March 27, 2011

A Free Government Program That Will Improve Your Hiring Practices

By Paul Bieber

‘Free’, ‘Government’, and ‘Improve’ are never used in the same sentence. Until now. Yep. If you are not using E-Verify as part of your employee hiring process, you are missing out on a great tool to help ensure you get a legal work force, who plan to be with you for the long run.

What is it? It is a program from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that verifies the legal working status of employees in just a few seconds.

Why will this help you?

  • Hiring a person with a legal working status means no worrying of someone leaving with no notice and under unusual circumstances.
  • Makes sure that all members of your work force will benefit from being a part of the Social Security program.
  • Helps you make sure the person you have hired is actually who they say they are.
  • Illegal workers job-hop at five times the rate of legal workers.
  • Prevents possible legal action against you and your firm for not properly checking I-9 forms and backgrounds.

This is not a question on how you feel about immigration, legal or otherwise. Having properly documented workers will give you a more reliable workforce. This allows you to train and teach employees to a greater extent, knowing they can be with you for the long-haul. If you do federal government contract work, and in some states, you are required to verify all employees as well.

I read about this in a magazine and decided to try it. I went to: to see the site. It was easy to navigate and was not written by a bureaucrat.

I decided to register my consulting company and the whole process took about a half-hour, including a well laid-out tutorial program. I have one full-time hourly employee, and in entering her information, I instantly received a confirmation that she is authorized to work in the US. Now, I know she is legal, as this is my wife, but nonetheless, the process was fast, easy, and came back to me in a flash with her passport picture, allowing me to verify who she is.

No costs, no credit card numbers and a perfect correct response. I also went to some of the ‘paid’ sites on the Internet who offer the same services. Don’t confuse these with the free site from DHS. You should not be paying for this service under any circumstances.

It is illegal to prescreen candidates. You should only enter the candidates info after they begin employment and fill out the I-9 form. You can not be held liable if you release an employee that does not get verified. But you can work with a new hire to either correct information in the database or get the proper credentials.

This is a tool to help you hire people that can grow and stay with you. Use it to improve your hiring and you and your whole company comes out ahead.