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Back to Basics: Fair Chance Hiring

Back to Basics: Fair Chance Hiring

Incarceration rates in the U.S. have soared lately. Between 70 to 100 million Americans have a criminal record, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That criminal record can follow an individual for a long time, making them feel the effects long after they’ve served their sentence. 

Those who need a second chance deserve steady employment to gain a feeling of financial stability, support themselves and their families, and feel like a contributing member of society. All of this helps lower recidivism rates and keep individuals from re-entering the prison system. 

Having a criminal record exhibits a unique set of employment difficulties. Because of their criminal history, individuals are regularly ruled out for job opportunities, even when they’re qualified. Those who need a second chance are less likely to be asked for an interview.  

If you’re not familiar with fair chance hiring and are considering implementing this into your company, this guide should help you comprehend what goes into the process, the advantages that stem from it, and how you can begin today. 

What is Fair Chance Hiring? 

Fair chance hiring is based on the reason that everybody, regardless of their background, has the right to be fairly evaluated for a job they are qualified for. 

Organizations that practice fair chance hiring can take advantage of a bigger pool of qualified, diverse talent with a broad scope of experiences, better comprehend their customers and reach stronger business outcomes. 

What are the advantages of Fair Chance Hiring? 

Fair chance hiring allows for a more diverse and inclusive environment. The discussion around diversity and inclusion shouldn’t stop at race, gender, or sexual orientation. To create an inclusive workplace, the conversation needs to extend to those with criminal records. Refusing to hire job candidates with criminal backgrounds has an unintended effect on minority applicants. This makes it significantly more challenging to assemble a genuinely diverse and inclusive workplace. 

By embracing fair chance hiring policies, you extend your potential candidate pool to a mostly untapped group of diverse, talented, and eager workers. With the job market being so competitive, applicants can wait and choose between multiple job offers prolonging the hiring process. Those who need a second chance often have a difficult time finding work, so you’re far less likely to deal with a drawn-out hiring process. This makes it easier for you to grow your organization in today’s competitive employment market. 

Fair chance hiring offers a significant return on investment, both from a performance and retention perspective. According to a SHRM survey, 80 percent of managers surveyed feel the value workers with criminal records bring to the organization is just as high or higher than that of workers without records. Anytime you’re hiring; it’s an investment. However, when practicing fair chance hiring, you’re likely to get a better return on that investment. 

How do I incorporate Fair Chance Hiring into my hiring process? 

Having a criminal record doesn’t mean an individual is irresponsible, immoral, or likely to take part in illegal activity in the future. When working with a candidate, make it a point to see where they are today. They’ve already assumed responsibility for their actions and fulfilled their legal obligations. What matters now is that they’re qualified, prepared, and have the assets to be effective in the job.  

Before you start interviewing job applicants, it’s important to distinguish any convictions that are relevant to the position or organization that would cause a candidate to be disqualified from the hiring process. And if an applicant falls outside of those restrictions? They should get as much of a fair chance to be employed for that position as any other person. 

How do I get my current employees on-board to Fair Chance Hiring? 

Ensure your company knows and comprehends why you’re supporting fair chance hiring practices. Make it a pillar of your organization’s missions and values. The more you open the discussion about fair chance hiring, the more you’ll normalize it, and it will be understood by your company. 

A criminal record is a barrier for qualified, devoted applicants in finding employment and an obstacle for companies looking to create diverse teams. By adopting fair chance practices, you’re offering opportunities for financial stability, career advancement, and a sense of purpose for millions of Americans that deserve a fair chance. 

To learn more, check out our Fair Chance Handbook.  

Contact us  today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employee onboarding 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.    

Back to Basics: E-Verify

Back to Basics: E-Verify

What is E-Verify? 

E-Verify is a system that compares data from your Form I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to validate that employees are approved for work in the United States. 

E-Verify is mandatory for federal contractors with contracts containing the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause, and some states require the use of E-Verify for employers. Many employers participate voluntarily in E-Verify as a supplement to Form I-9. 

Today, E-Verify has over 75,000 registered employers of all sizes with about 1,400 new participating companies every week.  

Which states require E-Verify? 

Twenty states mandate the use of E-Verify for at least some public and/or private employers:  

  • Alabama 
  • Arizona 
  • Colorado 
  • Florida 
  • Georgia
  • Idaho 
  • Indiana 
  • Louisiana 
  • Michigan 
  • Mississippi 

  • Missouri 
  • Nebraska 
  • North Carolina 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina 
  • Tennessee 
  • Utah 
  • Virginia  
  • West Virginia

When should E-Verify be used?

E-Verify is only used after an offer of employment has been accepted by the individual applicant.  

E-Verify should not be used to pre-screen individuals for employment. E-Verify is not a criminal background check. It is a Human Resources onboarding function used to verify legal eligibility to work. 

Once the account has been set up, the E-Verify program must be used on ALL new employees, (Federal Contractors have different regulations). 

