3 Things to Avoid When Performing a Background Check

These days, many more businesses are employing background checks as an integral part of the hiring process. These checks help them to ensure they are not hiring someone for their workforce that may prove to be dishonest or even dangerous for their customers or other staff. There are two types of background check: credit checks and criminal checks. While most employers perform criminal background checks, less than half carry out credit checks. The following looks at these checks and the three pitfalls you need to avoid.

Note that those businesses that fail to use background checks during the hiring process are putting themselves at significant risk. These risks can involve both physical danger and potential legal and financial liability. Failing to properly vet a new hire means an employer is essentially welcoming in a total stranger.

There are three other important aspects to any employment background check: examination of criminal records, investigation of prior employment history and verification of education. The federal government’s Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that the employer must have the applicants authorization in writing before carrying out any background check. In addition, once this check has been completed, the employer has to let the applicant know if there was anything in the background check that was damaging to their application.

Failure to follow federal laws regarding background checks can result in serious problems for employers. One possible consequence could be having either a hired employee or job applicant sue the employer. There is also the real possibility of being investigated and fined by either the National Labor Relations Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Deploying lawyers to defend a business against a full-scale government investigation or a lawsuit is extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Consider the following three important tips for avoiding any of the negative consequences of carrying out a background check:

Use a Reputable Background Check Firm

Employers should always confirm that a background check vendor has a good reputation for providing accurate, clear and complete reports before using them. Using online, do-it-yourself search engines for background checks often provides irrelevant, duplicate or even entirely inaccurate information regarding an applicant. In many ways, this is actually worse than failing to carry out a background check at all.

One reason for doing this is if something goes wrong with this employee in the future, you will need to be able to demonstrate the applicant was carefully checked before being hired. Having a professional firm carry out the background check and provide a written report is the best way to do this.

Keep the Background Check Focused

It’s absolutely essential to ensure that the business has a specific reason for wanting to know certain things about an applicant when making a hiring decision. These reasons and their related questions should be connected to the type of job being applied for, with the person carrying out the check focusing entirely on that information.

For instance, any business would certainly like to know if an applicant for a delivery driver position has any speeding tickets. In the same way, you would want to confirm that an applicant for a nursing position actually graduated from a nursing program. But you wouldn’t necessarily need educational background or a driving record for every applicant.

Protect Private Information

Protecting sensitive information is absolutely vital for any business. This is why reports generated by background checks – which can contain a good deal of private and possibly embarrassing information regarding the applicants – need to be secured by the company in a way that limits those who have access to them. Even aside from respecting the privacy of individual applicants, the business has to be concerned that any breach of this data could represent a massive financial liability risk.

While there are some costs involved when carrying out background checks, these expenditures are far less than the potential costs involved in hiring employees who might steal from the company or injure someone. It is certainly true that most applicants pass background checks without any trouble, but the problems avoided by not hiring those that don’t pass such background checks makes the process well worth the money spent.