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What to Do If You Can’t Get a Candidate’s Employment Verification

what to do if you can't get a candidate's employment verification

Hiring enough drivers to keep up with demand isn’t easy. It feels impossible most days. That’s why it’s all the more frustrating when you’re ready to pull the pin on a potential new hire, but their previous employment verification hasn’t come in yet.

Should you wait for the Previous Employment Verification? If so, how long?

We can’t make these decisions for you, but we can provide you with the pros and cons of each.

Important Information on Employment Verifications

PEV stands for Previous Employment Verification. 

As the FMCSA lays out, employers must investigate, document, and retain all drivers’ previous employment safety performance history for the three years immediately prior to hiring someone.

A PEV record can consist of:

  • Interviews (in person or over the phone)
  • Letters
  • Any other investigation method you use

Free Download: DQ File Checklist >>>

Whatever information you get, you need to document your process for obtaining it and keep the related files your Driver Qualification Files. You have up to 30-days to complete the PEV after hiring someone.

If you don’t receive the required documents, you need to record your “good faith” attempts. The FMCSA doesn’t detail what this means, but you should record any and all attempts and save any proof, such as emails and copies of letters.

If you want to know more about what a PEV is, how to obtain it, and what to document, check out this article from Cornell Law School.

Then, check out A-Suite Comply. We have a PEV Management Tool that makes sending requests and documenting the process easy.

Why Is PEV Important?

When you hire a driver, you could be hiring your next accident.

Accidents cost you money and lots of it. The lost time, workers’ comp, fines, and court dates add up to tens of thousands of dollars on a good day. In some cases, they can cost you millions.

You need to do everything possible to ensure the people driving for you are safe, professional drivers. Just having a clean record isn’t enough. It’s a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole picture. An unsafe driver can get away with it for years and then have an accident driving your cargo.

There are several ways to ensure you hire safe drivers:

PEV is an important part of that third aspect.

How Do You Get Someone’s PEV?

To receive someone’s PEV, you need to send an employment verification letter.

You send this letter to several entities:

  • The state agencies where that driver held or holds a CDL within the last 3-years 
  • The DOT (for purposes of investigating the driver’s safety performance)
  • All previous employers from the last three years

The FMCSA has a form you should use to request this information.

Should You Let Pending PEVs Hold Up The Hiring Process?

I’m sure you’ve been in this scenario: 

You’re hurting for more drivers. You have just as many coming in as are going out. So, you have the perfect candidate lined up and he’s ready to go. But then you can’t track down all the necessary info for PEV. The government says you’re good to go because you tried, but you don’t have all the information you’d like on this driver.

You’re trying to balance the scales between two important factors:

  • Hiring enough drivers
  • Only hiring safe drivers

Failure in either category can put you out of business. If you don’t have enough drivers, you won’t get paid. If you hire unsafe drivers, you’re asking for a nuclear verdict that knocks you out

You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The solution is to weigh the pros and cons of each, make the best decision for your company, consistently implement it, and see your results.

Pros And Cons of Waiting

In the above scenario, let’s say you wait. Some call it overly cautious, but others would call it prudent.

You’d breathe a sigh of relief if the PEV comes back with tons of red flags. Bullet dodged; thank you, next; crisis averted.

Of course, the downside is that the driver could move on. That candidate applied to five other trucking companies that are trying to close the same deal as you. The first one to say yes wins. So, waiting could mean you lose out on a good driver.

While they stop picking up the phone when recruiters call, you’d think to yourself: why didn’t we move faster?

Pros And Cons of Not Waiting

Once you’ve done your due diligence, legally speaking, you’re good to go. As long as you document your good-faith effort to get the necessary documentation, you’re free to hire the person.

If you move quickly, the benefits are you can beat your competition to the punch. You hire enough drivers to meet your customers’ demand and don’t lose out on business.

Of course, this is somewhat of a gamble. Chances are you’re hiring someone who’s safe and cares about accidents. However, you could be hiring someone who’s an accident waiting to happen.

You wouldn’t be happy if you hired that person and they caused a major collision. That’s money and business you lose out on, and worse yet, people get hurt.

As you fire that driver and burn money, you’d think to yourself: why didn’t I wait for the PEV?

What’s The Best Option?

It’s a difficult decision to make, and we can’t make it for you. You need to weigh the risk versus reward. As we said, make a decision, consistently implement it, and see what results you get.

Meanwhile, you need to make sure you’re set up for success.

Are you:

There’s a lot more to preventing accidents and lawsuits than just following the letter of the law. Invest in your company’s safety and compliance and you’ll reap massive rewards.

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