Is background screening for job applicants worth the time and effort? Definitely. Background screening should be an essential step of the hiring process, since it is a tool that helps identify the qualifications of a candidate to find out if they are a right fit for your organization. It also can be used to proactively ensure integrity in your organization and keep your employees safe.
Various types of background screens are available, ranging from checking criminal records, employment verifications, or even checking security clearances. The screens may be somewhat different for applicants based on their position; however, you must be consistent for all candidates and/or like positions. If background checks aren’t consistent and an applicant feels he or she has been discriminated against for not being selected, it could lead to unlawful hiring practices.
Employers must follow the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to obtain candidate information. Under the FCRA, employers must have written consent from the applicant and provide “A Notice of Rights.” Without prior written consent, it is illegal to run a background check. After you have received consent, screened and hired that applicant, you may run background screenings throughout the duration of their employment, on a random or scheduled basis.
In this competitive job market, some applicants may embellish or hide certain aspects of their past in order to land an interview or a job. Background screening can reveal if information was intentionally or inadvertently omitted by the candidate. If a background report reveals discrepancies, this is an opportunity for employers to fairly give candidates a chance to explain and clear the air, thereby allowing candidates to exercise their rights within the FCRA.
It’s possible that what was revealed has little to do with the position for which the candidate is being considered. Employers need to fairly weigh the results against the job requirements and pick the best candidate for the job. This is a best practice against unlawful hiring by employers and the assurance that indeed they are “hiring smart!”
The HR professionals at Staff One HR can assist you with recruiting, background screening, pre-employment assessments, and other essential parts of a sound hiring process. Contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.