Archive for the ‘Pre-employment Background Check’ Category

Background Check Best Practice in Hong Kong and Asia

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Human capital is the core to a business success. Therefore, employing the right people in your company provides you one of the fastest tracks to success.
Education verification is one of the useful tools in background checking which is fundamental in understanding the candidate’s ability. Another very popular tool for background checks is reference checking. It produces the highest value to employers.
Our clients can be found all over the world with headquarters in different cities such as Australia and the US.
According to some researches, 62% of job candidates admitted exaggerating their resumes. Diplomas, transcripts and thesis can also be fake proving the necessity of pre-employment screening for senior jobs; over 90% of the fortune 500 companies use third party pre-employment screening firms such as ourselves and we are growing our client list with SMEs here in Hong Kong and the region.

Going Global Blog Referral by Tom Muldowney

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Nothing outperforms the quality and number of referrals your business gets. We were honoured to be the first business Going Global Blog written by one of Asia’s top marketing professionals – Tom Muldowney – has endorsed. We are grateful and appreciative of all referrals especially from high quality businesses like that of Tom’s.
While major global organizations do rigorous background checks too often SMEs think it is too costly confusing our business with executive recruiting and the costs there. SMEs can least afford a single bad hire yet overly rely on interviews when they make a final decision.
It is like choosing a partner on the Internet if you are so inclined. Interviews alone are the equivalent of making a decision on the basis of “Hot or Not” versus e-Harmony where applicants fill out a long questionnaire to match folks.
We would still suggest that the past is prologue when it comes to performance and no hire should be complete until you have done a thorough check including verifying resume statements and work histories.
Check out Tom’s website and his blog as this guy is successful! We are pleased to have helped him like so many other quality clients that we serve.
https://www.intlmarketaccess.com/newsletters/going-global-blog/38/

Video Interview with CEO of eeVoices – Section 4 -Who is to Blame for Resume Exaggeration

Thursday, August 5th, 2010


This is Vincent So, Human Resources Intern at eeVoices.
I am speaking with Greg Basham, CEO of eeVoices about what eeVoices has learned about job candidates and resumes when completing pre-employment screening checks for organizations of all sizes.
Who is to blame for all this resume exaggeration and misrepresentation? Do employers share any blame?
We should be clear that when we are talking about exaggerated resumes that when we at eeVoices “red flag” a file we are referring to misstatements of facts and outright falsifications. We are not talking about differing perceptions of contribution to an organization, job, project or team. As people’s views will often differ. There is no immaculate perception when it comes to divvying up the accolades for work accomplishments in some organizations- especially those with lousy annual performance appraisal systems and unclear personal objectives. People are human and we all have our own perception of our relative contribution. The pre-employment screening process including reference and education checking and verifying job and work histories helps employers complete the picture they are painting of prospective new hires. We just help them to get it right.
This is not to offer any excuses for people who purposefully exaggerate their resumes with creative writing – it is unethical and speaks to a person’s character and the net effect on an organization who hires a bunch of cheaters and exaggerators can’t be a positive one. Employers must take some of responsibility for exaggerated resumes if they don’t use independent firms like eeVoices to verify and check work histories or employ sufficient staff to develop the expertise and do these checks themselves. Employers are particularly to blame for the rapid rise in the number of fake degrees out there. Employers got the fake degree industry started as they asked to see originals of degrees and then took a copy for the files. When it became clear this was fuelling that industry, they asked for transcripts and promptly put those in the files and helped these fraud artists broaden their product lines. More recently, we have seen fake fee payment receipts, fake student visas and all these can be obtained with watermarks for degrees and university seals on transcripts. Yes, employers must share some of the responsibility and blame when they find out that the person they hired is not the same one they saw on paper and at the interview.
One final point to keep in mind – Over 90% of fortune 500 companies use third party pre-employment screening firms such as ourselves and we are growing our client list with SMEs here in Hong Kong and the region. This means that the available pool of companies for people with exaggerated resumes continues to decrease. The bad news is that there are still many employers who don’t take the time to check references so even the worst of the worst find another employer to harm.

