Dealing With Background Checks in Your Small Business

criminal background check

Hiring new employees can be a daunting task as you filter through an onslaught of applications, set up interviews and meet with candidates. It’s a non-stop process that occurs throughout the business world on a daily basis. Fortunately, this necessary undertaking has a beginning, middle and end. It’s the end of the process where things get serious. Once you’ve reduced the pool of applicants to those who have the most potential, it comes down to making a choice. Background checks can take much of the guessing out of your final decision. Having a consistent policy for screening new candidates should be a part of your business plan.

Why Are Background Checks Important?  

•From corporations to small business, employees have access to accounts and other private information. Hiring an employee who lacks integrity puts your sensitive information at risk. The cost of hiring the wrong person is real, not just in time or energy, but in capital. 

•Adding someone to the team with a criminal background or who has been convicted of felony murder can place your people at risk. Claims of negligence are likely to follow, making the employer and company liable for negligent hiring practices. This seems to be a growing trend in the courts today. That’s why companies are turning to occasional background screenings to monitor current employees as well as new hires.

•A candidate’s work history should also be verified. This includes: professional licenses, accreditations, certifications, education and history of employment. An applicant may look wonderful on paper but are they truly qualified for the position. No background check is foolproof but performing your own due diligence is the safest strategy.

Cautions to Consider in Background Checks

•Before you go headlong into the screening process, it’s important to remember there are rules that employers must follow. Familiarizing yourself with the (FCRA) Fair Credit Reporting Act and the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines are essential to not crossing a line. Employment laws are not to be taken lightly. 

•Choosing social media as a method of screening should be met with consideration. It can open the door to bias and lead to discriminatory conduct by an employer. Also, social media is not always an accurate portrayal, as anyone can post anything about anyone. 

Choosing to Use Background-check Professionals

There are many questions when it comes to running background checks. How to run them? When to run them? What type to run? Who will run them? Whether you keep it in-house or farm it out, your company should have a standard policy. There are many pluses to hiring an outside agency to perform the screening. Hiring an accredited company will add a measure of reputability to the information you request. Make sure they know the guidelines specified by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Get all the facts upfront in terms of cost, fees and realistic timetable. Although you will need to pay for each screening, it may end up being more cost-efficient in the long run. The importance of hiring the right employee can’t be understated. Take the necessary steps to avoid mistakes and the pitfalls of a bad hire.

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