With over 50% of job applicants admitting to lying on a resume, it has become standard practice for a company to run a background check on its potential employees. However, potential issues with the process range from incomplete reports to privacy violations, so it’s important to conduct extensive research on background checking before implementing a program or hiring a screening company.

Consider these top five background check best practices to ensure that your business stays in good standing and is able find the best candidate for any given position.

Keep it Legal

While a background check is absolutely necessary to verify if a candidate is correct for your company, it has the potential to violate an applicant’s right to privacy if conducted improperly. Investigate all federal, state, local, and industry-specific laws that would apply to your hiring process before running any background checks.

One often overlooked aspect of running a legal background check involves providing your candidate with a release form giving the company permission to collect personal information about them. This form must explicitly detail which checks you will be conducting on the applicant and must be signed before any screens are conducted. Any background check conducted before collecting this pertinent form is considered an unauthorized invasion of privacy and is illegal.

Only Search for What You Need

While it might be tempting to run extra screens, it’s important to note that some checks necessary for one industry may be unnecessary for another. For example, a credit check should be run on any candidate seeking a financial position, but may be considered unnecessary for a warehouse associate.

Conversely, there are some screenings that you can’t afford to neglect. For example, in the healthcare industry you must run a screening to verify certain licenses and education.

Treat Everyone the Same

Be consistent with your screening processes. Showing favor for or prejudice against certain candidates is illegal and can rob your business of qualified employees. Create screening programs by position and consistently run the same screens on every individual applying for that job.

It may also be a good idea to eliminate “the box” from your screening form that asks whether a person has ever been convicted of a crime. About one in four adults in the U.S. has some sort of criminal history and asking about criminal history on an initial application can get you in trouble with the EEOC for unfair bias and disadvantage against a large population. Consider holding off on that discussion until the interview phase, and then be sure to run a broad and thorough screening if you need to determine whether the candidate has a troubling past.

Take it All in

It may be tempting to deny an applicant employment based on an undesirable portion of their past, such as a criminal history or an unsavory credit report, but consider applicable laws, the applicant’s history and qualifications, and the interview experience all together before making a final decision. Background screenings offer the opportunity to assess the facts about an applicant as a part of the greater whole that is their potential for successful employment.

Trust the Pros

Rather than having you or your HR department fight the internet to collect potentially outdated or incomplete data, the best way to ensure you get the most comprehensive information is to use an accredited background checking company. Select one that is reputable and experienced in conducting the screens you need. A professional third party background screener can help you maintain compliance with all applicable laws and collect the information you need to make the best hiring decisions for your company.

InfoMart is ready to be the company that takes your pre-employment background screening program to the next level. Reach out today.

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