Background screening is an integral part of hiring; however, is it not that straightforward. When performing background checks companies must consider many factors before diving in. Here is a list of 10 things to remember when screening potential employees.

Do: Have a Written Policy

All companies should have a written document outlining their screening process. This helps prevent legal issues and allows candidates to clearly understand the company’s requirements. The policy should include how the checks are conducted, what is included in the checks and what will be required of the candidate. If using social media in screening a separate policy should be written.

Don’t: Have a No Criminal Record Policy

Many states are now using ‘ban the box’ laws which prohibit employers from asking about criminal backgrounds on applications. With that said is frowned upon for employers to also have a blanket policy when hiring those with a record. Although not a law yet, employers must tread these waters lightly as not to end up in a discrimination lawsuit.

Do: Get Consent

Always get consent before running a check. According to the FCRA the employer must make the candidate aware of policy and the candidate must give written consent. No signature, no go – it’s the law!

Don’t: Run a Check without Permission

Running a check after failing to obtain consent will essentially invalidate the results. If you use information found on a check run without permission you are subjecting yourself to a costly lawsuit.

Do: Comply with State Laws

Every state has different laws and guidelines for background screening. If you use a third party or CRA they are required to abide by the FCRA. The different Laws pertain to getting consent, how many years back one can look and how one must report information found. Become of your states laws before you start screening.

Don’t: Use Social Media and Online Searches

Social media has become a popular recruiting tool over the past couple years however it should not be used as a screening tool. Social media releases information that employers are not allowed to consider when making a decision about hiring. Due to the personal nature of social platforms and privacy laws, employers who use it for hiring purposes are at a greater risk for a discrimination lawsuit.

Do: Use a Comprehensive Check

A background check should be comprehensive and cover all the necessary elements to make an informed decision about hiring. Comprehensive checks should include a criminal history, a reference and credential check, a driving record and if necessary a credit and identity check.

Don’t: Rely Solely on National Databases

Many employers do not know there are different types of criminal records: county, state and national. Employers believe a national check is the best however the truth is it is not the most accurate.

Do: Use Personal Assessments

If you get results that are unsettling to you perform a personal assessment. Inform the candidate of the results and inquire further about the results. Once you have gained more insight to the situation you are better prepared to make your decision.

Don’t: Walk Away from Negative Results

Under law you must inform candidates of bad results and give them a chance to review the report. There may be a misunderstanding or an explanation for the results. Failing to properly communicate could cause an unnecessary lawsuit.

This information and more can be found in our free 2014 Guide to Applicant Screening. The guide goes more in-depth about screening solutions, compliance laws and tools that will help you optimize your screening process. Download your free copy here or contact us and schedule a time to speak to one of our screening experts. We’d love to hear about any other dos and don’ts your company lives by. Please tell us below in the comments!



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