Pre-Employment Background Checks are Good Business

Aug 6, 2018 | Human Resources

Conducting pre-employment background checks is good business.  Increasingly it is becoming harder to scrutinize candidates through resumes and interviews only.  Making a bad hire comes at the expense of time, morale and, especially in the case of negligent hiring claims, your bank account.

Types of Background Checks

The type of job and the job duties will dictate the appropriate background check of your conduct.  Not all screenings are suited for all job types.  Consider the reason for screening.  Make sure you are requesting data that is relevant to the job, and if not, don’t inquire.

For example, if the job does not require driving a vehicle for company business, a motor vehicle check is not necessary.

Background checks may include:

  • Social security number trace
  • Employment verification
  • Education verification
  • Criminal background
  • National sex offender
  • Motor vehicle
  • Credit check
  • Drug screen

Know the Rules

Background checks come with their own sets of rules.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to comply with certain regulations.  Although the title denotes “credit,” the Act covers other reports including background checks.

Employers must get written permission from applicants to conduct a background check. The notice must tell the candidate it might use the information it finds in its employment decision.

Additionally, if the employer chooses not to hire someone because of information found in a background check, it must send the candidate a notice that includes a copy of the report used to make the decision, plus a copy of A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Ensure non-discrimination and EEOC compliance.  The EEOC has increased discrimination claims against employers whose screening policies disproportionately affect a protected group.

Do not adopt a blanket policy regarding criminal history.  Specifically, the EEOC recommends that employers consider the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the amount of time passed since the offense, conduct or completion of sentence; and the nature of the job held or sought.

Ban-the-Box laws are quickly expanding. So far, 150 cities and counties across the nation have enacted these laws. Likewise, 30 states have adopted statewide laws or policies regarding criminal history inquiries.

What does Ban-the-Box mean?  The “box” refers to the question on job applications that asks applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime.

Ban-the-box laws require employers to remove this question, as well as other queries about criminal history, from job applications.  Certain legislation may also place other restrictions and other requirements on employers.

Select a Reputable Background Check Company

Use a reputable firm and ensure they’re in good standing with associations like the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and/or certified FCRA compliant.

Full-service background check companies typically don’t rely solely on information found online. They visit courthouses and contact past employers and educational institutions.

The Bottom Line

Conducting background checks on candidates for employment is the prudent thing to do.  And, in some industries such as healthcare it is required.

Background checks won’t tell you everything you need to know about a candidate. But, by using relevant data you may identify issues that are not suitable for the position or your company.

Use background checks wisely and you increase your chance of hiring the right person for the job.

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