The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 92% of employers conduct employment background screening. Whereas most surveyed respondents performed checks during the hiring process, others continued to monitor employees’ backgrounds throughout their employment.
Why Run Background Checks?
Background screening can provide valuable information about potential hires. Some of the things you can glean from employment screening include the following:
- Criminal history
- Motor vehicle violations
- Poor credit history
- Misrepresentation of information during the hiring process
- Civil suits
Finding the right person for your organization can be a challenge. Resumes and interviews don’t always give you the full picture of a candidate, and many employers use employment screening services to help them get a deeper insight into the character of potential hires.
Reasons Employers Conduct Background Checks
There are many reasons to conduct background checks on potential employees. Which checks you run will depend on the role and your industry, but you have many options to help you hire the best person for the job. Here are a few reasons to consider background searches:
- Safety. Conducting a thorough background search protects your employees, customers, the public, and your business and prevents claims of negligent hiring should your new hire prove to have a criminal history or poor driving record.
- Authenticity. Many job seekers exaggerate their qualifications to improve their chances of receiving a job offer. Conducting a background check can verify the accuracy of information obtained during the interview process, such as positions held, dates worked, and duties performed.
- Credentials. For many roles, particularly those in healthcare, it’s vital to have the proper licenses and certifications. A thorough background check can provide professional license verification, employment verification, academic verification, and more.
How Often Should You Check Employees’ Backgrounds?
The vast majority of employers conduct background checks at the pre-employment stage. However, some employers also check backgrounds annually, when an employee is promoted or changes jobs, or for other reasons. Circumstances change, and you never know when an employee is undergoing something in their personal life that might affect their character or values. Continuous screening of current employees can help your company avoid potential safety issues or claims of hiring negligence.
Legal Considerations of Background Searches
Employers must comply with federal, state, and common laws when performing background checks on potential hires. Employers conducting background checks should familiarize themselves with the following federal laws:
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity Laws
- Immigration Reform and Control Act
State and common laws may have additional requirements for conducting background checks that respect the privacy of job seekers. To avoid claims of invasion of privacy, defamation, or worse, employers should consult legal counsel to ensure compliance.
Why You Need A Consistent Background Check Policy
It is essential to have a consistent background check policy in place to ensure that hiring managers treat all job seekers fairly. Creating a policy that applies to all candidates will prevent discrimination and protect your company from liability. A comprehensive policy will ensure that pre-employment screenings are legal, effective, and universal.
Making a plan to run background checks consistently:
- Creates clear guidelines. It’s essential to have clear and consistent guidelines for conducting pre-employment screening for potential hires and current employees so that hiring managers and human resources employees understand their responsibilities.
- Ensures compliance. Laws change. Having a policy in place ensures compliance and a regular review of federal, state, and common laws affecting background checks.
- Differentiates role requirements. An effective background screening policy defines which checks should be performed for each role, depending on the level of responsibility. For example, a senior manager who will be privy to confidential information will require a more extensive background check, whereas an entry-level employee might require only a basic screening.
- Gathers consent. Having a consistent policy creates the opportunity to inform all potential hires that the company is conducting a background search and gather written consent for the process.
- Prevents discrimination. Conducting background checks on some candidates but not others opens up your company to potential discrimination lawsuits. Having a policy ensures background checks are performed on ALL potential hires.
Does Your Company Need Help With Background Screening?
Whether you need to conduct criminal record searches, civil background searches, motor vehicle record searches, or more, Metrodata Services can make the process faster and easier. We’re happy to design an employment screening package to fit your organization’s unique needs. Let us handle federal, state, and local compliance issues while you focus on building your business. Contact Metrodata Services today to learn how we can help you hire productive, reliable employees.