An effective background screening policy has become an integral component of hiring and overall company success. However, before utilizing this valuable tool, there are certain matters to consider. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself or your company at risk for penalties or even a lawsuit for illegal hiring discrimination.
To help you adhere to background check best practices, here are a few fundamental do’s and don’ts to follow as part of a solid background screening policy.
Do’s and Don’ts When Performing Background Checks
Do: Be Compliant With State Laws
First things first, it’s important to understand that every state has its own laws for background screening. Before drafting a policy, research the guidelines specific to your area or reach out to professionals certified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act for assistance. Doing so helps mitigate future risk and sets up your policy for long-term success.
Do: Develop a Written Policy
Speaking of policies, another crucial “do” is to establish a written policy outlining the screening process if you don’t have one already. Within this document you should include relevant local and federal laws, how the checks are conducted and what is required of the candidate. That way, candidates have a clear understanding of the company’s requirements and all background checks follow the same procedures and standards. A separate policy should be written if using social media as part of the screening.
Don’t: Rely on Online Searches & Social Media
As one of the most common background check mistakes, this approach can put employers at a greater risk for a discrimination lawsuit due to privacy laws and the personal nature of social platforms. It could also lead to inaccurate conclusions — both positive and negative — as social media creates a false persona and operates under the guise of familiarity. For optimal and dependable results, you should consider steering clear of social media.
Don’t: Discount a Candidate With a Criminal Record
Laws prohibiting employers from asking about criminal backgrounds on applications are becoming more prevalent with many states now operating under “ban the box” laws. Going forward, it’s advised to avoid blanket policies that reject candidates simply because they have a record.
Do: Run a Comprehensive Check
To make the most informed decision, you need to cover all the necessary elements. A comprehensive screening can give you the most relevant information and a thorough assessment of the candidate. Comprehensive checks ought to include:
- Criminal history
- Reference and credential check
- Driving record
- Credit and identity check
Don’t: Screen Without Permission
Transparency is key. You should always make the candidate aware of the company’s screening process and get written consent before running a check. Not only does a failure to obtain consent invalidate the results, but using the information gained could open you up to a costly lawsuit.
Get the Best Data Through a Licensed Organization
One of the most important do’s to not overlook is to partner with a professional background check company. Here at Global Verification Network, we provide rigorous background screening solutions for a wide range of organizations. We can help you get the most out of your company’s policy with our industry know-how, custom screening solutions and technology-driven services.
Please contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!