5 Tips for Employers on Conducting Background Checks

Over the last ten years, several big companies settled litigation relating to background check violations. The legal battles were expensive, reaching more than $325 million. Even retail giants and online behemoths weren’t spared from lawsuits. Former applicants sued them for supposed violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

These cases can be a wake-up call for employers to be more prudent when checking an applicant’s history. Background checks can be tricky, but they’re a crucial part of the hiring process. If done correctly, they can benefit the company due to the following reasons:

Why Do Employers Need to Do Background Checks

●       It strengthens security and safety

Employees with severe criminal records can threaten a company’s safety, security, and integrity. A background check can prevent bad hires from creating a hostile workplace. It can also protect the business’s reputation, employees, and clients.

●       It lowers the employee turnover rate

Hiring employees who aren’t suitable for the job can lead to a higher turnover rate. It’s a waste of company resources and energy. Conducting background checks allows you to hire the best candidates and weed out the ones who aren’t the right fit.

●       It improves the quality of hired employees

Background checks can filter out job seekers who provide fraudulent information. A study shows that 70% of applicants exaggerate credentials on their resumes. Some even lie or omit information.

You’ll be left with candidates who present themselves with integrity. Digging deeper and confirming what’s on a resume can lead you to the right employees. Having the best people for the job can boost your company’s operations and performance.

What Happens During Background Checks

A background check occurs when employers review an applicant’s criminal, employment, financial, and commercial records. However, some employers conduct background checks after hiring an employee. Meanwhile, some organizations opt to hire background screening companies to do the job for them.

How to Conduct Background Checks

5 Tips for Employers on Conducting Background Checks

It’s crucial to apply best practices when doing background checks. The following are tips that can help prevent possible lawsuits and applicant complaints. These methods are also helpful in maintaining your company’s credibility and integrity.

1.      Enlist the services of a reputable background screening company

Background checks must comply with data retrieval, storage, and reporting guidelines as mandated by law. Reputable screening companies know the correct legal procedures and can produce the appropriate results.

It would be best to work with a screening company accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). They conduct their business professionally and adhere to strict standards of excellence. These organizations went through a rigorous yearlong auditing process to ensure they’re adept in the following areas:

  • Legal and compliance
  • Information security
  • Verification services
  • Researcher and data standards
  • Business practices
  • Verification services

2.      Validate social security information and address history

It’s vital to check if an applicant or employee provided a legitimate social security number. It must match their names, including variations, address history, and birthdate on record.

This inquiry can reveal if a person has other aliases or has resided in unknown locations. It can help you discover criminal records under the applicant’s other names or addresses.

Furthermore, investigating past residences can expose jurisdictions where you need to dig deeper. It’ll allow you to discover undisclosed former jobs, violations, or civil cases.

While this information may not necessarily mean the person is unhirable, it can help you make an informed hiring decision. It’s best to verify the social security information of both onshore and offshore recruitments for your peace of mind.

  1. Check for criminal history

An employer who fails to check an employee’s criminal record may be sued for negligence. The employer can be liable for negligent hiring when an employee harms his coworkers or company property. The principle behind this liability is that employers are dutybound to protect their customers and employees.

Aside from the legal implications, another reason for checking criminal records is to ensure your employees’ safety. A thorough check can reveal an applicant’s violent tendencies. It can also show if an applicant is unfit for the work environment and the job description.

Before conducting a criminal background check, you need to understand the current practices and guidelines created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

One violation under the EEOC is asking for criminal history in the application form. It’s best to hire a background check organization to do the investigation for you. Leaving the job to the professionals can spare you from possible lawsuits.

4.      Conduct a sex offender and US terror watch list screening

Suppose you’re hiring for security, technology, or public sector jobs. In that case, it’s crucial to wade through the US terror watch list. It can detect members of terrorist organizations, drug traffickers, and people who are under international watchlists.

Meanwhile, ensure to include a sex offender registry investigation. It’s crucial for positions of trust, such as teachers, medical personnel, and childcare staff.

5.      Ensure FCRA compliance

Employee background checks also involve looking into credit information. It consists in looking for evidence of financial distress that can increase fraud or theft risks. This process must adhere to the guidelines set by the FCRA.

Aside from following the FCRA guidelines, you should also need to understand state and regional laws concerning credit history checking. For example, , including Colorado and California, limit employers from using credit information in their hiring process.

Consider the Background Check Essentials

5 Tips for Employers on Conducting Background Checks

Conducting background checks can be a complicated process. However, it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety and integrity of the company and its employees. Verifying what an applicant has disclosed in their resume and interview is crucial.

You could limit your background check to only what your company needs to lessen the required steps. For example, checking an applicant’s credit history for financial roles may be unnecessary.

Background checks are governed by specific national, state, and county laws. It would help if you deeply understood the various compliance guidelines. Remember that one misstep can lead to expensive lawsuits.

It’s advisable to enlist the services of an accredited background check services company. These organizations are knowledgeable about the appropriate practices and legal guidelines. They can also provide the correct information that fits your company’s needs.

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