, recruiters today have a vast world of social resources that weren’t imaginable even 10 years ago.

But then again, if you ask someone from a more experienced generation, they’ll tell you that while social media does have its advantages, not everyone uses it and there is still something to be said about hiring a professional recruiter to handle everything for you.

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to recruiting, but when so much is riding on making the right decision, one thing is for sure, it’s better to get it right the first time than waste time, money and energy refilling the same positions.

Here are five steps to making sure your next hire is your best hire!

Advertising is key

When trying to attract the right candidates for the job, the first thing you have to address is where to place the post. Who is your audience and where might they look if they were searching for a job? First, you could consider your standard issue job boards such as,, and Next, we would recommend finding sites that directly relate to your industry or a particular career area. Many professions have sites, communities or organizations dedicated specifically to collaborate and host jobs boards for people of a particular skill set. Then, you should consider any credible social media outlets that could help. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for recruiting.

Thorough screening process

Once you’ve posted your openings on a few job boards, you should start receiving resumes. If you’re not seeing any responses you may want to go back and reevaluate your previous posting decisions. Sifting through an inbox full of resumes may very well seem like a daunting task, but it is by far one of the most important steps to eliminating those who are not right for the position. To make the selection process easier, you can start by automatically deleting the applicants who:

  • Have spelling errors
  • Forgot to attach a resume/document
  • Did not follow your instructions

Not saying that they’re not qualified, but if they don’t care enough to check their spelling or follow instructions, are they really the candidate you’re looking for?


Assessment Tools

Once you’ve whittled your list down, it’s always a good idea to test their knowledge, because anyone can look good on paper! Testing could range from a simple computer test, to a more complex test of their skill set or even a comprehensive personality test so you know exactly who they are regardless of what they seem like over the phone.



After you’ve gathered your applicants’ test results, you should have a much smaller list than you started out with. At this point, it’s time for the in-person interview. This should give you a much better understanding of how your applicants carry themselves.

  • Are they professional?
  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Are the able to hold a conversation and maintain enthusiasm for what they do?
  • Can you see yourself working with this person in the future?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you may have yourself a winner!


Background checking

Lastly, and quite frankly one of the most important steps in the hiring process is the background check. Your candidates may have an impressive resume, pass your assessments and all of their interviews with flying colors, but do they have a criminal past? If so, that’s something that they should have already mentioned when you ask them for permission to do a background check and if they didn’t why? Are they embarrassed or are they hiding something? Either way, you need someone who will always be forthcoming and honest with you, and a background check will not only eliminate those questions, but also give you the peace of mind that you’re hiring who you think you are.

For more information on recruiting or CAI’s recruiting services, please contact Jill Feldman, 919.431.6084 or Molly Hegeman, 919.713.5263.



4 Tips to Act Like a Detective When Hiring Job Candidates

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

CAI’s Director of Membership, Doug Blizzard, offers several strategies to help you make solid hiring decisions in today’s video post. He suggests that you act like a detective during the interview and hiring process to make sure your new hire is the right person to do the job. Doug says that organizations should objectively piece together clues to find their new employee. However, many hiring managers act like first-time car buyers—nervous, unprepared, settle for the first thing they find, etc.

As a detective, Doug encourages you to take your time during the hiring process. Actively find out if job candidates have the character and credentials to fill your open position. Doug gives you four ways to pull off a successful investigation:

1)      Screen for Organizational Fit

Many leading companies believe cultural or organizational fit are more important than specific job skills. Hire someone who fits your workplace culture, and you’ll likely spend less time dealing with a bad hire who affects the morale and performance of your other employees. Doug says you can’t teach character. He lists several ways to screen for organizational fit in the video.

2)       Require Letters of Reference

Doug suggests having your job candidates provide you with two letters of reference—one personal and one professional. The letters will tell you a lot about the candidate and help you indentify the type of character your candidate has.

3)      Ask Behavior-Based Interview Questions

Job candidates are prepared for standard interview questions, such as their strengths, weaknesses and even what type of animal they’d be. However, Doug says the best predictor of success is past results. Identify success factors for your company’s available position, and ask your candidates how they were able to have similar results at their workplace.

4)      Perform Background Checks

In the video, Doug says the cost to perform background checks pales in comparison to the price of a bad hire. Fifty-three percent of all job applications contain errors so performing this step is crucial.

If you have additional questions or would like more information to help you with your hiring process, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

5 Tips to Guarantee a Great New Hire

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Having a successful business has a lot to do with who you hire. Not spending adequate time during the hiring process could have severe consequences on your workplace and its overall productivity. Avoid taking short cuts when reviewing candidates to add to your team. Choosing the wrong candidates can negatively affect your other employees, cost you more money than you expected and waste many of your team members’ time.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when looking for new talent:

Create an Accurate Job Description

Before you start to hunt for suitable candidates, be sure you know what duties and tasks the new hire will be responsible for. Carefully create your job description to clearly explain what the future employee will be doing. Making specific job descriptions will weed out the people who really don’t have the experience or desire to fulfill the position.

