Background Checks

Employee screening
Employee screening

Some companies are hiring – yours might even be one of them. For those that are, chances are you might need a background check in addition to reviewing the resume and checking references. More and more companies are turning to background checks and outsourcing an employee screening agency to save on time and money in the long run.

Background checks can provide many different types of information, such as a credit report, a medical record, a criminal background check, or even a detailed driving history. The amount of information that your business can pull up on a prospective employee will usually depend on the type of job that is being offered. Personal information like a medical record or a credit report needs to be related to the job offer to be considered relevant information. Also, even in cases where the information is standard for your industry, permission from the applicant in the form of a written background check consent form is required.

To perform a background check – with or without an agency – you generally only need a social security number and an accurate address. This information is easy to come by, and can even be found on a resume for easy access. This is the reason that there are federal regulations regarding background checks.

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires your business to obtain not only a consent from the applicant, but also provide a valid reason for the request, as well as a guarantee from your business that the information will only be used for business purposes. In addition, there are also policies that protect any prospective employees’ rights as an applicant.

If your business decides to not hire someone because of information found on their employment screening, then the FCRA needs you to provide the employee with a pre-adverse action disclosure form and sometimes additional proof that you acquired the information validly. Some records that are found during an employment background check may not be legally used as a determining factor in your applicant’s hiring process.

Certain medical records (provided that they are not directly related to the job) cannot be used to deny employment, as well as certain information that can only be found with a criminal background check. Many businesses choose to hire employment screening agencies for these reasons, since reputable agencies will have more knowledge of the rules and regulations of employee screening.

However, any information that an agency pulls up on a prospective employee is still pulled up under your business’ request, so any misuse of background data will still be considered the fault of your business. If you are looking to work through an agency, make sure that you research the company beforehand.

Check into their customer service, their reporting process (what format they use, and how are their reports presented, etc.), and also what specific services they offer. Background check agencies do not only work for employers, and can offer comprehensive searches with detailed criminal checks that may not benefit your search. Making sure that you hire an agency you can trust will save you time and get you the most bang for your buck. More importantly, an accurate employment background check will help ensure you pick the right employee for a job inside your company.

David Liu is a writer and comedian based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for Resource Nation, an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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