It cannot be used later than the third business day after the individual has started to work. The employer has three days after the date of hire to verify legal eligibility to work.  

For employers to stop using the E-Verify program, they must provide 30 days written notice to the government, per the signed Memorandum of Understanding.  

 SELECTiON.COM®’s software integration with the federal government’s Employment Verification Program (E-Verify) allows employers to quickly and accurately verify new employees’ legal right to work. 

With SELECTiON.COM®, you can manage your work authorization program through Fastrax Select® from start to finish. Our secure services help you to ensure that your workforce is legally authorized to work. Our program improves the efficiency of your Form I-9 employment verification process and the accuracy of your payroll and tax reporting. It also substantially decreases human error in completing Form I-9s.  

In turn, it also cost-effectively reduces your exposure to government audits, financial penalties, and negative publicity resulting from non-compliance. 

Contact ustoday to see how SELECTiON.COM® can take your employee onboarding process to the next level. 

Back to the Basics: Drug Testing in the Workplace

Back to the Basics: Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug testing as part of the Drug-Free Workplace Program has been successful in lowering the rates of positive tests. Nearly seven in ten Americans have used drugs while they were at work, according to a recent Detox survey of 1,000 Americans.

All companies, whether just starting out with drug testing or reviewing current processes, should be sure that it is effectively communicated to both employees and applicants. A drug testing policy should address which employees or applicants will be tested, the circumstances under which testing will take place, what substances will be tested for and what the consequences will be for a positive test.

There might be additional policies for safety sensitive positions, union guidelines or other entities like the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines for regulated motor carriers, airline pilots, train operators and others.

It is important to have a drug testing policy reviewed by an attorney experienced in drug-free workplace issues to ensure compliance with state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When drug testing should occur

  • Pre-employment
    • This will avoid the hiring of individuals who are actively abusing drugs.
  • Post-incident
    • People using drugs are at increased risk of errors and injury. This also may help protect the employer if there is any litigation following the incident.
  • Reasonable suspicion
    • In your company policy, define the factors that may give rise to a reasonable suspicion, including objective factors, such as an employee’s appearance, speech and behavior, as well as, any other information specific to your workplace.
  • Random
    • Drug testing should be done randomly for people who work in safety-sensitive positions.

Types of drug testing

  • Urine Drug Testing (UDT)
    • Urine is the most commonly tested substance for drugs. It is easily obtained and there is a broad range of testing that can be done. There are very specific guidelines when observed collection is indicated.
  • Oral Drug Testing
    • Collecting oral fluids makes it much harder to compromise testing. At this time, oral fluid testing cannot test for as many drugs as urine drug tests, but this technology is improving rapidly.
  • Hair Testing
    • Hair testing is more expensive than urine and oral fluid testing. It does have the advantage of detecting any drug over the previous 90 days.

What substances should companies test for?

It is very important that employers remain current on what drugs they are testing for. Many companies use a standard 5-panel test that will miss most drugs of abuse.

A 10-panel urinalysis is by far the most popular for companies. This type of drug panel searches the top five street drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth amphetamines, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP) and the top five prescription drugs (benzodiazepines, quaaludes, methadone, propoxyphene, barbiturates). Other drugs may be added to or subtracted from this panel as specific requirements warrant.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have currently passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Some companies have even stopped including marijuana on pre-employment drug tests. When it comes to federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug.

It is important to know the drugs that are commonly abused in your area. It may be helpful to call one of your local substance abuse treatment centers for this information.

SELECTiON.COM® is a (TPA) Third Party Administrator for our clients that wish to utilize drug screening as part of their background screening. We partner and integrate with Quest Diagnostics™, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, and Medical Review Officer (MRO) and Doctor’s Review Service (DRS).

We offer random drug screening for companies who have a random drug testing policy.

SELECTiON.COM® will work with your company to help you navigate applicant drug testing and the results.

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

NOTE: The contents of this article are not legal advice for your particular situation. You should neither act nor rely upon anything stated in this article without first consulting your own legal counsel.

Back to the Basics: Character References

Back to the Basics: Character References

It’s the first day of Shelby’s new hire and he’s late. When Max shows up, he gives her no explanation and she notices he is wearing jeans after telling him to wear business casual. She’s already dreading his first week of training. This is not a good start.

Now it’s three months into Max’s position and he hasn’t accomplished anything. Shelby hasn’t seen an increase in sales/numbers and she is devoting all her time to assisting him. He isn’t receptive of Shelby’s help and seems to be doing the opposite of everything he’s asked. She is regretting hiring him and is not looking forward to his future with her company.

Shelby asks herself, “How did I get into this mess in the first place?” and, “What could I have done to prevent this?”

Shelby wonders about Max’s performance with his last company and regrets not contacting his previous supervisor to do a character reference.

The price of a bad hire is at least 30% of their first-year earnings. Have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to Shelby’s?