Video Interview with CEO of eeVoices – Section 3 – Top 10 Resume Exaggerations in Asia Pacific

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010


This is Vincent So, Human Resources Intern at eeVoices.
I am speaking with Greg Basham, CEO of eeVoices about what eeVoices has learned about job candidates and resumes when completing pre-employment screening checks for organizations of all sizes.
Greg, do you see any patterns or common resume exaggerations like a TOP 10 List?
That is another very good question. Yes. There is a clear and distinct pattern to exaggerated resumes
To answer your question, we can actually divide our top 10 resume exaggeration items into two main categories.
The first group are what some employers call resume inflation and these are what job applicants do to “level the playing field” and get to the job interview.
These 5 include exaggeration of: 1) job titles, 2) job duties and scope of responsibilities, 3) reporting level and working relationships in an organization and 4) accomplishments and achievements and 5) salaries and bonuses.
While some might argue that these are relatively minor what we see from our interviews with job referees is that they often form a pattern that suggests the candidate either has a very inflated sense of their contributions to their past employers or they are outright lacking in integrity.
The second group of exaggerations are more clearly integrity issues. Our top 5 in this group includes: 1) misstated employment periods to cover up gaps in employment 2) missing job histories used by frequent job changers to show they have some staying power – where they don’t 3) misstated reasons for leaving to cover up termination. Coming in at number 4 are a host of professional and academic misrepresentations from fake awards and honours to fake degrees, diplomas, program concentrations, program descriptions to currency of professional certifications or ever having them at all. 5) number 5 on our list is the use of fake referees.

Question and Comments for Greg Basham, CEO, eeVoices

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Please feel free to contact me personally with any comments, questions or requests for information.
While we appreciate any comments on our blog forums it is always good to hear directly from those who are reading our blog posts and we too are always interested in learning more ourselves.
My email is gregbasham@eeVoices.com.

Video Interview with CEO of eeVoices – Section 2 – Resume Exaggeration Statistics in Asia Pacific

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Please feel free to contact me at gregbasham@eeVoices.com for any feedback, comments or requests for information.

This is Vincent So, Human Resources Intern at eeVoices.
I am speaking with Greg Basham, CEO of eeVoices about what eeVoices has learned about job candidates and resumes when completing pre-employment screening checks for organizations of all sizes.
How significant is the problem of resume exaggeration?
That is another very good question. In 2007 we did a survey of university graduates that included both employed people and those seeking jobs. It may surprise you but some 62% admitted to exaggeration and of that group 33% admitted to doing this “a great amount”. When we followed up and asked why, they were very clear that this was the only way to get a job interview.

Video Interview with CEO of eeVoices – Section 1 – The Definition of Resume Exaggeration

Monday, July 26th, 2010


This is Vincent So, Human Resources Intern at eeVoices.
I am speaking with Greg Basham, CEO of eeVoices about what eeVoices has learned about job candidates and resumes when completing pre-employment screening checks for organizations of all sizes.
First of all, what is the correct term? Do you call it resume inflation or exaggeration?
While there are some who excuse some of the minor discrepancies in facts as “expected resume inflation”, what we see more often than that is flagrant exaggeration and outright misrepresentation and falsification.

Is Pre-employment Screening in the Interests of the Job Seeker?

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

by Greg Basham, CEO, eeVoices July 23, 2010
Please email if you have comments, questions or want more information – gregbasham@eeVoices.com

