The 10 Best Tips For Employment Background Checks

Hiring employees is one of the most important processes for a company. Employee selection and employee screening both have effects on a company’s destiny. Finding the best employees allows your company to be the best it can be, however the wrong employees will negatively affect your company. Improper employee screening may allow employees that can bring negligent hire clams, theft, violence, unsafe conditions, and more.

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Top 10 Tips for Employment Background Checks

1) Use a Professional Background Check Agency

Professional background screening companies will do a far better job of locating the information you want. They have the experience and processes to be accurate and efficient. They also prevent you from viewing data that might be a violation of state or federal law.

2) Be Legal at All Times

This means strict adherence to all Federal, State and City laws. 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) Communicate 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.

6) Give Applicants an 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.

7) Look For 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.

8) 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.

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) Gaps in Employment

Employers should take a careful look at gaps in employment that are not easily explained or verified such as layoffs etc. Gaps in employment often are an indication of time spent in custody, or a criminal record the applicant did not disclose.
Please see our page on common Employment Background Check questions by: Clicking Here

BONUS: 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.
  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.

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