Character Reference

Character references are almost as important as running criminal history, along with education and employment verifications.

What is a Character Reference?

A character reference is additional information that can verify more about an applicant’s previous work experience.

You find out the dates of employment with an employment verification; however, with a character reference, you will may gain insights into their timeliness and attendance. Our customer service team will ask in-depth questions to get a better sense of their personality and work ethic.

Although a candidate’s resume should always be honest and up-to-date, it can’t say everything about the individual. Are they a timely person? Do they call off work constantly? What’s their personality?

These are all qualities that are essential to know before hiring someone for a position. When hiring, you want a reliable employee whose personality will allow them to get along with others.

Checking a candidate’s references is vital to gaining more in-depth information than what is provided on a typical employment verification.

When looking to hire a new employee, one must be sure that they are not only qualified for the job, but they also must be able to work well with your current employees.

SELECTiON.COM® can provide you with vital information that allows you to make a much more educated and insightful decision. Click here for a character reference check sample.

How can you find this information on an applicant?

By having a character reference done on a potential employee, you can find out answers to all these questions and more.

A character reference reports more in-depth information on the applicant, such as work ethic, ability to work with others, strengths, improvement areas and personality.

At SELECTiON.COM®, our customer service team contacts the applicant’s references and records their answers during the check.

What kind of questions are asked on a character reference?

You can customize your questions. We have included some example questions that clients have previously used:

  • What can you tell me about the applicant’s personality?
  • What can you tell me about the applicant’s work ethic?
  • If provided the opportunity, would you hire the applicant? Why or why not?
  • What can you tell me about the applicant’s reason for changing jobs?
  • What can you tell me about the applicant’s ability to get along with peers and supervisors?
  • How reliable is the applicant?
  • What are the applicant’s strengths?
  • What areas can the applicant improve upon?

Click here for a full description of the character reference report.

How long does a character reference take?

The average turnaround time for a character reference report is 1-3 days.

What industries benefit the most from character references?

What information do I need to provide?

Once you have an account with SELECTiON.COM®, we only need the reference’s name and phone number.

Additional information that may be provided are address, city, state and how long the reference has known the applicant.

Contact us today to add character references to your account or to see how SELECTiON.COM® can benefit your background screening program.

Back to the Basics: Public Access Terminals and Criminal Researchers

Back to the Basics: Public Access Terminals and Criminal Researchers

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to announce our new “Back to the Basics” series, wherein we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the ins and outs of the background check industry. We’re starting off this week with a behind the scenes view of criminal research featuring one of our in-house researchers, Chelsea Swartz.

The sun is beaming and a breeze blows by as Chelsea and Sabrina Schnetzer, Social Media Specialist, step into a courthouse in Kentucky. The police officers there see Chelsea every day and greet her by name.

Sabrina is here to job shadow Chelsea Swartz, Criminal Research and Document Retrieval Specialist, for the day. They walk into the courthouse and go through a metal detector, head up three flights of stairs, and turn a corner. They arrive at the public access terminal with a few computers at desks.

What is a public access terminal?

A public access terminal is a service provided by the courts, for litigants and the public to access dockets, case reports, and other documents filed in county courts. These terminals are located inside each county courthouse. Citizens can typically search by name and date of birth for criminal records on any individual at these courthouse public access computers.

Although you would think that most public access terminals are accessed electronically, there are actually still some out there that are clerk-based. A clerk is an officer of the court whose main responsibility is to maintain records of the court. Counties that require clerk-based criminal research typically have processes that include providing a list of names to be searched and then waiting days or weeks for them to return the results. Some counties even still use ledger books or microfilm to store court records.

Criminal Record Database Search

From there, Chelsea sits down at one of the public access terminal computers and begins to work. She pulls out her list of applicants she received earlier that day and starts typing the names into the criminal records search. On a typical day, Chelsea may have around 300 applicant names to run criminal background checks on.

If Chelsea finds a criminal record in one of her searches, she makes a note of it. From there, she will write down information about the case including the case number, disposition date, filing date, charge description and sentencing information.

Chelsea transcribes case information from the criminal records database into our system, so it is readily available for our in-house team. The case information is then sent to quality assurance where they mark it complete and make it available to our clients. Sometimes cases need more information that is not accessible online, so Chelsea copies physical files from the court records and brings them into our office.

Did you know?

Did you know that each county has its own criminal records database, which is more accurate and up to date than the state’s criminal database? County criminal databases are more precise than the state’s, because cases are tried at the county level and then passed on to the state at their leisure.

SELECTiON.COM® has a nationwide network of court researchers in order to complete the thousands of requests we receive in a day. Since we are located in Cincinnati, our local clients get the added benefit of our in-house research team. We have employees who physically go into the county courthouses in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

We hope you enjoyed seeing a behind the scenes of a day in the life of Chelsea, criminal researcher extraordinaire. Stay tuned to read more “Back to the Basics” articles.

Contact us today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can improve your background check process.

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