Although performing an employee background check can be a costly and time-intensive process, consider the consequences of hiring someone without taking the precaution and later learning you made a bad decision that permanently tarnished your company’s reputation. There are numerous things you can do to ensure a background check offers trustworthy information and doesn’t create new obstacles as you prepare to hire someone.
Do a Very Thorough Check
Although performing a very detailed background check may require you to have a greater amount of flexibility, it also could help you spot potentially troublesome factors. Some of the things a good background check should look at include education level, employment history, criminal instances and traffic violations.
Most states have laws that permit employers to use the presence of criminal records to influence hiring decisions. However, an employer must also prove there was a “business necessity” for coming to a certain conclusion regarding whether to hire a person with a criminal record. Furthermore, federal laws prohibit employers from making decisions about applicants with similar criminal backgrounds based on factors such as race, gender or ethnicity.
Stay Informed About How to Perform Background Checks Correctly
Besides staying aware of relevant federal laws that define how to legally conduct background checks, there may be local and state legislations and procedures related to giving background checks in specific ways for certain occupations. If you do not have current information on the associated laws, reach out to an employment rights attorney or your local labor board for guidance. Admitting you need help is a much safer course of action than just assuming you’re right and potentially encountering legal issues.
Be Consistent When Examining People Who Are Applying for the Same Position
Different job titles may require varying levels of background checks and input from several agencies. For example, if an open position would give a new hire access to confidential information such as Social Security Numbers, he or she may be required to get security clearance from an organization such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Social Security Administration.
However, when performing pre-employment background checks on people who are competing for the same position, it’s crucial to perform the process in a uniform way. Otherwise, your company may be at risk for a discrimination lawsuit.
Maintain Open Communications Before, During and After the Background Checks
Keeping an open line of communication between yourself and applicants in relation to background checks is a must. For example, if you will be looking at an applicant’s credit history during the background check or relying on an outside organization to conduct the background check, the applicant must give his or her consent before you proceed. Be upfront about the kinds of information you’ll gather during the check, too. When people give consent about background checks, it should be offered via a signed document, which is stored securely.
Also, if the background check is taking longer than expected to complete, let the applicant know there is a delay. Otherwise, the individual might unnecessarily worry there’s something he or she needs to personally do to keep the process going.
Finally, if a background check uncovers something worrisome, it’s better to have a face-to-face conversation with the applicant about what was found rather than making hasty assumptions. There’s always a chance an error was made or that further information from the applicant would give you a clearer perspective about a red-flag item.
In closing, keep in mind many people think background checks are just designed to shed light on problematic characteristics. However, they can also reveal positive attributes that may help you choose between two applicants with very similar qualifications. When you take care to perform employee background checks in standardized ways that help you obtain pertinent information, you should be able to hire people more confidently.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.