It’s an intense process, and we’re not talking about working with the local building inspector. We’re talking about another type of inspection—the background checks and screening of potential employees, and it’s a subject you must take seriously in order to work on getting the best people at your firm. Here’s our uptake on screening and background checks from experts in the field.
KDJ: What’s new in employment screening processes and credentialing?
Jim Collins, president of HR Plus, a division of AlliedBarton Security Services, Evergreen, Colo.: There are several new products and services available such as: E-Verify, an online system operated by The Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Employers can check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee against SSA and the DHS databases. It is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. Verification software is proving to be a growth sector. One example is software from ImmigrationTracker that offers a comprehensive solution to employment and immigration compliance needs.
Mark S. Fischer, vice president and CTO, New York Merchants Protective Co., Freeport, N.Y.: In addition to background checks that are now easily obtained through a number of reputable online companies, there are also several companies that offer physiological testing and evaluation. These tests are designed to show a person’s core values and belief system, which is a helpful tool in evaluating perspective employees.
Cynthia Johnson, key accounts manager and Courtney Lewis, marketing communications manager, Brijot Imaging Systems, Lake Mary, Fla.: Passive millimeter wave camera technology and whole body screening, which is what we do, is new in the screening process. The goal is to detect concealed objects and threats.
Zsolt Sapy, vice president of Corporate Sales, Pro-Active Business Solutions, Westbury, N.Y.: In addition to physical security, we recommend to our clients that they incorporate a complete screening process into their hiring routine. This will protect them from potential threats, especially if an employee will be working with cash.
KDJ: How does a company determine what level of screening they need? Are there local, state and national codes involved?
Collins: Some industries are regulated and have specific requirements. Most industries, however, rely on established best practices and solutions that meet their particular needs and requirements.
Fischer: In New York there are minimum requirements that include fingerprinting and submittal of a prospective employee to the Department of State. Since our company provides security to numerous government and high profile, high value locations, we have chosen to exceed the minimum requirements. I believe part of our business is delivering peace of mind to our customers. In order to do this we need to be certain as to the integrity of our employees.
Johnson and Lewis: Depending on the type of business the company is involved with and their particular concerns, it is important to look at what is coming and going from the facility. Looking at the security goals of the company, many different types of controls could be put into place.
Sapy: The employment screening process is now extending to every level of employee, not just high-level hires. In fact, many of the smaller to mid-sized companies are at risk to theft as they often do not know who they are hiring. Lower wage workers should be screened as it is very affordable to do.
KDJ: What are some different physical strategies being put into place to help secure personnel, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (smart card system) and others?
Johnson and Lewis: We are seeing companies moving to a more layered security approach, where the technologies compliment each other. Companies are looking to incorporate a full enterprise security platform beginning with perimeter security and moving in to the employee.
Sapy: Surveillance technology is a great psychological deterrent. Combine this with access control and you have a system that will monitor and control who’s coming and going, not to mention deny them from areas they are not authorized to go.
How can a company establish a process for effective screening?
Collins: Reach out to an industry expert. Each company needs to examine and assess their risks. Once the risks are identified, set the screening process up to eliminate the threat as best as possible. One size does not fit all. Each department and level of management needs to be explored to identify and circumvent potential hazards.
Fischer: The first step is to find out what restrictions any local, state, or federal entities may have in place. The company needs to determine what they believe their level of risk is. Next, within the limits of the law, a written procedure can be developed that will provide the level of security deemed necessary. A policy should than be developed and included in the employee manual.
Johnson and Lewis: As all facets of the business are being tied together such as CCTV, access control and passive wave technology, everything works together towards that layered approach. This is where everyone is trying to move, including incorporating the facility’s systems into the mix like HVAC.
Sapy: I highly recommend establishing policies and procedures for employees and those that frequent the establishment/property. In doing so, everyone is aware that the property is under surveillance and what is acceptable and unacceptable. This also allows employers the right to remove those who are not in compliance as well as opportunities to engage in unlawful behavior.
KDJ: What can we expect in the future as far as technologies and software and practices to secure America’s workforce?
Collins: Biometrics is beginning to be used in several industries. Currently, fingerprinting is at the head of the class. Facial, palm, and eye scans are also being perfected and will enhance the quality and turnaround times for employers. As for practices, we will see overwhelming support for annual checks. If it was critically important for candidates to be pristine before they became employees, then it is even more critical that they stay pristine.
Fischer: I expect within the very near future, we will see fingerprints being taken electronically on a routine basis, and the results being returned in minutes rather than the months it now takes. At secure locations facial recognition software is going to become common place as well as the requirements for Bio-IDs.
Sapy: Biometrics will continue to be improved. We are seeing the screening of e-mails to phone conversations. The new behavior technology and ideology is to detect emotion and body heat that could give off clues that there is something wrong.