Contract security officers are the most popular outsourcing service. What is happening lately is the effectiveness of employment screening.

Contract security officers, burglar alarm monitoring, investigative services, due diligence all are outsourced security services. There are emerging services such as third party access control and security monitoring services.

All are increasing in interest to chief security officers. But there still are concerns about the effectiveness of such efforts.

A Cato Institute study reports that electronic employment verification is ineffective, intrusive  and expensive.

E-Verify, the program promoted by the Bush administration to reduce illegal immigration, would be ineffective, invasive and costly, finds a study by the Cato Institute.


“A full-fledged Electronic Employment Verification (EEV) system has many practical and technical problems -- to say nothing of the question of whether it is appropriate for a free country -- and would still fail to prevent illegal immigration,” says Jim Harper, Cato’s director of Information Policy Studies and author of “Electronic Employment Verification: Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration.”

To be done effectively, EEV would require an expensive national ID system which would greatly impinge upon the privacy of American citizens. “The things necessary to make a system like this really impervious to forgery and fraud would convert it from an identity system into a cradle-to-grave biometric tracking system,” writes the author. This would increase the value of committing identity fraud, and the amount and type of information stored in the databases would expose Americans to grave security risks.

EEV would make applying for jobs a hassle for all American citizens and it would effectively deny some law-abiding individuals the ability to work. A study by the SSA Inspector General revealed an error rate of 4.1 percent in the data used to administer the Basic Pilot program, now renamed E-Verify. At that rate, 1 in every 25 new legitimate hires would receive a “tentative nonconfirmation,” requiring the individual to go through a burdensome process to seek permission to work from the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The cost of such a program, including the preliminary national ID system, is estimated to be $17 billion, $11 billion of which would fall directly on state governments. The remaining $6 billion would be shouldered by American citizens as they struggle to prove their right to work in this country.

“’Mission creep’ all but guarantees that the federal government would use an EEV system to extend federal regulatory control over Americans’ lives even further,” writes Harper. In the immigration area alone, proposals have been made to regulate housing in the same way as employment. Healthcare and gun control, among others, are two areas that are especially vulnerable to such mission creep.

As the history of immigration law has proven, “immigrants and employers dedicate their ingenuity to getting what they want and need,” contended Harper. As a result, internal enforcement of immigration law has been a failure for the past 20 years. There is no reason to believe EEV would be any different. Further, the author concludes: “with nationwide electronic employment verification, the United States would move to a regime where the last word on employment decisions would not be with the worker and employer but with bureaucrats in the federal government.”

SIDEBAR: Background Screening

Research shows that more than 85 percent of large companies and institutions and a rapidly growing number of small and mid-sized companies now perform some kind of background screening. The focus of this movement is principally the assurance of a safe, secure workplace for all employees. The statistics showing the popularity of background screening, however, mask what has been, for most companies, a jumble of disparate, time-consuming programs and practices implemented in different offices and departments in different ways with virtually endless possibilities for human error. Often, connection between the hiring professionals and the security department is not tight, and loose controls provide little assurance that the company’s security policies and procedures are enforced in the hiring process. The result is increased exposure, hiring mistakes and additional costs related to manual, error-prone processes.

Fighting that perception, HireRight Enterprise is an on-demand screening management solution used by hiring professionals in companies and institutions to easily and efficiently oversee a legally compliant background and drug screening program that typically includes the screening of applicants and employees company-wide. The industry’s first Web 2.0 application, HireRight Enterprise brings together all screening activities, tasks and tools into a single application – all viewable from a summary dashboard – replacing the need to use manual processes, paper or multiple disparate programs to successfully operate a screening program.