The Real Cost of Online Background Checks

This past spring, LinkedIn defended itself in a lawsuit brought by six plaintiffs who claimed that they lost jobs because employers used the site to check their references.

What happened was this: Tracee Sweet, one of the plaintiffs, said she had applied for a job through LinkedIn and was hired after a phone interview. Then the offer was withdrawn after the employer checked Sweet’s references using LinkedIn’s Reference Searches function. Sweet and the other plaintiffs claimed that this was a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

LinkedIn won because the court said that FCRA didn’t apply to social media sites, only to consumer reporting agencies. So the case was dismissed.

That may sound like a victory for LinkedIn, but was it really? LinkedIn still had to pay their lawyers and other costs associated with the case, as well as losing the time of employees who had to be involved in legal wranglings instead of doing their regular work. Court cases are expensive even for winners. And what about the company who relied on LinkedIn for information?

There’s no substitute for professional due diligence.

Of course it’s easy and fast to do internet searches, and lots of companies use that method. But the smart employers only use that as a bare-minimum starting point. Employers who rely wholly or in part on internet searches to do

background checks— or who rely on companies who do essentially the same thing — are courting potential trouble.

With the tight job market, potential hires are doing everything possible to give them an edge over other job seekers, and that includes flat-out lying. 37% of applicants admit to giving false information. 16% are hiding criminal histories. And now “diploma mills” are providing fake credentials in record numbers.

Real due diligence is vastly different from just a “data provider.” After all, LinkedIn was providing data. But a company like TruDiligence, a company that’s FCRA Certified, offers data you can trust.

Contact us and let us demonstrate the difference between just data and real diligence.

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