Pre-employment background checks are used by over 80 percent of businesses to determine a candidate’s job eligibility. The information provided in a background check can include criminal history, education and employment verification, MVR records, drug testing, and more depending on how thorough your check must be to ascertain job qualification.

In an age of endlessly available information, you may be tempted to perform your own “Google background check” on your applicants before deciding whether or not to hire. However, you may be better off avoiding an open internet search because it can provide you with information that should not be factored into a pre-employment decision.

 Why you shouldn’t Google your candidates

Conducting a “Google background check” on your candidate can lead you to see protected class information such as the individual’s age, gender, race, or religious affiliation, and using any of this protected information in a hiring decision can invite costly litigation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought charges against 9 different companies in October of 2015 alone due to alleged use of protected information like age and disability in hiring.

One of the easiest ways to avoid discriminating is to ensure your hiring policies and procedures are clear, detailed, and applied globally such that hiring managers are led to the best candidate solely by assessing job qualifications. “If you don’t reject applicants of one ethnicity with certain financial histories or criminal records, you can’t reject applicants of other ethnicities because they have the same or similar financial histories or criminal records.”

Be careful about how you use an applicant’s information and avoid any decision that may look like discrimination. Using an objective third party provider, such as InfoMart, to obtain background check information can prevent you from seeing protected candidate details. These checks are allowed under law and serve as proof of a company’s due diligence and of the applicant’s ability to do the job.

A professional background screener can help you with compliance

Hiring decisions are tough; you want to find the best person for a job without breaking any discrimination laws or adversely affecting any protected population. An experienced background screening provider has knowledge of the legal landscape and how to implement a screening program that complies with all federal, state, and local laws.

When it comes to assessing your candidates for job eligibility and qualifications, you can get more comprehensive and useful information from accredited consumer reporting agencies. Professional background screeners can advise you on best practices for screening for particular positions, such as entry-level and management.

Professional screeners are also knowledgeable about the eligibility requirements for many industries, such as transportation and healthcare, and have built networks of reliable sources for collecting pertinent employment information. Companies like InfoMart can conduct a “needs assessment” that allows us to tailor your screening program to your hiring goals.

Unlike internet searches on your applicants, professional background checks can provide you the information you need to make the best hiring decision for your company while ensuring you don’t use protected information as a deciding factor. They also often provide compliant consent and authorization and disclosure forms so that the information collected is legally useable.

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