Pre-Employment Background Checks Importance

How Important Are Pre-Employment Background Checks?

July 17, 2019 8:12 pm

Pre-employment background checks can be a critical and eye-opening tool for businesses of all sizes. They can reveal detailed insights about your hiring choices, such as past salary, credit history, and driving and criminal records. Whether it is a customer service, management, or accounting role, it’s essential to know who exactly is sitting across the desk from you.

Unfortunately, most businesses are clueless about pre-employment background checks. They don’t know where to start and often overlook the crucial information. Here’s a closer look at these all-important vetting measures.

What’s Included in A Pre-Employment Background Check?

A basic background check is simple to conduct and is often limited to a candidate’s name, date of birth and social security number. A pre-employment check, on the other hand, requires a more specific approach and covers a lot more information on potential candidates. In most instances, it will provide you with the following data:

Criminal history: This tells you if the candidate is on probation, has ever been convicted of wrongdoing, is subject to outstanding warrants, or is on a government institute’s watchlist or sex criminal registry. Be careful to look at an applicant’s criminal history and determine how it may relate to the position in question.

Employment history: Details of the former companies a candidate has worked for will be revealed in this part of the screening. Take a closer look and do a bit of research on those companies to ensure you don’t end up hiring someone unsuitable.

Credentials and records: This screening verifies that the candidate has the appropriate licenses needed for the position. Examples of these licenses include the CPA, medical practitioner certifications or teacher’s license. Records pertaining to motor vehicles and other on-road activities also fall into this category. If you’re recruiting for a role that requires driving (courier, truck driver, etc.), see if the candidate has received any warnings or been involved in road accidents.

Credit history: Credit checks are vital to determine if the candidate is financially stable. This can have significant implications if they’ll be managing clients’ assets or will have access to your company’s budget. Employment credit checks are legal under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows employers to request credit reports on job applicants as long as they obtain written permission from the applicant.

Address history: These checks help trace the previous addresses of the applicants. Knowing where an applicant has resided makes it easier to cross-check other information and may reveal concerning patterns that indicate the need for a criminal check.

Is a Candidate’s Approval Necessary?

Yes, it is. It’s always better to get the applicant’s approval before ordering a pre-employment background check service. This needs to be done because of FCRA regulations, which say that job applicants are legally protected by state and federal laws that stop employers from running checks without the applicant’s permission.

Consent ensures that the candidate’s privacy is protected in compliance with hiring laws and helps protect the company from potential lawsuits.

Another reason to seek consent is to ensure that you don’t act in ways that could be perceived as discrimination against the candidate’s religion, genetic information, sex, disability, age, color, race, or national origin. The overarching aim is to ensure that every applicant is treated equally throughout the hiring process.

How Long Does a Background Check Usually Take?

Based on the amount of information being requested from a candidate, pre-employment background checks can take anywhere from two days to a couple of weeks. In some instances, they’re processed immediately. However, the fastest way to a background check report isn’t necessarily the best option.

In many cases, the quicker the processing of the report, the more inaccurate data or errors the document likely contains. Also, the company you choose for conducting the pre-employment background checks should be compliant with FCRA regs. Another thing to note is that no reliable screening company will provide you with a report for free. Free screening offers should raise a red flag.

The most reliable background check vendors will also take the following steps:

  • Ask the candidate to sign an independent release form. They’ll also make sure the candidate gets a “Summary of Rights” with an explanation of his or her entitlements under the FCRA.
  • Inform candidates about the negative findings. If the outcome includes details that may cause the interviewee to disqualify the interviewer, the job applicant would receive a “pre-adverse action” letter, as well as a document stating their rights before any action takes place.
  • Dispose of the records and findings after the hiring decision is made. To comply with the “Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act,” the employer needs to dispose of the pre-employment background records and information to protect against hacks and unauthorized use of the candidate’s information.
  • Make sure their client is in compliance with the time-based restrictions of their state. For instance, several states in the U.S. limit the period of past history that a company should consider while making a recruitment decision. Most background checking firms will relay details for the past 7-8 years.
  • Use the most up-to-date and legal practices in domains such as social media background information. Top pre-employment background check specialists are aware that what seems like a red flag could be a “red herring” in reality. Consequently, they’ll advise their clients to carefully think about how a candidate’s past may actually impact their job performance.

How Can I Streamline Pre-Employment Background Checks?

The most efficient way is to work with a recruitment agency like PrincePerelson. Get in touch with us and we’ll schedule a personal visit to your premises to get familiar with your unique objectives and culture.

Our agency recruiters specialize in helping clients during all phases of the hiring process, including pre-employment background checks. This hands-on approach is what keeps us thriving – and what helps our clients succeed.