Advanced Background Checks and Your Career: Why Employers Check Applicants
There are many reasons why an employer may want to do background searches when hiring new workers. It doesn’t matter the position of the applicant; the employer needs to know the truth about the education, financial history, and criminal record of the person who wants to work for them. Almost 50% of resumes sent to an employer contain some false information. Advanced background checks on job applicants protect them from future liability issues.
It is legal to ask questions and do a background search, but as an employer be sure to comply with laws set by the federal government. It protects applicants from discrimination and any unfair treatment during a hiring process. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces laws that protect applicants from discrimination due to their race, national origin, color, gender, disability, genetic information, and religion.
If you hire a company to do advanced background checks for you, make sure they comply with Fair Credit Reporting ACT, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The publication expounds on non-discrimination laws. To be on the safe side, review your state’s laws regarding background searches because, in some states, it’s illegal to use certain information for employment decisions.
In the US, some states restrict employers from accessing credit histories and inquiring about criminal convictions of an employee. Due to such developments, here are some of the things that you need to know when doing a background check.
Only Do a Background Check Where It’s Permitted
Employers who do Advanced Background Checks on Job Applicants always end up with the best applicant for the job. Some positions that involve financial and personal data cannot be entrusted to a person who is not responsible. With verified applicants’ information, the employer can choose the most suitable employee. This protects the employer from being held lawfully responsible for damages caused by unsuitable employee.
Get Written Authorizations
Advanced background checks can be done by a private investigator or company. However, the applicant must be informed that there will be an advanced background check and ask them to provide a written authorization. Also, this search is only done in states where applicant background checks are permitted.
All Applicants Must Be Treated Equally
As an employer, one should run checks on all candidates especially the finalists for the particular position. No applicant should fall under any protected category such as religion, color, gender, race, disability, national origin or any other category. Disqualify all candidates that do not meet your requirements and avoid rejecting any applicants due to their category.
Do Only Background Checks Allowed by Law
Verification of education and employment history of an applicant is allowed in most states. As an employer, one can also get driving records, bankruptcy filings copies, public posts in social media and drug tests. However, you need to handle such confidential information cautiously and must have the applicant’s permission.
Employers are not permitted to check an employee’s medical history. But, it is possible to inquire and follow the applicable law if the job at hand is not suitable for an applicant with some medical conditions and disabilities.
In some states, use of credit score is limited and only allowed if the employer is a financial institution. It may also be allowed if the applicant is suspected to have engaged in an illegal activity that will show on the credit score report.
Notify Applicants of Decisions Made Based On Background Findings
The employer must inform all applicants about employment decisions made based on the background search results. Allow the person to explain the negative information given before making the final decision. For all the applications rejected, the employer must provide information as to how the report was created and give contact details of the person or company that did the job.
Retain and Dispose Records As Required By Law
When an application is rejected, some applicants may opt to sue the employer. So, the employer needs to retain the search records of all applicants, including those who were rejected for about one year or until any discrimination charges are solved. However, some jurisdiction may need additional time, and after that, the employer can dispose the search reports in a way that ensures they can never be read or accessed by anyone. It can be burnt, shredded into small pieces and if electronic, it must be disposed of in a way that no one can read or use.
Why Conduct A Background Screening Before Hiring?
There are some reasons for every employer to check their existing employees or applicants. They include:
To Avoid Negligent Hiring Related Lawsuits
When an employee is responsible for any damage or harm in their line of duty, their employer is liable. To avoid such lawsuits employer should be cautious and must make sure to do advanced background checks.
To Avoid Working with Terrorists
Terrorist acts have increased, and even the most educated and least suspected people are joining terrorist groups. Employers check the history of their employers or job applicants to verify identity and improving security.
To Avoid Corporate Scandals
If an applicant is seeking a director or corporate executive position, the employer needs to conduct a thorough background search. People with such big jobs are highly scrutinized in their private and professional lives and can result in a corporate scandal if their part is not clean.
There are jobs that every state and federal law requires the employer to conduct advanced background checks. They include people seeking to work with children, the disabled and senior citizens. One must be thoroughly checked and cleared before they can get such jobs.
As an employer looking for new workers, it is advisable to follow the legal guidelines provided by the federal government or your state. Conducting advanced background checks are costly and complicated. So, if one is not sure, one should hire a lawyer who will help with complying to relevant regulations.