Most times what we post is for the employers who hire us. This blog post looks at the issue from a job seekers perspective.
Whatever you term it – pre-employment screening, pre-employment screening background checks, reference check or background check, background screening – the end results for employers is better information from a third party to help identify people who will stay longer and contribute more. This question was raised if this process is as good for job seekers on a job seekers forum and this is my response.
With the caveat that not all third party reference and background checking firms are the same we know from the work we do for our clients in the Asia Pacific Region helps them bridge time zones, bureaucratic hurdles and get information on new hires from their competitors.
Many employers today are using third party pre-employment screening firms to conduct background checks on their prospective new hires and the question arises – is it a good thing for job seekers or it is just a good thing for employers? The short answer is yes- it is as good for job seekers as it is for employers. I know it is good for Human Resources staff as reference checking for them is the downside of being an HR professional. People are hard to reach and often won’t speak openly. Third party screeners do nothing else but call all day long and for some reason people speak more candidly and honestly to third parties than they would directly to the prospective employer.
First off, let me admit my bias. I am CEO of eeVoices Limited- a Hong Kong based company engaged in pre-employment screening, exit interviewing and organization surveys. The caveat is that pre-employment screening only benefits job seekers who are honest and have nothing to hide versus some one who is polished in resume writing, great in job interviews and has left behind a trail of disasters and problems as they move from job to job.
Too often, bad people operate on the assumption that their target employers will not call references and will take comfort in the quality of the companies and positions held that they see on the resume. To satisfy themselves that the candidate has a degree or other certifications, they obtain a copy for the personnel file. They can do this because 80 to 90% of the time if an organization does not have a strict reference checking policy, references are not called and education and certificates are not verified. Our clients are shocked that some who have stolen money or defrauded prior employers will fill out and sign the consent forms and put these employers on their reference list in the hope that they might not speak candidly to a third party – but our experience suggests that they do. In some cases, when job seekers are asked to complete the consent forms they fill them in only to email the company when they get home and say they miraculously just found another job.
A typical basic pre-employment screening package includes verifying employment history, education and certification validation, checking statements on the resume and asking work-related questions of the referees who are provided by the job applicant. For jobs where there is a potential for fraud and where the position justifies additional verifications, pre-screening might include a check of court records for bankruptcy and any civil litigation and a search for any other directorships that might present the firm with a conflict of interest problem.
Some positions might need criminal record checks and full credit checks. The presence of a criminal record does not necessarily preclude a person from getting a job if the crime is minor and irrelevant to the position. Some people actually forget a minor conviction when they were younger and this is not unusual. When people are in positions where the potential for fraud or theft is high a credit check lets the prospective employer know that the person is currently meeting their financial obligations and that they do not have a past history of failed financial dealings that might influence their honesty when they are onboard.
As a job seeker, ask yourself these two questions:
Have you ever exaggerated your job duties, education or training or accomplishments in your resume? Do you believe that if you don’t exaggerate your background a little or a fair amount, that you won’t get the job interview? If you answer yes to either or both questions, you are not alone. A survey conducted by us found that 62% of the respondents in this market answered yes to this question and some 33% of that group admitted to exaggerating their qualifications a fair amount. When we asked them why, they said that if they don’t “fudge” their resumes they won’t get the job interview where they feel their background and interview skills will level the playing field.
Does pre-employment screening level the playing field for job applicants?
Yes, it does. A professional third party firm will verify resume information. This will reward those who haven’t taken a creative writing approach to their career achievements list. The astute job seeker should want to apply to those firms who check applicant backgrounds. If someone says they increased sales 500% over three years, the screening agency will verify this or prove this false. The screener will also verify that the person giving the reference isn’t the best friend of the applicant. This levels the playing field at the resume stage.
Does pre-employment screening level the playing field inside the interview room?
Yes, it can be a leveller if the screening is conducted before the interview team is disbanded and if the job is offered “subject to satisfactory references”. Let me tell you that with the possible exception of executive search firms everyone in the room on the search committee has a “horse in the race”. Even the most professional recruiters with years of human resources experience admit they fall into the trap of having a “preferred candidate”. I have hired many senior people and have been a member of numerous selection and hiring committees for senior positions including presidents and vice presidents of major organizations and it all works the same way.
Independent third party screening firms provide an unbiased report on each of the job finalists and a comparative summary that changes the discussions from each person backing their “favourite” to more thoroughly examining the pros and cons of all the job applicants. Never forget that the decision to like or not like a person is made within the first few minutes of meeting someone for the first time and the interview process is not different.
In our screening agency, interviewers never meet or talk to the job candidate so we have none of the biases that come when you meet people for the first time. Where a staff member of ours meets a job applicant for a Hong Kong criminal record check, that interviewer is precluded from conducting any reference checks on that file. Whatever impressions our staff member has are not passed along to those screening the candidates. We normally use multiple interviewers on the same file to avoid bias and maintain quality.
What can job applicants do to get a better pre-employment screening result?
1. Make sure your resume accurately highlights your skills, experience, education and achievements. If you have not completed a program, say so.
2. Provide good job-related references and information on how referees can be reached quickly. The better the information, the faster you get onboard and the pay cheques start coming.
3. Make sure your referees know who might be calling and how important it is for them to reply quickly.
4. Tell your referees a bit about the company you are interviewing at and the position you are being considered for.
If the screening agency can’t reach the person you named as a reference, that doesn’t help your cause as it slows the process down and reduces the quality of the information they have to make a final decision. Find out if your referees are available before this process commences. Don’t use names of people as referees who have left the region for the motherland 10 years ago unless you have their current contact information.
You want to avoid a referee being surprised by the call and becoming evasive even after your signed authorization form is sitting on his or her desk. Nothing outperforms the referee who starts off telling the interviewer that they were expecting the call and then proceeds to provide comments that demonstrate your suitability for the company and position you are seeking. This also helps them to put any of your improvement needs into context to show your skills in the best light for the new position.
There are times when job seekers are concerned about using their current employer as a reference. Employers will not have third parties call any referees without your consent. In most cases, reference checking does not commence prior to a job offer that assumedly is made “subject to satisfactory references.” If you did not have the best working relationship with your current boss or any former boss, employers understand this and this is not detrimental to your application unless no one speaks highly of your job performance. If you use the name of another senior level person in the same organization this is fine. What the screening firm will check is if that individual is qualified to speak to your qualifications and background. It is not uncommon for sales managers to use customers as one of their referees. It all helps to paint a picture of you to support what the prospective employer has already learned about you from the resume and interviews.
A final word- if pre-employment screening becomes the norm in hiring, this will level the playing field for all. Many of the largest and best companies are screening now and SME’s are recognizing that it is cost effective to use third parties and prevent bad hires. SMEs are starting to realize that third party screening costs are no where close to what it costs to engage an executive recruitment firm who work with firms to develop job profiles and source and interview prospective candidates. Pre-employment screening begins when the final candidate or candidates are selected.
Good luck to you in careers and job searches! For more information visit our website at www.eeVoices.com or write to us directly at enquiry@eeVoices.com .
eeVoices Limited is a Hong Kong based human resources services company that provides pre-employment screening, online exit interviews, organization engagement and other surveys for clients in the Asia – Pacific Region.

