Why a Date of Birth Means More Than a Birthday
Posted Friday, December 28th, 2012 by Sterling Talent Solutions
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Over two years ago we blogged about the case of an employee involved in workplace violence at The Ohio State University. The OSU employee shot and killed one person and wounded another resulting in a flurry of questions about why the background check did not reveal that this man had a criminal record. It turned out that the employee had intentionally given an incorrect date of birth so that his past record would not be discovered. The moral of the story was that date of birth is vitally important when it comes to a background check and without it, mistakes like this can occur even if a background screening company does everything right. Without the correct date of birth, the background screening company that performed his background check was unable to find his criminal record.
In the beginning of the year, EmployeeScreenIQ released an article, “Applicants Do the Darndest Things”, that addressed the same topic. Not only did we talk about why a date of birth is so important to the background screening process, but we shed light on other maneuvers applicants make to deceive their potential employer. Of course, as an employer you would hope that an incorrect date of birth (if discovered) was an innocent mistake. However, while you want to believe the best, don’t think that there aren’t job candidates who are trying to hide something. A few other ways job applicants might be trying to deceive you:
- Providing a false Social Security Number to hide past indiscretions
- Omitting a past employer
- Stating they worked for an employer that doesn’t exist
- Providing a fake diploma or degree
- Waiting several days to take a drug test
- Creating multiple social media profiles to hide their true one
This is just a brief overview of things to look out for within the recruiting process. For more information, you can download our whitepaper, Applicants Do the Darndest Things. You can also read our original post below.
Many employers wonder why they need to provide an applicant’s date of birth in order to perform thorough employment background checks. This story below might convince them of the importance of not only providing the date of birth, but also why it is vitally important to verify the given birth date.
By now, many of you have seen the story about the workplace violence incident that took place at The Ohio State University last week which resulted in the death of one employee and a serious wound to another by shooting. The first thing everyone asked, and rightfully so: did the university conduct a background check before hiring this employee? The answer was yes and the background check didn’t reveal the employee’s past conviction where he spent 5 years in prison for receiving stolen property. The university says that had it known of the record, they never would have hired the individual.
Of course, the media jumped all of the company that performed the background check. But before you automatically assume that the screening provider botched the check, here’s an important fact to consider and an equally important lesson for employers. It turns out that the employee provided the school with a fraudulent date of birth.
Why is that a problem?
Nearly all courts file criminal records by name and date of birth (some include more information). In order to conduct a criminal background check, court researchers must search by both the name and date of birth. If the date of birth is incorrect, the record will not be found. Originally, both the school and the media seemed to be squarely blaming the background screening company. However, it appears that the record was missed because Ohio State ran the check using the wrong date of birth.
So here is the lesson. Employers must verify an applicant’s date of birth before performing the background check. All you have to do is look at a driver’s license or other government issued ID. Failing to do so allows the applicant to provide you with fake information which will ultimately derail your efforts to perform thorough employment background checks. Verifying the date of birth also helps to avoid innocent mistakes or clerical errors. Now, I’m sure my alma mater had the best intentions in mind. In truth, my guess is that many organizations forget or neglect to do this. Unfortunately, the results can be deadly.
For more information on what employers can do to combat workplace violence, please download our recent whitepaper, Protecting Your Employees from Workplace Violence.