… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

You want me to pay for what?

Okay, let me first just say that I am not a big fan of reference checks. In general, I don’t feel they provide any useful information as 98% of them are overwhelmingly positive. Employment verification of dates and titles I can understand, but I still question how necessary it is. Maybe I just haven’t worked in HR long enough to have come across people who have lied about past employment.

That being said, have you heard of The Work Number? So here I am, trying to verify employment on a candidate, and one of her past employers automated phone system directs me to The Work Number. Is it just me or is responding to requests for employment verification an odd thing to outsource? But I digress. After registering with the company, something I was not happy about doing, I was told to log onto their website in order to verify the candidate’s employment. As I was entering her information, I was given an option to pick what type of verification I wanted and the cost associated with it.

Yes, I said the cost. They charge around $13 to verify employment dates. What exactly am I paying them for? I already took the time to contact the past company, that company already gave them access to their records, and all they have to do now is look up the dates in their database. Presumably, the other company already paid this vendor so what am I paying them for? Am I the only one who is having a negative reaction to that, while at the same time a little amazed at their resourcefulness for making money? I don’t know about you, but for an entry level customer service job, I am not about to spend money on this. Background check and drug screen? Definitely worth the money. But employment dates?

What I want to know is if anyone out there uses this service, or one similar, and why? Would anyone be willing to pay to verify a candidate’s past employment? Would you ever consider signing your company up for this service?

2 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 HR Wench :

    I understand why companies outsource administrivia such as employment verifications. It saves HR time to focus on things that matter instead of pushing paper. However, unless you do a lot of hiring (and your hires typically come from larger companies) places like The Work Number are really annoying. They hit small and even some mid-sized companies where it hurts: the recruiting budget.

    When I worked for smaller companies w/ tight budgets I focused on employment references instead of verifications. I make it the candidate’s job to give me three solid references that can attest to their prior performance. If they can’t get them for me, it doesn’t look so good versus the other candidate that CAN. Why? Having good references requires building and maintaining relationships (I can tell if they are just your buddy, yo!). If you can do it, 98% of the time you’re a better hire than the guy who can’t or doesn’t place any importance on it.

  • 2 Bill :

    Wow. I think that this is a GREAT idea. I wish I had thought of it.

    I am likely going to explore it soon for my place. Why should I absorb the cost of taking those reference calls if this group will do it. I assume that I pay nothing – they get the data and then license other companies access to it for reference purposes – it’s genius.

    BTW – love the Wench’s take on maintaining a portfolio of relationships – smart advice. Thanks.