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Firm Says Employee Background Checks More Important Than Ever

Mountain States Employers Council, Inc. (MSEC) announced on Wednesday that if anyone is catching the recent news, they will see that the importance of organizations conducting background checks on employees has grown.

MSEC, founded in 1939, is a Colorado-based employers association with 10 researchers who are dedicated to conducting pre-employment screening on behalf of employers. The firm expects to conduct over10,000 background checks this year. The firm also projects that nearly 30% of those checked will receive a "hit" with some sort of criminal violation or citation. Criminal history, motor vehicle records, employment verification, and drug testing all come under the firm's capability.

"It is critical for employers to understand who they are hiring. We help employers prevent major problems down the road, as those who don't do checks can discover they're not really sure who they hired. A simple background check can avoid this...there are different levels of background checks, some not as reliable or thorough. And considering that 25% of all applications include at least one major fabrication, screening becomes critical in making everyday hiring decisions," says Lorrie Ray, director of Outsourced Consulting Services at MSEC.

Time was that only a few select positions, such as working for the CIA, required background checks. However, many more employers are beginning to tighten up background checks and verifications in the wake of the illegal immigrant debacle that has so many American citizens infuriated. Concerns about hiring potential terrorists after the events of September 11th, 2001 have also contributed to the sharp rise in employee background checks.

Background checks have become deeper in recent times, with some employers screening the credit histories of employee hopefuls to try to get a better grasp of their character.

Critics of the scope of modern background checks say that the recent trend of employers doing credit checks on potential employees is simply going too far and has nothing to do with whether or not one would make a good employee. In fact, they point out that if somebody has bad credit, they probably need a job urgently and are therefore more likely to perform conscientiously to keep their job secured.

However, owners of companies and human resources managers point out that if a potential hire is in dire straits financially, she might not be able to be trusted with handling company funds.

Critics of the increased use of background checks in general say problems include the potential for an individual's errors and past mistakes haunting her for far too long.

Additionally, they point out that there are societal concerns about lack of privacy, handing over character judgment to a computer database, and the potential to rely too much on a person's past behavior when people are always changing.

Some studies have demonstrated that 95% of young people would lie to get a job that they feel they are qualified for but for which they don't have the (also highly criticized) minimum years of work experience to get.

The critics also point out that there have been incidences reported where an individual was obviously talented enough to get a job, did the job extremely well, but was later fired because a background check revealed that he had lied about his work experience on his resume.

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