Background Check Best Practices

When searching the pool of job candidates, finding the right person is not always an easy task. One essential piece of the hiring process is running a background check. Ninety-six percent of employers run background checks on candidates, according to a PBSA national survey. 

It is a critical part of recruitment and onboarding. When searching for a candidate, you want to make sure they are the right fit, and there isn’t anything in their background that could be a risk to your organization. 

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when running background checks. 

Include candidates in the process 

The candidate must understand why they are consenting to a background check. Transparency is essential when you’re running a background check. This allows you to continue establishing a relationship with the candidate while remaining compliant with the law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to obtain the applicant’s consent before running a background check. The release form for the background check must stand-alone and be separate from the employment application. 

Know what you want out of a background check 

You should know beforehand what background check you are running. Also, understand why the background check is needed. Look at your industry and the job requirements to determine what type of background check should be run. There are numerous types to choose from, but make sure you are only running reports that are vital for the job.  

For example, if you are hiring someone who will be driving a company car, then you should run a Motor Vehicle report. We recommend that you apply the same standards to everyone, based on the job description. It’s illegal to check the background of applicants when that decision is based on a person’s race, natural origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, or age. Blanket hiring practices often lead to unintentional disparate impact. Disparate impact refers to employment policies that have an unintended and adverse effect on members of a protected class, even if the policy’s language seems neutral. Have a conversation with your legal team about your hiring process and see how background checks best fit. 

Use a third-party background screening provider 

Contact a third-party background screening provider to run the background checks for your company. Don’t rely on a Google search or look up a candidate on Facebook. These searches are not enough and do not show the whole picture of the candidate. Although this will require a budget, your company will receive quality background check reports.  

Don’t automatically reject candidates with a record 

Make sure that you are giving all candidates an equal chance. Best practice is to not immediately disqualify a candidate from a job because of a hit on their record. You could be missing out on a dedicated, hard-working employee, because of a criminal record that is unrelated to the job. Work with your legal counsel to define what types of criminal records will disqualify an applicant for each position. Use the information on the background check to make an informed, thoughtful decision. 

Be open with communication 

Whatever you find on the background check report, be open with your candidate. If a question arises, ask them. Keep the conversation going. There are many reasons why an issue can occur, so be comfortable speaking about the process with the candidate. If you choose not to hire the applicant, based on any reason in whole or part of the background check, then you must send a Pre-Adverse Letter, copy of their background check and consumer rights. Wait five business days to mail an Adverse Action letter to allow the applicant time to dispute the claim. You don’t want to miss out on a fantastic employee in the future because you didn’t ask the candidate about something in their background check. 

Contact us today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employment background check process to the next level.  

This article gives a general overview of the legal matters. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing this area. SELECTiON.COM® does not provide legal advice, and we always suggest consulting your own legal counsel for all applicant approval matters.  

Article by SELECTiON.COM®

Founded in 1991, SELECTiON.COM® is one of the Nation’s leading providers of pre-employment background screening services. We offer the largest network of in-house researchers, the fastest turnaround on criminal background checks and drug screening, and unsurpassed customer service. Our web application, FASTRAX Select™, allows employers to verify an applicant’s background check information quickly and accurately from the convenience of a personal computer. Average turnaround time on criminal background searches is 2 business days. Thousands of employers nationwide rely on SELECTiON.COM® to help them make smart hiring decisions.