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What Your Company Should Know About Employee Background Checks

January 24, 2017

Employee background checks have become part and parcel of the hiring process for many companies, big or small, and whether potential employees relish the prospect of having their backgrounds delved into or not, it certainly gives company owners greater control and peace of mind, over who they employ. That isn’t to say that someone you take on with a clean background, won’t later prove themselves to be wrong for the job, but the risk is certainly reduced.

Recent surveys have shown that up to 70% of employers carry out background checks, but should you be unsure as to whether you and your company should carry them out, please read on to find out more:

Why should your company carry out background checks for job applicants? 

A wrong hiring decision can come back to haunt you, and with your company, its’ employees and clients to protect, you need to do everything that you can to make the right decision.

Conducting background checks is one way of helping to ensure that you find the right employee for the job, and helps to reduce the time and cost expended should you make a poor hiring decision.

There is also the risk of costly and reputation damaging lawsuits, should an employee that you didn’t make the effort to thoroughly vet, turn out to be unethical or dishonest. 

Here are some important points to consider when running employee background checks: 

  • Don’t be tempted to run your own search online - not everything can be found this way and much of the relevant information can only be found when a licensed background check firm, conduct the checks 
  • Always use a professional agency – firms that are licensed to carry out such checks will do the job far quicker and more thoroughly than you ever could, and if doing it yourself, there is always the risk of data being viewed that is a violation of state or federal law 
  • Don’t make yourself a target for an EEOC investigation – try to look at a wide range of information and don’t focus solely on whether a person has a criminal record, otherwise you might find yourself being targeted for an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. 
  • Abide by the law – ensure that all applicants sign a legal release form before you conduct a background check, and that they are informed of their rights. You will also need to provide them with a copy of the report, and ideally converse personally with individuals with whom there may be an issue. 
  • Keep the process consistent for all applicants – identical searches and investigations should be carried out for each applicant, and while different jobs may of course require different levels of investigation, those applying for the same job should be screened in the same manner. 

The best way to ensure that you stay in line with federal and state requirements when conducting background checks for applicants, is by hiring the services of a professional company who deal with these on a regular basis. You will also get quicker and more accurate results. 

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