I write like…? Analyze your writing free

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

by Greg Basham, CEO
Analyzing writing is not my forte but you might find this website interesting to analyze your writing. It is “I write like” at http://iwl.me .
Writing skills are essential to good communication when it comes to conveying information or in our case writing an exit interview report or preparing a pre-employment screening and background check report for a client where the words and intent of the personal references we have contacted must be recorded accurately. It is tricky when we must interview in Cantonese or Mandarin and translate the meaning into English with all of the cultural nuances that come into play when referees giver references for former employees.
You submit a few paragraphs that “Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.”
I submitted two of my blog posts to the website “I write like” http://iwl.me/ just for fun to see which famous writer the “I write like” analyzer compares my writing to.
It turns out my writing is like Cory Doctorow who Wiki describes as “a Canadian blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organisation, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Doctorow
Who knows it might even get you started on that book idea you always wanted to publish.

What should an organization do if a job applicant asks for access to personal reference reports?

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

by Greg Basham, CEO
Most jurisdictions have legislation and policy that allow access to personal data and to correct wrong information and this is a good thing to protect people.
Many organizations have similar policies in place with respect to employee personnel files.
Hong Kong where our company is head quartered has similar data access and correction rules however there is an exemption for personal references provided for the purpose of determining a person’s suitability for employment.
This respects the expected confidentiality of the comments provided by a referee as to the person’s past performance and workplace conduct as well as provides an employer useful information to get a new hire started on the right path and keep them performing and motivated and avoiding any negatives that cropped up in prior positions.
While this is not legal advice nor should this replace a manager’s proper consultation with relevant legislation and policy, Hong Kong’s Ordinance and Code of Practice on Human Resource Management are pretty clear that personal references are not to be accessed by job applicants or employees.
This question rarely arises as most job applicants if they believe their references might have been a problem will either ensure next time that they know fully how their referees see their performance both the positives and the areas for improvement and will either take steps to correct any shortcomings or will bring these up in the interview and address them face to face with the interviewers.
This question might arise if the employer has offered a position “subject to satisfactory references” and then withdraws the offer as the references were not satisfactory. We advise clients who take this route out of an offer to say nothing more than this and not to enter any discussions or explanations as to why if they are questioned.