The Top 5 Mistakes You’re Making on Background Checks


The Top 5 Mistakes You’re Making on Background Checks

If you have arrived at this article, you have probably already made the decision to background screen. Congratulations! You have taken the first step in protecting your business from a number of unnecessary risks. Go ahead, take a moment, pat yourself on the back!

Even the most successful business background screening programs make mistakes, though. They may not be comprehensive enough, may be discriminatory, or only focused on new hires. Check the list below, and see if you are making any of the most common mistakes in employer background screening!

  1. Background screening only full and part time employees
    • As we’ve discussed previously, it is vital to background screen not just your direct hires, but also your vendors, contract workers, and freelancers. By performing a background screen, you reduce your liability from these relationships and start them off on the right foot.
  2. Only using social media in your decision making
    • Personal information on anyone is now just a web search away. It can be very tempting to seek this out, and read a candidate’s every tweet about their love of macaroni and cheese. But the information you find on that candidate’s social media profiles may, as inadvertent as it might be, lead you to a discriminatory decision.
  3. Not asking the candidate for permission
    • It is vital to secure disclosure and consent from a candidate. While there are some states with extremely strict laws, like New York, an employer should always be exceptionally aware that they should secure a candidate’s written permission before performing a background screen.
  4. Not screening existing employees
    • Everyone expects to background screen a new hire, but more and more companies are implementing background screens for those who already work there. An entry level employee who has been promoted through the ranks may not have been screened in 5 or more years, exposing your company to risk as their responsibility increases. The level of screening they undergo should reflect their level of responsibility.
  5. Not giving them time to respond
    • You have performed a screen, and found something questionable. You must inform the candidate about the issue! This is done for a number of reasons, from legal compliance to error clarification. For instance, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires a two-step notification process before a candidate can be passed over.

A background screening program should always be mindfully run. By staying aware of new regulations, keeping your procedures in check, and broadening your screening net, companies can keep their focus on doing business.


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