Develop Your Recruiting Plans and Goals

Make the recruiting process more efficient by assigning an interview team to prescreen the candidate to ensure he fits the requirements of your job description. This interview team will help you evaluate the interviewees and eventually help you decide who should be offered a job.

Define Your Ideal Candidate for the Job

Know the top traits you want to see in your future employee before you start interviewing candidates. While you’re conducting the interview, listen for the things the candidates say that match your top qualities. Finding people that align with your expectations will help you secure the right person for your open position.

Run a Background Check and Require a Skills Test

Background checks are the best way to guarantee your job candidates are who they say they are and have the experience they say they have. CAI can help your team run its background checks to avoid a bad hire. Contact Kevin von der Lippe at  Skills test are also important to run to make sure the candidate has the skills and knowledge to excel at the job. Writing, Microsoft Office and personality tests are common skills assessments to ask candidates to complete.

Request Recommendations and Check Them

Getting at least two recommendations that can vouch for your candidate’s past work history is important in reducing the chance of hiring a poor performer. After you conduct your interviews and narrow down your top choices, don’t skip this important step—you will save money and time.

Hiring the right candidate for your open position will positively affect your business performance, boost employee morale and solidify employer-employee relationships. So follow these five tips and stop wasting time, energy and money. For more hiring tips, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Introducing Social Media into Your Recruitment Process

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The post below was contributed by Greg Moran, the CEO of, a Predictive Talent Selection suite used by organizations like Subway and Disney to hire better. You can keep up to date with Greg on twitter @CEOofChequed.

As the liability of a bad hire increases, recruiters around the world are embarking on the search for new, more effective means for finding the right candidates.  Yet, there’s no reason to take to the hills or sail the seven seas if the plethora of social media remains untapped by your HR department. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t just about status updates and games like Farmville anymore. They also serve as great facilitators for the candidate selection process.

However, the question isn’t only whether or not you’re using social media, but whether you’re using it effectively. You won’t be surprised to learn that by only occasionally posting available positions or haphazardly firing out job alerts on Twitter won’t win the heart of many candidates. Rather, it’s important to use social media in a way that not only scans for potential candidates, but that truly connects your HR department with quality candidates.

But before we go any further, we must first note that while social media and web research can be invaluably beneficial, it is critical that prospective employers use such tools ethically. Recruiters are responsible for investigating candidate and reference checks in a manner that is objective and in accordance with legal standards (for more information checkout the legal issues of reference checking). Information pertaining to a candidate’s health, sexual orientation or religion should be avoided at best, ignored at the least. As long as such sentiments are clear, recruiters are encouraged to jump into the world of social media with enthusiasm and high expectations!

Earlier this year, Bullhorn and CareerXroads both released reports indicating that LinkedIn was the most relied upon social media tool of all recruiters. But there’s no reason to put all of your eggs in one basket!  Get creative; branch out.  For instance, the same Bullhorn report found that a Twitter follower is nearly three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection. Pinterest, the site of virtual personalized pin boards, and Foursquare, the individualized GPS system, are both great tools for researching a candidate’s background.  Likewise, they can provide a fair amount of information regarding the candidate’s intentions and ambitions.

Similarly, wise recruiters understand that leading candidates can often be linked back to the references they provide and that these references may one day become job candidates themselves.  Be sure to call upon the social media described above to learn more about the names listed as references on a candidate’s application. Doing so may not only validate the quality of the reference, but may also allow for a quality opportunity to network with the reference.

It’s important to understand that much of social media is user generated, indicating that your candidate may have carefully censored the information he or she made available. So to supplement the smorgasbord of sometimes-bias social media, don’t forget to include basic Google searches in your candidate selection process.  Google has a tendency to turn up information that is not user generated, but that will be equally vital in your selection process, such as previous convictions.

While recruiting is an age-old field, the methods involved therein don’t need to be antiquated.  Social media, when used effectively and ethically, allows human resource representatives to increase productivity, reduce total expenditure, and subsequently improve hiring outcomes. It’s an equation that makes sense.


Two Key Considerations When Performing Background Checks

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

When people fib about their work history, educational degree, job titles or salaries, criminal background and substance abuse habits – the top five lies told by job candidates – the results can be devastating for a company to have these individuals on staff. Performing a strong background check to weed out violent and dishonest candidates is essential if a firm is to work at top efficiency. In fact, one study estimates that the resultant annual ROI for using background screening to prevent business losses is more than 900 percent.

Potential employees can omit details that hide facts that can be difficult to uncover. To make sure your background checks are as thorough as possible, consider the following suggestions:

Hire a professional background checking company, also known as a consumer reporting agency – A CRA can help a business conduct background checks on candidates so that it does not have to devote extra time and resources for this process, plus it helps reduce liability. If you use a CRA, you must follow the federal law and tell the candidate on a document separate from the employment application that you are going to conduct a background check to independently verify the information provided, and the individual must first sign a document authorizing the background check. Turning someone down based on information drawn from a CRA requires that you give the applicant a chance to review the negative information, and possibly dispute the record before you make your final hiring decision. To know what you can and cannot do with a CRA report, review the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements.

Perform searches appropriate for the position – Hiring a CRA is only part of the battle. You must make sure that you are asking for the appropriate research.  You should start with some sort of name and address history search to independently verify the applicant’s basic information.  Then you should search for criminal records based upon the address history for some given “time window” – maybe 7 years.  Other types of searches should be based upon job responsibilities. Check on licensing claims, driving records, education verification, professional  and employment references, Medicaid sanctions, and other registries where needed to ensure that the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the job. Early discoveries can prevent much bigger later headaches if the person is lying.

For additional information on what to consider for background checks, please call Kevin von der Lippe at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: showbizsuperstar

Background Checks – Three Questions to Consider

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

These days, most employers include background checks as a mandatory part of the hiring process, as they should.  When conducting background checks it is very important that you follow the letter of the law.  Here are three important considerations for your background checking process:

  1. Are you complying with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)? A lot of companies get derailed on the word “credit” – they feel that since they are not looking at the financial record of their applicant/employee that the FCRA does not apply to them.  In reality, the FCRA actually applies to any sort of background check that is compiled by a third party, such as your background checking company.  It is almost impossible to avoid using a third party in some part of the background check.  Many companies and a lot of universities refer verification inquiries to third party companies that act as the repository, instantly bringing your background check under the purview of the FCRA.
  2. Is your decision point job related? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules are clear—you should only hold items against your applicant that are job related.  If you are unable to show a correlation to the work your applicant needs to do, you are better off not considering the unrelated negative background check results when making your hiring decision.  In fact, the EEOC has said that you must take into accountthe nature and gravity of the offense or offenses for which the applicant was convicted; the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and the nature of the job held or sought.
  3. Should you look at financial credit reports? The answer is yes, if it is important to the job requirements of the position for which you are hiring.  Recent actions by legislators and the EEOC should make you take pause before requiring a financial credit report on all applicants.  A good litmus test (unless you are in Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Illinois) is if the position includes any of the following characteristics:
  1. is a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of the business;
  2. involves access to customers’, employees’ or the employer’s personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction;
  3. involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including, but not limited to, the authority to issue payments, transfer money or enter into contracts; or
  4. provides an expense account.

CAI works closely with its Background Checking clients to ensure they are fully compliant with local and federal laws.  If you have questions about background checks, please contact Kevin von der Lippe at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: HaxNetwork

Importance of Background Checks Continues to Rise

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A recent survey of more than 600 HR professionals by EmployeeScreenIQ reveals that employers are emphasizing the need for pre-hire background checks more than they ever have.

Specifically, 70 percent of those surveyed reported that background screening has become more important in recent years because of a strong desire to reduce the risk of making a costly hiring mistake, changes in government regulations and fears that the poor economy will tempt candidates to falsify their documentation in order to obtain a position. A large majority of the companies surveyed (92 percent) regularly conduct background checks.

Although there are many different types of screening services, the list below includes the checks deemed as mandatory by the survey participants. Those responding indicated these services are used on all jobs within their organization:

  • County Criminal Records Checks:     73%
  • Employment Verifications:                 68%
  • National Criminal Record Database:  60%
  • Substance Abuse Screening:               49%
  • Education Verifications:                     42%
  • E-Verify (Federal Government):        32%.

Three other trends were identified from the survey results:

  1. The percentage of employers who mandate background screening will continue to grow, as a third of those surveyed who did not currently conduct checks indicated they plan to do so within the next six months.
  2. Credit screening is on the decline, used by only 15 percent of those surveyed.  The economy has created many credit problems for candidates, and credit worthiness is often not criteria for job performance and may be alleged to be a discriminatory selection practice under EEO laws.
  3. A majority of employers felt social networking sites did not provide useful information that could be used in employee screening.

Organizations that are utilizing backgrounds checks to screen candidates need to ensure that they are conducting high quality checks or are using a high quality third party to conduct the checks on their behalf. CAI offers Background Checking services to help you uncover everything you need to know about your employment candidates.  For more information, go to or call us at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Klearchos Guide to the Galaxy