As the economy is continuing to recover and employers have more options than before, we should expect more and more companies to rely on a background check. Before making a hire decision, most companies are going to want to know about a candidate’s credit worthiness and criminal history. This is not just about finding someone who is a liability, but also about knowing who might be a future workplace hazard and those who have demonstrated a history of good decision-making.

Best Practices:

In order to make sure that your company has an appropriately tailored approach to your background checks, there are a number of different best practices that you should consider.

Practice #1 - Confirm a Background Check is Necessary

Before you ever have a background check, you should know what the specific responsibilities are going to be, where the work is going to be performed, and whether or not this person has access to sensitive information. Certain positions are going to have access to personal information related to your customers and others have access to non-public information.

Practice #2 – Build Your Background Check Criteria

Once you have legitimate reasons or concerns why you need a background check, you want a written policy that is going to help people who are responsible for (or involved in) the hiring the process. This is going to help them look at specific job positions and identify the types of checks that are involved with these. You also want to have information about the scope of a background check (how much do you check and what information do you check).

Depending on your state regulations, you want to make sure that any and all pre-employment inquiries are kept in line with the legal requirements of your state.

Practice #3 – Make Sure That You Are Consistent

Even though it is going to sound like commonsense, we cannot overstate the important of having consistency in your organization’s background check procedures. All applicants are going to have to go through the same types of background check identified for a job position.

Make sure that your company has policy and procedure that guarantees that each applicant who applies for a position is going to have the same background check. This is going to help you defend against future discrimination claims.

These are just a few of the best practices that you can use to make sure that you have valid and functional background check policy for your business.

Mistakes to Avoid:

Many businesses choose to complete backgrounds checks without any assistance – which would be fine in theory but unfortunately means that they often make a number of mistakes. Oftentimes this means that a company misses out on some basic information, which can lead to further complications down the road. We have listed a few different mistakes that businesses make when conducting a background check.

Mistake #1 – Not Enough Research

Oftentimes a company is only going to run the applicant through a national criminal history database, hoping that it gives them all the information that they need. This unfortunately comes with a number of different potential pitfalls and legal issues. You want to make sure that you get all the information needed to verify an applicant rather than just relying on a single item.

Mistake #2 – Relying On Social Media

Even though most of us accept that having embarrassing, illegal, or raunchy pictures on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook accounts are going to hurt applicants in a job search, companies are bound to have some legal issues if they only rely on social media to determine what they consider a desirable applicant. In fact, there are state and federal laws that dictate what it possible when it comes to social platforms.

Mistake #3 – Taking Shortcuts

Oftentimes businesses decide to forgo a background check altogether if they only hire someone temporarily. When it comes to screening, vendors, contractors, and temp workers are often neglected. If someone has access to your place of operation or your information, you want to make sure that you have a background check in place. Regardless of how long someone is going to be working alongside your employees, you want to make sure that you do everything to avoid problems in the future.

Mistake #4 – Not Getting Permission

It is a legal obligation that you get consent and provide full disclosure to a candidate before you complete a background check. You want to make sure that you discuss your screening process with the applicant and other legal entities before you continue and make sure that every person involved knows what is expected of him/her. It is also important that you make it clear whether the results of a background check or going to make a difference in whether someone is going to be hired for the job or not.