Employment Background Check Guide
The following recently updated employment background check tips may be helpful no matter how long you have been conducting employment background checks. If nothing else they will remind you of current issues employers face.
More than any other process in an organization, employee selection and screening may change a company's destiny.
1. Why use a professional background check company to process your background checks?
The first consideration is obtaining a quality employment background check result. You must be able to rely on the information on an applicant and it must be obtained and acted upon in a legally compliant way.
Professional background check companies will do a far better job of locating the information you want. They have the facilities, software, experience and processes to be accurate and efficient. They also help prevent you from viewing data that might be a violation of state or federal law.
2. Use Of Online Employment Background Checks
The old saying:
"You can have cheap or good, but you can't have both" applies here.
Much of the information obtained can not be legally used because so much of it is inaccurate. Data companies do not have the means to determine the veracity of this kind of information as required by Federal law. Moreover, much critical information will be missed as well. Many businesses say that you are better off running no background check than a poor one. They reason that granting trust to an employee based on a defective background check is a very bad idea.
3. Be legal at all times
This means strict adherence to all Federal, State and City laws. This means laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), "Ban The Box" and other myriad city and state laws governing the hiring process require serious attention in order to remain in compliance. Many companies use professional Human Resources consultants to help them make sure their forms comply and that they conduct the entire hiring process in accordance with the governing laws. Many laws must be followed on job applications, job interviews and all segments of the on boarding process.
4. Review all of your employment forms frequently
In the past couple of years both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is the enforcement arm of the Federal employment laws and the number of class action lawsuits brought against employers has seen a dramatic increase.
For what may seem the most minor violations such as failure to have an employment background check release on an entirely separate piece of paper, companies have paid out millions of dollars. An often overlooked area are online applications and releases. The same rules apply as far having a separate release. For more information on this subject: Click Here
5. Have a consistent hiring process.
The process must be consistent for applicants. Make sure all applicants for the same position undergo the same exact screening process. For example, you may not run an employment credit report or a workers' comp claims history report on some applicants for the same position and not on others.
6. Communication With Applicants
Comply with pre and post adverse notification requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA.
Negative information discovered in an employment screening background check should usually be discussed with the applicant. Not only does this give the applicant the opportunity to explain their side of the issue, it helps clear up misconceptions, errors on the report and other mistakes.
7. Give the applicant the opportunity to correct incorrect information
While inaccurate criminal record report results are rare if you are using a quality employment screening program, they can happen. Employment Background Checks are not conducted to stop people from being hired. Rather, the intent of employment screening is to help your company hire the best possible employees. We have several pages in our website that will assist applicants in disputing incorrect information contained in their reports. We will rapidly investigate any information an applicant disputes.
8. Behavior Patterns.
Experience seems to show that individuals with a consistent pattern of negative behavior are more likely to continue to this pattern. Likewise, patterns of positive behavior are likely indicative of future behavior as well. An applicant with a single blemish on their record may not have established a negative pattern and should not always be summarily disqualified.
9. Criminal Charges May Not Be As Bad As they Look
Understandably, often the explanation you will receive will be somewhat "sanitized" to cast the applicant's charges in a more favorable light. Conversely, sometimes people are "overcharged" in an incident making the incident seem much worse than it actually was. See our page on this subject by: Clicking Here
9. How long after an Arrest Is it safe to hire Someone?
An extensive study by Carnegie-Mellon university provided empirical data that suggests that for most people, those who have remained free of contact with the judicial system for a period of five years or more are no more likely to re-offend than those that have never been arrested. This was true for most crimes, but there may be exceptions for certain types of criminals. For more information: Click Here
10. EEOC Guidance On Use Of Criminal Records
From SEAY MANAGEMENT Consultants newsletter Apr 2016
After you have received the results of the background check the decision process can begin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asks that employers consider 3 factors when deciding whether or not to hire an applicant with a criminal background. The three factors are:
1. The nature or gravity of the offense;
2. The time that has passed since the offense occurred; and
3. The nature of the job held or sought.
For example, if you have an applicant who has a criminal conviction on their record, you must consider the nature of the offense. Was it violent? The second factor revolves around the length of time that has passed since the conviction. Did it happen within the last 6 months or did it happen 5 years ago? If it has been several years, the EEOC would take the position that the conviction should not be considered when making an employment decision. The final step requires that an employer analyze the position the applicant is applying for and the conviction Does this conviction have a direct impact on the job they would be performing for your Company? Linking the criminal conduct to the essential functions of the position can help an employer prove that a decision not to hire was made out of business necessity. A hiring decision should be made after considering the above factors.
11. Social Media Much case law governing the use of social media in the employmet process has yet to be determined. Some of the information contained in social media accounts could be in violation of the ADA, Be very cautious with this information if you do not want to be a party to establishing future case law on this matter.
However you use social media screening, do it consistently across all applicants and treat the information as confidential.
12. Be Sure To thoroughly Document Your Employment Screening Process.
Have this documentation easily available should an audit or dispute require access to it. You may need it to prove a negative which is often not easy.
Also be sure management or assistants understand the hiring process and have the appropriate contact information for the employment screening company contacts should they require assistance. Be sure they understand the legal requirements when it comes to signed releases, furnishing copies of the background reports, summaries of rights and adverse action letters.
13. Insist that the applicant provide quality reference information
Sometimes employment verifications are the most lengthy part the employment screening process. Sometimes this is due to lack of cooperation from the previous employer or school reference but more often than not it is the failure of the applicant to provide you with easily read and correct contact information. Use a separate reference contact form if needed that includes the proper applicant release language.
Please see our page on common Employment Background Check questions by: Clicking Here
A most helpful guide published by the EEOC and FTC titled "Background Checks What Employers Need To Know" can be found by Clicking Here
This publication provides excellent, easy to read and understand guidance to help employers comply with Federal laws governing employment background checks.
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