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Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

Background Investigation Information

My last job at Sears Holding the department stores offers electronic employment

applications and background checks. There are four sections in this application devoted to

background investigation. The first section requires standard information: name, address,

preferred name, telephone number and age. The other three sections require specific information

about incidents the applicant may have been involved in that were illegal. Section two inquires

about felonies and misdemeanors (DUI/DWI), guilty pleas or pleas of no contest to a felony or

misdemeanor, or convictions in a military court martial? The applicant is then asked to select

either yes or no ( 2010).

A note is included stated that answering yes is not automatic disqualification from

employment since the nature of the offense and the type of job for which you are applying will

be considered. The information given will be fully verified and if the applicant selects “yes” a

full explanation of the circumstances must be disclosed. There is a section left open for the

incident to be described with names, dates, charges and any jail time that was served. The third

section inquires about current investigations or pending criminal charges including deferred

adjudication that the applicant may face now or in the future. The applicant will select either yes

or no. Section four is a note that is similar to the note in section two. A yes doesn’t mean

automatic disqualification from employment since the nature of the offense and the type of job

for which you are applying will be considered. The information will be verified and if the

answer is “yes” a full description of the circumstances is required. This would include names,
RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

dates and charges. The applicant may not be aware of the amount of jail time required if jail

time is required. This is a very strong section in the application that will yield the information

needed concerning the applicant’s background status. The application did not require the

applicant’s social security number which can be considered a weakness in the background

section ( 2010).

When doing a background check based solely on the questions required above the

employer faces the problem of wrong identity. Wrong identity means there are two possibly

three people alive who have the same name as the person who is applying for the job. The actual

applicant may not have any criminal activities on his/her record; however, the person with the

duplicate name may have committed a felony. The actual applicant marked no and the employer

sees the criminal record and then the actual applicant may not be considered for the job because

the employee now has a doubt of the actual applicant’s honesty. The bad part is the actual

applicant may never know the reason he/she was not hired. The employer could simply say we

are searching for other applicants and you don’t fit at this time.

Application Waivers

After reviewing the application there are no clear cut waivers present, however, there are

considerations for different events. For instance we’ve already examined the notes of

consideration in the background section. There is one more note present located in the

availability to work section. The note states that saying no to overtime, holidays and weekends

will not automatically disqualify you from employment because the job type will be considered

and if you answer “no” give a detailed reasons why. You might say that the employer is waiving
RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

their rights to automatically disqualify the applicant based on his/her answer but will take the job

and the explanation into consideration ( 2010).

Application Uniformity/Application Revision

The first page of each application is uniform, however, according to the type of job the

next pages contain questions that are more focused on the job selected. The employer may craft

the applications this way in order to all the general information first and then zero in on the

actual job requirements and qualifications in order to determine if the applicant is the right fit for

the job. The only required revision would be to make the application include a section for the

social security number. The section would be a security box that only displays xs or dots. To

completely protect the identity of the applicant all numbers will be masked. When the

application is viewed by HR personnel then the social security number will be revealed. It must

be noted that upon consideration for the position based on the current information given by the

applicant, the HR personnel may require the social security number at a later time. From simply

reviewing the application this information can only be speculated.

Checks Conducted: Drug Testing/Commercial Vehicle Safety

Alliance (CVSA)

Requires information about the applicant’s felonies, misdemeanors, DUIs, DWIs,

military court martial and any pleas of guilt or no contest. They are also searching for any

current or future investigations and pending charges against the applicant. The applicants are

required to have a drug test before they are allowed to work for any Sears. Anyone who fails the

test is either disqualified from being hired or if they are current employees then they will face
RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

termination. This company requires that all its employee’s work with a level of excellence.

Substance abuse and any types of drug induced impairments will not be tolerated. There is no

mention of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) on the application

( 2010).

Credit Checks/Background Check Interviews

Sears don’t required credit report, But background checks can require the interviewing of

previous and current neighbors depending on the type of company and type of job the applicant

is applying to. For instance any job that requires high levels of security clearance or national

security issues would require this type of background check. References are contacted and

reviewed in the background check process. The only thing that would vary from application to

application is the type and number of references required. Some applications accept both

professional and personal references, some only accept professional references and other will

take both types of references but the personal references cannot come from a family member or

someone who lives with you.

