About a month ago we debunked the myth of the instant background check. In this post we will be addressing eight common misconceptions about pre-employment background screening and why they are wrong. Background screening can sometimes seem like an overwhelming project to tackle. However, employers and job seekers can take comfort in the fact that these eight misconceptions are in fact, just that.  After reading this you should have a better idea of how to better approach designing the right background screening program.

1. All Background Check Companies Provide the Same Information

It is a common misconception that every screening company is the same, and thus, the cheapest check is the best. There is no single database of criminal information available, and instant checks do not exist. There are FCRA guidelines in place that companies must follow; meaning every company should use the same standards. However, this is not the case.  If you are getting a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Approaching background screening in this fashion puts you at risk for an inaccurate check, a bad hire and even a lawsuit.

 2. Every Background Check is the Same

The type of check used should be determined by the job. A check can include a number of things from criminal checks and credit history to reference and credential checks. Not every company offers comprehensive checks. When choosing a CRA make sure the screening process includes what is important to you and your unique staffing needs.

 3. Employers are Looking for a Reason Not to Hire You

Many people believe background checks are used as a means to not hire someone. This is not the case. Background screening is merely a precaution to ensure employers are hiring who they think they are. If you are at the stage in the hiring process of a background check, your future employer has almost certainly chosen you already, and is waiting upon a final check before moving forward.

 4. You Won’t Get Hired with a Criminal Record

It is natural to worry about a criminal past getting in the way of your future but it is less likely in today’s workplace. Lots of factors are taken into consideration now including: the type of crime, how it relates to the job and the length of time passed since the crime was committed. Many employers are taking EEOC guidance on hiring those with arrests or convictions and looking further than just the scarlet letter. Chances are you will get to defend your actions and hopefully land the job.

 5. Poor Credit will Disqualify a Candidate

It has been in the news lately, can bad credit cost you a job? Most likely no, credit usually is used for identity purposes. This means most employers don’t take your personal financial situation into consideration; rather, they are more concerned with your past lining up with what you’ve told them.

 6. Applicants Can’t Dispute Findings

 It is rare but occasionally, with common last names, the wrong ‘John Smith’ is found and reported. Under law, applicants are allowed to obtain a copy of their report and can even dispute findings. No employer may deny a candidate of that.

 7. All the Information you need is Online

It is believed that background checks are unnecessary due to the vast information available on the internet. Using online and social media searches can be tricky and pose certain risks to a company. There is a good chance that with an online search you will not find all the information you need and open yourself up to a discrimination suit.

 8. Only Large Companies need to Screen Candidates

Many small businesses believe background checks are only necessary for larger companies but that truth is smaller companies have more to lose. A bad hire can cost over $25,000, money most small businesses don’t have to spare. It is better to pay the small fee for a background check than risk thousands in damages, and months or years of invaluable time.

Let us know in the comments below of any other background screening myths or misconceptions you’ve stumbled across. We’d love to hear from you!

 For other best practices subscribe to our blog here, and download our free 23 page guide to Applicant Background Screening in 2014.

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