Skip to content
Home » Blog » How To Do A Background Check For Employment

How To Do A Background Check For Employment

Your team forms the backbone of your business. Finding reliable, skilled employees is crucial for achieving your objectives, yet assembling a top-notch team poses challenges. Shockingly, over half (56%) of individuals surveyed admitted to embellishing their resumes, often exaggerating their experience, education, skills, and job responsibilities. While minor fabrications might seem harmless in some sectors, they can pose serious risks in others.

Yet, what’s even more concerning are the things candidates omit. For instance, someone with a violent history might conveniently neglect to disclose it. Such oversight could endanger coworkers and customers, inviting negligent hiring claims and tarnishing your company’s reputation irreparably.

Conducting background checks helps you navigate these risks and enhances the quality of your hires.

Step 1: Create An Employment Background Check Policy

A background check policy outlines the specifics of your screening process, ensuring consistent application throughout your organization. It should cover three key aspects:

Types of Background Checks: Detail which background checks will be performed and for whom. It’s advisable to implement screening across all roles but customize packages based on position requirements. For instance, roles involving financial management may require credit checks, while those involving driving may need driving record checks.

Impact on Employment Decisions: Clarify how background check results will influence hiring choices. Consider factors like the role’s nature, the offense’s severity, and the time since the conviction. This approach promotes fairness and compliance with best practices.

Timing of Background Checks: Determine when in the hiring process you’ll conduct screenings and how often you’ll screen current employees. While federal law permits screening with candidate consent, local regulations may impose stricter guidelines.

A well-defined background check policy fosters fairness, transparency, and compliance, reducing the risk of discrimination and legal challenges.

Step 2: Compliance: Background Checks For Employment & The Law

Background checks fall under the purview of federal, state, and local laws, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure compliance. Failure to do so can lead to hefty fines, settlements, and legal battles.

Here are four key violations to keep in mind:

Consent Forms: The FCRA mandates that employers must clearly inform applicants in writing about background checks for employment purposes. This disclosure should be presented as a separate document, easy to understand, and conspicuous.

Adverse Action: The FCRA also stipulates a three-step process for adverse action based on background check results. This includes sending a pre-adverse action notice with the background report and a Summary of Rights, allowing the candidate a reasonable time to respond before issuing an adverse action notice.

Ban-the-Box: Ban-the-box regulations vary by location but typically postpone background checks until after the first interview or a conditional offer is extended. These laws may also impact the adverse action process, so it’s essential to be aware of relevant regulations.

Title VII: Enforced by the EEOC, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Some background screening policies may disproportionately affect protected groups, particularly minority populations with higher arrest rates, potentially violating Title VII.

Step 3: How To Choose A Background Check Company

Every business has its own unique needs, so it’s crucial to select a background check provider that aligns with your specific hiring requirements. The ideal service for your company will be determined by factors such as your hiring volume, business size, HR team size, budget, and screening policies. Here are some features to consider:

Compliance: Look for a provider that goes beyond FCRA compliance to address risks related to EEOC, ban the box, and local regulations, especially if you operate across multiple locations.

Adverse Action Workflows: Opt for a service with integrated adverse action workflows to streamline compliance, including pre-adverse and final adverse action notices.

Individualized Assessments: Choose a provider that offers guidance on when individualized assessments are necessary, helping to minimize scrutiny from the EEOC.

Flexible Packages: Find a service that offers customizable background check packages tailored to your industry, position type, and geographic location to avoid over-screening candidates.

Candidate Experience: Prioritize a provider with user-friendly, mobile-responsive workflows and digital consent options to ensure a smooth and transparent process for candidates.

Integrations: Consider a provider that seamlessly integrates with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to minimize manual tasks and streamline workflows.

Step 4: What Are The Different Types Of Background Checks?

It’s essential to understand the various types of background checks and their contents to anticipate what information they provide. This knowledge enables you to make informed hiring decisions based on your industry and the roles you’re filling. Here’s what you should know:

Criminal Record Checks: These checks include national, state, federal, and county criminal background checks, revealing felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as pending court cases. Employers use them to assess potential threats to customers and workplace safety.

Civil Court Checks: These checks uncover non-criminal lawsuits, claims, and judgments in which the candidate is involved. They’re crucial for roles with financial or managerial responsibilities, as they reveal small claims, restraining orders, civil rights violations, bankruptcies, etc.

Credit Checks: An employment credit report offers a candidate’s credit history, excluding the credit score. It details payment history, civil judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and unpaid bills, often necessary for roles involving financial decisions.

Driving Record Checks: Motor vehicle reports (MVRs) verify license validity and provide insight into a candidate’s driving history, including DUIs, suspensions, and moving violations. Essential for positions involving vehicle operation

Drug Screening: Drug tests indicate recent use of specific prescription and illicit drugs, helping maintain a safe and productive workplace through routine employment testing.

Employment Verification: Ensure your candidate’s work history and job-related experiences are legitimate. By verifying employment history, you confirm the accuracy of provided information, assess whether their experience meets job requirements, and validate past titles, achievements, or responsibilities.

Education Verification: Validate your candidate’s academic background, including attendance dates, majors, and earned degrees, diplomas, or certificates. This process helps mitigate the risk of hiring someone with false credentials and ensures compliance with various regulations.

