Houston, we have a problem— and we’ve all known about it for several years. Third-party employment verification fees seem to have finally jumped the shark with our clients and we’ve all sat back and watched it. Trust me, I’m part of the problem. When I ran my CRA (Consumer Reporting Agency), we just kept passing the fees along thinking end-users would continue buying, no matter what. Well, it appears that time has ended.
Bruce Berg from Berg Consulting summarized in his post-conference recap what we heard from most of you at PBSA last week saying, “We see more CRAs with their clients giving up on or are restricting the use of employment verifications because of the fees associated with The Work Number and similar services. The end-users are concluding that the high fee is just not worth the information. One large end-user has instructed the CRA to make one call to the past employer and if they get the history, then fine, if not the CRA is not to spend money if there is a fee to get the data.”
And here’s the big problem affecting all of us, CRAs and data providers alike. If employers have decided that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze on employment verifications, this could have far-ranging effects on the background screening industry. Once you get used to not doing something, you generally don’t go back to it. So, are we all watching the demise of employment verifications as we know them? Or is this service important enough for us to do something about it?
Many of us have talked about fixing this broken process— is it consortiums where previously verified work history can be shared, self-sovereign block-chain, consumer-permissioned access directly to payroll systems? There still isn’t a silver bullet here, but the answer is yes, yes and yes.
The question is what are we going to do about it? At InformData, we want to be part of the solution, but we need to understand how critical this issue is for CRAs and recognize that we can’t do this alone. We need to address this problem collectively because if we don’t, employment verifications will be one less product CRAs have to offer to end-users. And like any innovative industry, we should be working together to identify a way for us all to win by addressing our customer’s every need, not just cherry-picking the ones that are easy to solve.
So, let’s start here. I’d like to ask you to take 5 minutes out of your day to take our survey on your recent experiences with and insights about third-party employment verifications. We will not use this data to for sales purposes, but rather as an indicator that there is a problem, and to understand if it is worth solving. We will share anonymized results with anyone that takes the survey and provides their contact information.