The Work Number, also commonly known as Talx (owned by Equifax), has made an unprecedented power play and background screeners are not happy.  Talx has a stronghold on all CRA’s and over the years has used this to raise pricing and force contract terms that quite frankly hurt screeners and their clients. 

Over the past few weeks and months Talx has made some significant changes to how their data can be accessed.  Historically we were able to look up and verify employment by searching employer codes that match our applicants.  We paid a fee and were given access to that verified information for a substantial price.  This fee is passed on to our clients, but over the years that price has steadily climbed.  Today they only allow access using two methods.  The screener can search for the current employer only for one fee or the screener can search all previous employers in their system for a significantly higher fee.  This presents some noteworthy issues for screeners and their clients.  First, current employers are rarely  ordered due to our clients requesting they not be contacted.  Secondly, to search all employers gives us data we don’t want, and in most cases don’t need.  I am setting aside the possible compliance issues this presents, we can save that discussion for another time.

Who gets hurt by this?  Everyone, but mostly our clients.  Most screeners have different pricing arrangements with Talx, but being forced to use the “all employers option” the price increase to them will be sizeable.  This, along with last month’s NY OCA price increase, could cause significant pricing inflation for most employers. 

While the ship has sailed on NY OCA, I think it’s important for background screeners to band together and say enough is enough to Talx!  We must be somewhat measured in our disdain for this but until we rise-up we will continue to be taken advantage of.  Let this blog be the starting point for the discussion!  I’ve now heard complaints from multiple CRA’s about this issue and I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me privately, but to really get the conversation going I’d love to see your comments here or on LinkedIn. 



P.S. –  Yes, I have been waiting years to write a blog about background screeners and Game of Thrones