One of the most common jobs that clients ask a private eye to do is to perform background checks on potential employees. Employers know that making a bad mistake in hiring someone can be very costly for their company, not to mention very inconvenient indeed, especially since finding a replacement can be a hassle. If you’ve been hired to check on a job candidate, here are tried and tested tips you can use:Always ask if the potential employee consented with the screening To protect the rights of all job applicants, the Fair Credit Reporting Act was implemented. Be aware that the Act requires the inquirer (in this case, the employer) to show written proof that the potential employee agreed to have a background check performed on him.You also have to let the applicant know the source of the information you obtained, in case their application is turned down based on whatever data you as a private eye gets to collect. Remember that the information you will obtain from performing such a background check will affect the outcome of the potential employee’s job application.Obtain a resume of the potential employee The resume of the candidate will tell you plenty of things about the person. It contains information regarding his former employers, the people he worked with (usually included as references) and the school where he got his education.You should be able to match the information provided by the job applicant with what is factual: did he really work at the company he mentioned in his resume and in such a capacity? Are his claims regarding the types of responsibilities he had truthful? Did he really complete the education he said he trained for?Ask what type of references your client needs As a professional private eye, you should be able to offer your client different screening services. Offering a complete, all-in-one package may not be that useful for your client because of the nature of the job that the potential employee will be performing.You could, for example, offer a basic potential employee screening package covering an employment background check, resume verification and a criminal record check for most job vacancies. Based on the qualifications required for the job position, you can then extend your screening services to include checks on the potential employee’s education and training, work documentation and any records that might show a criminal past.Cover your grounds Be careful about screening a potential employee for your clients. Cover all the necessary issues to ensure that your client gets all the relevant information about their job applicant. If they make a bad hiring decision based on the information you provided, they may not remain as your clients for so long.
What do your professional references say about you? Ever think about it? You should because no matter how good your interview went, if your references don’t say good things about you….you’re not getting that new job you want. Seems kinda harsh doesn’t it? But it’s true, a bad reference can single handedly sink an otherwise great opportunity.Ironically, most people pay little to no attention to their references. I hear things like “I haven’t talked to him in ages.”, “I didn’t really work that closely with her.”, “I’m just his friend” but my favorite is the “one word answers” – yep, no, yes, maybe, absolutely. Joking aside, if you aren’t taking the time to really cultivate and inform your professional references you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in any job search. Someone who takes their job search seriously has educated, informed, prepared and PREDICTABLE references. I recall a candidate interaction a long time ago where the recruiter asked a reference “Would you hire so and so again?”. Simple stuff, nothing major, should be a straight forward response and it was just that….”I wouldn’t hire that guy to stock shelves”. End of interview, no hire, thanks for playing. If your references say they wouldn’t hire you again, it’s pretty bad but when they go out of their way to torpedo your application it’s apocalyptic.Without further adieu, a few quick tips on how to give the best professional references:1) Give people who you know, trust and who will absolutely, positively say nice things about you – I know, right, who WOULDN’T do that? You’d be surprised. I’m not even going to talk about this anymore, do your homework, call your references so when they talk to potential a employer they don’t throw you under the bus.2) Give a former manager – Again, I know, not rocket science. I’m always happy to hear how great a guy someone is, or how they play a mean guitar or how they can finish Halo without dying……….but, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I want to talk to someone who can tell me what kind of an employee you’ll be once you are hired. Former managers are critical to making sure any potential employer can get the info they need to hire you without reservation. If you don’t have a former manager who’ll say nice things, try someone else in a leadership role. You need someone besides your lunch buddies to say nice things about you, especially in a competitive job market like we have now.3) Make sure your references are available and expecting the call – This one drives recruiters crazy. Nothing more frustrating than leaving voice mail after voice mail for a reference only to follow up with an email that bounces back “On vacation until September 2013″. Good times! It’s common courtesy for everyone involved and will help also make sure our references say nice things about you.4) Have a few people recommend you on LinkedIn – Simple stuff, and frankly it doesn’t matter if this is a former manager or not. With the rise of social networking, more and more companies are searching the web for potential hires. No better way to reinforce that you are a quality hire than to have a well groomed LinkedIn profile that has several people singing your praises.5) Keep in touch with your references to make sure you have a big stable of people to use -This is the final tip, and probably the most important. You want to keep in touch with people who can serve as great professional references. Seriously, think about it. How many former managers can you give that would say nice things about you? The more you have, the better off you’ll be long term. You don’t need to talk to them every day, week or even every month however, you should be just touching base once every quarter or two, JUST in case you need them or, get this…..maybe they need you. That’s right, your former boss may be looking for a job and need a “former direct report” to say nice things…next think you know you guys are colleagues again. So, trust me on this one, figure out who will give you a stellar reference and then maintain and build on that relationship.That’s it, nothing crazy, nothing complicated. Follow these simple tips and I can guarantee you’ll have much more success converting those interviews into offers.