Adequate Background Check/Recommendations

The background procedure in place for Sears store department or affiliates. There are

three distinct changes required for the application process. First, a section would be included for

the social security number of the applicants. These numbers would be collected in security

boxes that mask the information with either Xs or dots. The HR personnel will be the only

authorized individuals with access to this information. Second, employee multilevel drug tests

can expose the presence of drugs, alcohol or both in the systems of both new hires and current
RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

employees. There are three keys to a drug test: the type of test performed the type of elements to

be tested and the time frame for the drug testing.

Urine, saliva and hair are the most commonly tested biological elements to determine the

presence of drugs or alcohol in new hires or current employees. Urine tests are the least

expensive types of tests costing $3 per testing unit. If the applicant has used drugs in the past

week then this test was reveal those results. If the applicant has used drugs for longer periods of

time then they will show up in the test as well. The testing units for urine can be: dips, cassettes

or cups. The dip requires strips to be dipped into the urine samples. Cassettes require pipettes to

extract the urine sample and place it on a testing tray. The last one is the most common urine

samples in cups. A chemical is added to the urine sample in the cup and based on the color

change the employee will either get hired, get fired or maintain his/her current employment

( 2010). These are the only tests that don’t require lab work. The test results can be

obtained on-sight within minutes of the testing procedure. The next test is the saliva test.

These tests cost $14 per unit. This test can detect drug use in a few days and sometimes

within 24 hours. This test will detect the presence of Methamphetamines, Opiates and THC.

The saliva drug tests are oral tests. The applicants are required to perform these tests themselves

under the watchful observation of the HR representative or other HR personnel. The tests are

sent to the lab for results. Alcohol can also be tested through the saliva of an applicant by using

an alcohol screen or a breath test. Of the three methods testing hair is the most expensive at $58

and up. Hair tests can detect traces of substance abuse over a period of more than 90 days.

These tests can also reveal when the drug use occurred. These tests look for Cannabis,

Barbiturates, Methamphetamines, etc. Depending on the budget of the company at least two of
RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

the three drug testing methods will be implemented. The present choice would be the urine test

and the saliva test ( 2010).

Third implement employment testing which determines if the applicant is the right fit for

both the company and the job. There are nine options and after this brief examination at least

three of the nine options will be used to improve the Gaylord Opryland Hotel application

process. First, assessment centers can be used to determine interpersonal skills, communication

skills, analytical skills and planning/organizing. Positive: reduces business costs. Negative:

requires more labor to implement. Second, biographical data is used to gather information about

leadership, specific job knowledge, creativity, etc. Positive: cost effective to the administrator.

Negative: significant information for developmental feedback not always available. Third,

cognitive ability tests use problems to determine the speed at which an employee can learn and

reason. Positive: cannot be influenced by the test taker. Negative: time consuming to develop

and purchase ( 2009).

Fourth, integrity tests measure the applicant’s attitude related to honesty, dependability,

trustworthiness, etc. Positive: emphasize integrity is important. Negative: cause individuals to

mask true answer in order to get hired. Fifth, interviews which allows the HR staff to see and

speak with the applicant in person. Positive: provide a measure of skills such as communication.

Negative: can be costly to train interviewers. Sixth, job knowledge tests which can be multiple

choice or essay used to determine technical or professional expertise. Positive: provides

feedback on the training test takers require. Negative: can be costly and time consuming.

Seventh, personality tests reveal levels of tolerance, optimism, extraversion, etc. Positive: no

skilled administrators required. Negative: may cause problems in employee selection (

RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

Eighth, physical abilities tests focus on strength and balance. Positives: identifies applicants

physically unable to do the work. Negative: differ in results. Ninth, work samples and

simulations focus on how the applicant behaves during simulations of actual work situations.

Positives: can provide test takers with a realistic preview of the job and the organization. There

are no negatives to this method. The three best possible employment tests are: interviews, work

samples/simulations and cognitive tests ( 2009).

RUNNING HEADER: Employment Application and Background-Check Critique

References (2010). My Profile. Retrieved Nov 15, 2010, from (2009). Types of Employment Tests. Retrieved Nov 15, 2010, from (2010). Types of Drug Tests. Retrieved Nov 15, 2010, from