Last updated: November 27, 2023
Not all employers use employee background screening as part of their company’s hiring process. Those who do most likely run a pre-employment check. Then, once a candidate is brought on board, they are never subjected to another. That’s neither here nor there in most cases. That’s because the majority of people in the workforce don’t hide a checkered or sordid past. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
If you’re wondering if you should have the option to periodically run background checks, say if you have reasonable suspicion that you’ll find something. We believe the answer is yes. Having an open policy in regard to when an employee background screening may be required is a good idea. That way, if any suspicious activity is noticed or information received that could point to a potentially dangerous situation arising in the future, you are free to start digging into things a little deeper.
After all, employee safety is a huge responsibility for a business owner. It’s the number one reason a clean employee background screening and a negative drug test are required to be offered a position with a growing number of companies. There’s always the bottom dollar to consider as well. According to research completed by the U.S. Department of Labor, a bad hiring decision can cost you up to as much as $240,000 before it’s all said and done!
Breaking down the background screening
The term “employee background screening” is an all-encompassing one. There are several types of background checks that may be performed within the overall screening process. Before proceeding, though, the potential new hire must sign a consent form acknowledging that the company may investigate their past.
The types of background checks actually performed are decided by the employer. There’s no sense incurring an expense looking for information that won’t really matter one way or another in the long run. Still, in today’s competitive job market, applicants are more likely to falsify their job applications in some way. Maybe they exaggerate certain skillsets or educational credentials, perhaps.
Common background checks
Some of the background checks submitted most often by employers are listed below.
- Education verification—While not all jobs require specific types of education, if you’re filling a position that does, you should always ensure that someone has the right qualifications.
- Employment history—Some people falsify this information to impress potential employers. Couple that with a knack for carrying on witty conversation, and a candidate could possibly schmooze their way into getting the job.
- Drug testing—Promoting a drug-free workplace is a great deterrent for people who use drugs. Many refuse to apply for jobs where they test drug test employees.
- Criminal background check—Checking state and local law enforcement agencies for misdemeanors or, worse, felony charges are the best way to discover if someone has a violent nature or some other hidden issue that could cause problems in the future.
- Credit check—Some states don’t allow employers to check credit unless the position being filled requires handling money. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
- Driving record—Your insurance provider is sure to require a driving record check if the position being filled requires driving company vehicles. Checking someone’s driving history could shed some light on whether or not they are responsible as well. Repeated offenses could lead someone to suspect a non-compliant nature.
- References—Checking references provides valuable insight as well. How others view the person you hope to bring on board can give you an idea as to how they will fit in with your company culture.
Less common and more time consuming
Fingerprint background checks allow for a deeper dig looking for any criminal history the applicant may have on their record. Fingerprints are collected at a verified FBI substation and run through their huge database. This background check covers the entire United States. Moreover, an international search can be done as well if necessary.
This type of background check is required in some states if the individual will be working with children, older or disabled adults, or is working in the law enforcement or medical industry. Moreover, fingerprint searches are an excellent way to discover if someone has been added to the sex offender registry.
Stay within your boundaries
It’s important to remember to check with any state regulations in regard to employee background screening. The right to privacy is nothing to be infringed upon. Doing so could get very costly should someone decide to bring a lawsuit against the company. And in today’s world, if there’s a glimmer of hope that someone can win a case brought against a business…
It may be beneficial to work with a third-party service that is familiar with the laws in your state. If you have a large turnover, though, it might be more cost-effective for you to purchase background screening software that is built into an applicant tracking system. Talent management software often includes the appropriate legalese to get permission for employee background screening from each candidate too.
Talent searches can be an arduous process. However, doing your due diligence is the best way to cut the hiring process short. And, taking the time to complete a background screening gives you the most assurance that you’re welcoming the right person for the job on board. Taking the information received on job applications and accompanying resumes at face value can result in repeating the hiring process over and over again. Eventually, your company culture is going to be negatively affected—and things can really go downhill quickly in all aspects of your business from there.
Hiring the wrong person for the job is in no way efficient. Moreover, as we mentioned near the beginning of this article, it can grow to a large expense quickly. Repeating it over and over isn’t beneficial at all.