Deciding When to Use Employment History Searches in Small Business Settings

Trisha Patel DDS Staffing, Employment

As the search for potential workers becomes nationwide and international for even small businesses, many smaller companies are using on line verification tools such as an employment history search or college verification.  This trend has been somewhat slow, since there is a cost associated with each type of search you choose to include.

As such, employers, and especially small employers, need to make a careful analysis of how important each position is and whether it warrant the precaution of an employment history search.  Often, small employers will hire employees on a trial basis into positions of less importance to give them careful analysis.

Of course, simply paying an on line employment history search service to do the checking on someone’s references for you can save money and time, though most prefer to actually contact a prospective employee’s former employers directly to get the sort of information about past performance that a simple report can’t provide.  A typical employment history search usually costs less than $50.

When the position is a very public one or one that immediately puts a new hire in a position of some authority to make major decisions, as is the case when hiring an executive for a mid-sized corporation.  However, among most small businesses in the US, which average just a few employees when they have any at all, such positions are almost always held by the proprietors alone.

The employment history searches that are available usually make use of public records such as tax forms and census data.  They don’t often include much more data that the most basic confirmation of employment, though they can turn up jobs that your applicant would rather forget for whatever reason.  This is especially useful to the employer who wants to investigate a gap in an applicant’s history that he or she doesn’t seem forthcoming about.

Of course, there is little that an employment history search alone can tell you about an applicant that you can’t learn from some phone calls an some very careful questioning.  Of course, if you work for the HR department of a somewhat larger company, an existing subscription to a company that performs such searches can prove invaluable in selecting only valid candidates to continue on to the more in-depth interview process.

If an employment history search does yield an inconsistency in an candidates resume, you’ll be in a position to make a decision about how you’ll deal with the information.  Mistakes can be made in public records, and you need to give people a chance to defend themselves.

Regardless, the limited use of employment history searches in small business is entrenched and a great time saver for particularly busy companies that want to spend less time in the job search and don’t have the time or inclination to make mistakes.