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What Steps Should You Take Before Conducting a Background Check on a Potential Hire?

Conducting Background Checks in Western New York | Metrodata Services

You’re in the process of adding a new employee to your team in WNY, but first, you need to screen them. So, what steps should you take before conducting a background check on a potential hire? Here’s a brief overview.

Before Conducting a Background Check, You Should…

  1. Have a Policy in Place

    Without a company-wide policy, you may end up running background checks on some potential hires but not on others. Ultimately, this can get you into trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For example, even if you unintentionally screened one ethnic group more frequently than another, this would be considered discriminatory. By establishing a background screening program, you’ll treat everyone fairly. If you’re not sure how to put these standards into place, consult with your lawyer and insurance carrier.

  2. Partner with an FCRA-Compliant Service

    You may be tempted to skip the formal background check and run a quick search online. It is cheaper, faster, and easier. Right? Wrong! Many of these services clearly state they should NOT be used to conduct pre-employment background checks because they don’t comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA protects potential hires (and all consumers) from incorrect information. To receive the most accurate and law-abiding reports, look for screening providers that are FCRA-Compliant.

  3. Make a Contingent Job Offer

    Currently, 36 states, the District of Columbia, and over 150 cities and counties have adopted Ban-the-Box laws. (NELP, 2020) Ban-the-Box laws help applicants with criminal records to find employment without being judge unfairly. Therefore, you may not be allowed to ask about a candidate’s criminal history until you make a job offer. This could include job applications, interviews, AND pre-employment background screenings. Of course, a contingent offer still may depend on the successful completion of a background check. An accredited background screening provider can walk you through any required procedures.

  4. Notify Your Potential Hire

    According to the FCRA, your organization must let potential hires know you are planning to run a background check. Your candidate should understand this screening may impact the hiring decision. In addition, they can request a copy of their report AND contest any inaccurate information. This Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act needs to be a stand-alone document. It cannot be hidden within the other application materials.

  5. Receive Their Consent

    Once a potential hire understands and agrees to the terms of the background screening, they will sign a consent form. This can be either an in-person or electronic signature. To learn more about this process, read What Consent Do I Need to Run A Background Check on A Candidate? Finally, you’ll need to collect their full name, social security number and date of birth. And THEN, you’re ready to start that background check.

Are You Looking to Run Background Checks in WNY?

Metrodata Services is WNY’s leading pre-employment screening service. As an FCRA-compliant provider, we can help you make the best possible hiring decisions while following all the rules and regulations. Learn more about the benefits of working with Metrodata today!

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