Editor’s Note: Today we welcome guest author Peter Melan of VeraTrack. I approached Peter to write an article on this subject because it is important to the hiring process, it is complicated both legally and logistically and it affects everyone. I hope Peter continues to offer his insights to our readers!
It’s 2013, Hang Up the Phone
by Peter Melan, President of VeraTrack
Calling previous employers to verify employment history can be daunting. Making calls, leaving voicemails, and waiting for callbacks sounds exhausting. All you wait for sometimes is just a simple ‘yes they worked here’ but you wait for days just to hear those words and pray that you even get a callback.
Many HR departments still make telephone calls to previous employers asking about their job applicants’ salary, final position at time of separation, dates of employment, etc.
In response to this dilemma, companies are now looking at a more robust way to verify employment history; electronic employment verifications. You’re probably asking yourself; why let a computer do what I can do and provide me the same result for virtually no cost? Well, the simple answer is efficiency.
Currently, there are two types of electronic employment verifications; one is the method where you can upload employee data to third-party vendors and companies can pay to make inquiries. The other type is where real-time verification requests are sent to previous employers and are completed via a website. Both definitely have their pros and cons but are effective ways to cut down time and increase productivity amongst your staff.
The first solution provides you with the ultimate freedom. Create a process that extracts employee data and frequently upload that data to a website, and inform prospective employers that your department does not provide any information related to employees and you must visit XYZ Company to make inquiries. The process is fairly straightforward and simple. No more phone calls. No more aggravation.
The issues with this type of verification are endless. Thinking out loud, your job to extract the data from your HRIS application fails, or the query changed and no one was notified and now the data being sent to the vendor is incorrect or the vendor may have changed login credentials and never informed you and now files have been sitting on a FTP server for months. Although these types of issues are eventually caught, they are some of the pitfalls associated with uploading data to a third-party vendor for prospective employers to search on employees’ information
The second type of electronic verification is the type where real-time inquires are made to previous employers asking to verify a prospective employee’s information. The process is straightforward and is essentially done today by your HR department, only allowing a computer to do the work in a systematic and efficient manner.
The job applicant’s data is entered into a web based system, along with the contact information for the previous employers. The dates of employment, salary, and final position are required elements in order for the verification to be completed. Emails or faxes are sent daily to previous employers asking to verify the information being presented by the prospective employer on the employee. In most cases, only subjective information is confirmed, such as dates of employment; however there are companies who wish to provide a rating on the employee’s performance. Although in most cases, companies are avoiding performance based ratings to avoid any issues, which in itself, presents an altogether different problem.
The second solution releases your staff from making daily phone calls, tracking who was called, who worked where, and organizes all the information compiled from previous employers into a format that is easily placed into the employee’s file or integrated with your HRIS application. Having the information readily available at the click of a button is a wonderful thing and eliminates the need to sift through files.
A major issue with this type of verification is that HR departments have turnover and if emails are being sent to an invalid address it could pose a delay in response. The simple solution is most vendors have processes in place to check for this type of bounce and the client is immediately notified within a short amount of time that a correction is required.
These methods discussed deal with a process that is crucial to the background investigation of a prospective employee. Both pose challenges yet have been increasingly popular as companies continue to streamline HR activities and can reduce the amount of time it takes to verify employment history from days to sometimes minutes.
About Peter Melan
Peter Melan, president of VeraTrack, which launched in 2005, is a web-based solutions provider that saves employers time and money by streamlining employment verifications for prospective employees. Melan’s 12 years in various project management and database analyst positions, along with owning a tenant background-screening firm enhanced his knowledgebase and influenced the development of his electronic employment verification process. In each of his prior roles, Melan was tasked with using data management systems to improve operational efficiencies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Management from Moravian College. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling (610) 258-5746.