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Employment Screening Best Practices

Pre-employment background screenings are a critical component of safe hiring practices. Doing the work to ensure that candidates are who they say they are, that they have the experience and credentials required for the job and that there are no red flags in their past that might indicate a risk to your organization provides real value for your company in the following ways:

  • Risk mitigation
  • Asset protection
  • Improved employee morale
  • Improved performance and productivity
  • Increased safety and security

To get the most benefit from your background check policy, use the following checklist of best practices:

BEST PRACTICES CHECKLIST FOR SAFE AND COMPLIANT SCREENINGS

Policies

  • Draft a comprehensive background check policy for your organization that is position-specific.
  • Include information such as why the level of screening is relevant to the job and what findings disqualify a candidate from the position.
  • Share information openly about your policy with all members of your organization. 

Forms and Documents

  • Familiarize yourself with the language that can and cannot be used on release forms.
  • Instruct candidates to sign at least two separate documents – a background check authorization form and a disclosure form. In the case of worldwide background screenings, applicants may need to sign multiple country-specific forms.
  • Remove liability waivers from forms as they violate FCRA regulations. 
  • Include the screening agency’s contact information on all documents and forms.
  • Remove verbiage from application forms that violate “ban the box” laws. For example, any questions such as “have you ever been convicted of a crime” need to be taken out. 
  • Store all authorizations, disclosures, and reports as dictated by law.
  • Issue both pre-adverse and adverse action notice when necessary.

Compliance

  • Use an accredited Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) to conduct all background screenings.
  • Screen applicants in conformance with all industry-specific regulations that apply, such as long-term care facilities, financial institutions, transportation jobs, or educational positions.
  • Meet with your legal team and your background check vendor regularly to discuss necessary compliance updates.

Hiring

  • Avoid blanket statements such as “convicted felons need not apply.”
  • Run background checks consistently across all applicants.
  • Check international applicants consistently as well.
  • Evaluate screening reports in accordance with EEOC guidelines, always considering factors such as the gravity of the offense, time passed, rehabilitation, and relevance to the position at hand.
  • Allow applicants the requisite time to dispute or correct information before making a final hiring decision.
  • Assess the need for ongoing, recurring checks.

Solid Practices Lead to Solid Hires

Following these best practices will help your company onboard great talent and move towards the future.  

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