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Steps to Conducting a Background Check

If you’re a person who works in management or Human Resources, then you should know that the employee hiring process isn’t easy. You’ll have to see if these people have the qualities that you need for your organization and check if they meet the qualifications necessary for a particular position. You also have to make sure that all of the information in their resume is nothing but fact. And one of the best ways of doing so is performing a background report check on potential employees. This article will talk you through the steps to perform this task effectively and efficiently.

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Steps for conducting easy background checks

There are a lot of companies that don’t do background checks simply because it takes time and money to actually do so. This is an issue for concern since not conducting one could potentially be damaging to your business. Employers need to do background checks to give them peace of mind that they’re hiring the right person for the job. So here are the steps needed to do a proper background check:

Partner with a background check company

You need to do your research before you hire a background check company if you want a high-quality report . While you could search for information about the applicant online by yourself, you would not be getting complete information. By partnering with a professional background check company, you can save yourself all of the headaches that are usually involved in trying to figure out whether a particular applicant is exactly the person that he or she claims to be. Professional background screening companies will be able to:

  • Verify that they are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • Offer full-service background checks including verification of the data that they were able to compile
  • Show their affiliation with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners

Conducting checks before and possibly after hire

Conducting background checks prior to hiring someone may mitigate the risk of negligent hiring claims. Plus, you want to make sure that the person you’re hiring doesn’t have any criminal records that could damage your company’s reputation. It’s also a good idea for businesses to consider doing background checks after the applicants have become employees. This will help ensure that your employees’ behavior is above reproach.

Ask for consent

Note that you must always ask for an applicant’s consent before you proceed to do any sort of background check. Failure to get consent to do the background check or not making use of the proper forms are two of the top reasons that companies can be taken to court. The FCRA states that the consent form should be clearly marked and obvious to the applicant. Basically, it should state that the applicant is willing to hand over all of the information regarding himself/herself to the future employer. You can opt to use online applicant consent forms to make it easier for applicants to understand that you’re going to do a background check.

Align background checks with the position being filled

A good way to reduce the amount of time and cost it takes to do a background check is to base them on the positions that the applicants are trying to fill. Creating a process or document to choose screens based on jobs is one of the best ways to simplify the background check process. Plus, it ensures that applicants have the qualifications needed in order to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position that they are applying for.

Online application

One way to make the hiring process quicker is by making sure that all of the information that you gather is accurate. With paper forms and data entry, there’s a huge chance that human errors can delay the hiring process. With an online portal, the procedures required for hiring become more streamlined. The documents can also be stored online so that they can be easily accessible. The potential for non-compliance would also be lessened.

Follow adverse action procedures

Part of complying with the FCRA is to correctly follow adverse action procedures in the event that the background check yields some very questionable results. An employer cannot just disregard an applicant should the information gathered from the results of the background check looks a bit too suspicious. With adverse action procedures, one can dictate that the applicant will immediately be notified about the discrepancies found after the background check and he or she would be given ample time to dispute or possibly correct it.

Document the entire background checking process

One of the best ways to ensure that your hiring and screening process remains consistent is by continually documenting the process. If this is done well, then it will make sure that the hiring process is efficient and less likely to cause any sort of compliance issues with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the FCRA. Hiring procedures are always going to be subject to change as new state or federal laws get implemented. Knowing what screens are required and  what compliance procedures are effective will help make the background screening process easier for those in the  Human Resources department.

Dos and don’ts of conducting employee background checks

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while doing a background check:

Be very thorough

Go through all of an applicant’s information if you want to make sure that this person is the right one to take up the unfilled position in your company. Check the applicant’s education, work experience, driving history, criminal background, and social media. A lot of companies can lose a lot of potential employees just because they take a look at only one of these items. They may also be the target of an EEOC investigation if ever they decide to exclude applicants who have criminal records, no matter what they were charged with or how long ago the offense was committed.

Do not discriminate

This is a problem that companies usually encounter as those in charge of hiring usually end up profiling applicants based on external factors without doing a thorough vetting. So it’s best that you conduct a proper applicant interview and treat each person that walks through your door equally. You do not want to get any form of discrimination complaints as this is just going to pull your company down.

Follow the law

Based on the way the background check is conducted, you’ll need to get a legal release form completed by the person applying for your company. Inform that person about his or her rights, and make sure that you provide that person with a copy of the report as well as adverse actions communications. Make sure that you do all of this or else you’re going to be receiving a lot of problems in the future for not following the law in terms of doing a proper background check.

Don’t attempt to bend the law

There are so many ways for you to do a background check in the wrong way and that’s something you should definitely avoid. As the employer, you’re going to have to be very careful and make sure that you follow the rules when it comes to your state or country’s laws regarding background checks. You can always check with your company’s legal counsel if you’re unsure about how to proceed.

Always be consistent

Make sure that the process for every single applicant is consistent. If there are five people applying for the same position, then make sure that the same searches and investigations are done to all of them. You have to guarantee that this is done to avoid any sort of discrimination charges against you and your company. It should be obvious that different jobs require different levels of investigation, but make sure that the process for those that are applying for the same job are uniform.

Don’t fail to communicate

If ever you find anything in the results of the background check that could highly affect whether or not the applicant is going to be hired, then you should at least try to talk with the applicant. There can be so many misconceptions, mistakes, and reporting errors that can easily be resolved if one were just to conduct a face-to-face meeting.

Do locate patterns

Just because an applicant did one good or bad thing, that should not be the basis of how you’re going to define him or her, and it definitely shouldn’t determine their ability to do a job. Try to see everything that the applicant is able to do, both the good and the bad, and then you can make the decision whether or not you would like to hire this person for your company.

Don’t just focus on the negatives

A lot of background reports are used as a way to pinpoint the negatives of an applicant. This is definitely wrong as it should also be used as a means to find the positives. This will help you make a fair decision on whether this person should be hired to take over a particular position.

Make use of a professional agency to aid with your background check

Screening companies that have made names for themselves will do a far better job of locating the information that you’re going to want. They have all the experience and skills needed that are required to be both accurate and efficient. They also prevent you from viewing data that could lead to the violation of either state or federal law. While it may cost you a bit more compared to hiring a cheaper alternative, the benefits that you reap are definitely going to be worth the money you spend.

Don’t do a limited search

You can’t expect to find all of the information you need from the applicant’s social media page. You also can’t rely on the Internet to provide you with everything that you could possibly need. The only way that you’ll be able to legally obtain concrete data that will help you with a background check is for you to hire a licensed background check firm to help you out. While it may be a bit costly, isn’t the price worth it to make sure that you’re getting the employee that you both want and need?

We hope this article provided you with precious nuggets of information about background checks. Do check out our other articles on a variety of work-related topics.

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