Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

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Past Employment Verification: Safeguarding Critical Industries from Terrorists

Posted by Writing PIs on February 17, 2011

One of our favorite books on employment background checks is The Safe Hiring Manual by Lester S. Rosen. In it, he asserts that a past employment check on any of the 9/11 terrorists, if they’d applied for work in the past 5-10 years in a critical industry, would have raised red flags.

The thinking is, most past employment verifications go back 5 to 10 years in a person’s employment history. Setting up a bogus 5 to 10 year history isn’t impossible, but it would require considerable effort. A professional screener, or background check expert, would most likely catch any unusual or “misfitting” information in a fabricated past employment history, no matter how much effort had been put into it.

How would this be done?  Below are a few ways of verifying past employment histories:

Does the past job history match the applicant’s SSN Trace? An SSN, or Social Security Number, shows addresses, names, and other information associated to that person’s SSN. A professional screener would check that the history of information revealed in the SSN Trace correlates to the applicant’s employment history.

Ensure past job references are legitimate. Let’s say a terrorist sets up an elaborate self-employment history with “legitimate” information associated to this business, including accomplices posing as references. A background screener, when calling such references, needs to use common sense, and be attuned to conversations that do not sound businesslike, or information that is blatantly incorrect.

Contact former customers. Along the lines of an elaborate self-employment scheme, where an individual meticulously creates a bogus past history for a one-person company: Besides researching verification of this business, a screener should look for other customers of this business and interview them.

Have a great weekend, Writing PIs

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