Healthcare Sanctions Checks: Conducting an OIG search and healthcare sanctions background check offers insights into a healthcare professional’s medical history, highlighting any penalties, suspensions, or disciplinary actions. This ensures compliance with federal regulations and confirms practitioners’ good standing.

International Background Checks: For candidates with international backgrounds, various checks can reveal criminal records, education credentials, and employment history from other countries. These checks are essential for individuals who have lived, worked, or studied abroad.

Step 5: What Do You Communicate To The Candidate?

It’s crucial to have an open dialogue with candidates regarding the background check process so they understand what to anticipate. Be transparent about why the background check is necessary and encourage them to share any concerns. Candidates should know they have the right to review their background check results, dispute inaccuracies, and provide explanations for any flagged issues, either in writing or through discussion.

Under the FCRA, candidates have specific rights detailed in the “A Summary of Your Rights” document. When using a background check provider, you must:

Inform candidates about the background check and its potential impact on their employment prospects.

Obtain written consent from candidates before conducting the screening.

Issue a pre-adverse action notice if the results may lead to a decision not to hire. This notice should include a copy of the background check report, the candidate’s rights under the FCRA, and the contact information of the screening company.

Candidates should have an opportunity to dispute inaccuracies within a specified timeframe (typically five business days) before receiving a final adverse action notice if the decision not to hire is confirmed.

The EEOC recommends assessing each candidate’s criminal record individually, considering factors like the offense’s severity, time passed since the incident, and its relevance to the job. Providing candidates with an opportunity for an individualized assessment allows them to provide additional context and explanations for any past offenses.

Other Considerations for Employers

If you’re gearing up to conduct your first employment background check, here are a few extra pointers you should keep in mind:

Hiring For Remote Position

With remote work on the rise, video interviews are becoming the norm over in-person meetings. Adding an identity verification check can boost security. For a smoother remote hiring experience, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to hiring remote staff.

Delivery Times For Background Checks Vary

The time it takes for a background check depends on the types of searches involved. Basic checks can be done almost instantly or within the same day by some providers. However, certain services like county criminal record checks or employer and education verifications may take up to five days or longer, especially in areas where records aren’t digitized.

The FCRA requires Company Verification

According to FCRA rules, you need to confirm that your company is legitimate before ordering a background check. This verification process with a background check provider usually takes anywhere from one hour to one day to finish.

Use Free Background Checks At Your Own Peril

You can do a background check on your own, but it’s time-consuming and has risks. You might need to visit courthouses, fill out forms, and wait for responses. Plus, you risk losing candidates or getting incomplete information. Using social media for screening has its risks too, like seeing info that could lead to biased decisions.

You May Want To Conduct a Reference Check

Certain background check providers offer services for verifying employment and education, along with conducting professional reference checks. These interviews, featuring open-ended questions, can give insight into a candidate’s character, alignment with company values, and potential fit into company culture.

Consider Conducting Post-Hire Background Checks

Background checks aren’t a one-time deal. It’s typical to run post-hire background checks annually, especially in specific industries or positions. If you opt for this, ensure your background check consent form includes an “evergreen clause,” where permitted by state law.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Run a Background Check for Employment?

Here are 5 crucial steps to follow when running a background check on someone:

Step 1) Establish a Background Check Policy

Step 2) Ensure Compliance With the Law

Step 3) Select a Background Check Provider

Step 4) Determine the Appropriate Types of Background Checks

Step 5) Inform the Candidate About the Check Results

Receive Detailed Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Proceed.

How Do You Create an Employer Background Check Policy?

An employer’s background check policy should outline the screening process, including which checks will be done, when, and how they impact hiring decisions. Find out more about crafting background check policies.

Are Background Checks Governed by Federal, State, or Local Law?

Absolutely, background checks are bound by laws, and it’s the employers’ responsibility to ensure compliance. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal issues. Discover more about consent forms, adverse action, ban-the-box, and Title VII.

How Do You Choose a Background Check Company?

Choosing the right background check service for your company depends on various factors like hiring volume, business size, and budget. Here are some key features to consider:

  • Ensuring compliance is built-in
  • Streamlined adverse action processes
  • Support for individualized assessments
  • Flexible screening packages
  • Providing a positive candidate experience
  • Integration with your HR technology

What Do Different Types of Background Checks Show?

Background checks come in different types and can reveal a lot about a candidate to an employer. These may include criminal records, civil court records, driving history, drug screening, employment and education verification, healthcare sanctions, and international background checks. For more details on which checks suit your needs, check out “Step 4: What Are The Different Types of Background Checks?”

How Do You Communicate Background Check Results to an Employment Candidate?

It’s crucial to talk to candidates about your background check process so they understand what’s happening. Be transparent about why you’re doing the check, and encourage them to be open too. Let them know they can review their results, challenge any errors, and provide explanations if needed. Remember, candidates have rights under the FCRA, so make sure you follow those rules.

Make More Informed Hiring Decisions by Performing a Background Check

A background check is a valuable tool for building a top-notch team that drives your business forward. Customize your screening policy to fit your industry and roles, and partner with a provider who can deliver the insights you require while ensuring compliance. With informed hiring choices, you can enhance the quality of your hires and reduce risks.

At GoodHire, we simplify employment screening. Our dedicated team in the US offers expert advice on the best packages for your needs, saving you money by avoiding unnecessary screenings. Plus, our unmatched compliance knowledge ensures peace of mind. Discover how we can support you today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *