Background Checks in HR: Why They're Important

Anybody who pursues a career in HR will likely come across the concept of “background checks” at some point. After all, many businesses find it important to run checks on new employees before extending an offer letter. This pre-employment screening helps employers see criminal, financial, and employment history of a candidate before deciding whether or not they’re a good fit for the organization. Even the most extensive application process doesn’t validate any employment or education experience without some deeper digging. The phrase “trust, but verify” is a great mentality to have when approaching the hiring process. Companies get burned all the time by hiring on seemingly quality candidates only to find out the skills and experience they claimed to have were all a lie. By running simple background checks on your employees, you can ensure every hire you make is a good one and decrease your turnover rate in no time. Not convinced? Read on.

Save Money

In the competitive job market we find ourselves in today, it isn’t uncommon for job candidates to falsify information on resumes and applications. In fact, one out of every four people admits to padding their resume in order to secure a job, according to an international survey done by First Advantage. Running a background check to verify an employee's employment or education history ultimately saves you the time, money, and stress that are otherwise spent on hiring a poor candidate. However, there can be much higher repercussions for failing to run a background check. The U.S. Department of Commerce states that 33% of all business failures are a direct result of employee theft and The Department of Justice says that 18% of all violent crimes result from workplace violence. (SOURCES) And this doesn’t begin to cover the damages that can arise from negligent hiring cases.

Make Smarter Hiring Decisions

Typically, any job that involves working with children, cash, or sensitive information is a no-brainer for running background checks on employees. However, that doesn’t mean other companies shouldn’t consider it. Background checks can reveal anything from a criminal history to consumer reports, depending on what kind of check you’re running. At Dominion, we’ve recently partnered with Verified First to include an option during our Onboarding process that lets Employers run background checks on employees right from within our software. With Verified First’s software, you can build a package that’s perfect for your business and gather the information you want to ensure you’re hiring the best possible candidate.

Want to learn more about what Verified First can do for your Onboarding Processes? Click here!

Maintain Privacy

For those hesitant about background screening for fear of breaching a candidate’s privacy, keep in mind that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has put in place standards across the nation that mandate what information may not appear in background reports from external sources*. Some examples of what information may not be included in these background checks include:

  • Bankruptcies - After ten years

  • Civil lawsuits and records of arrest - After seven years

  • Paid Tax Liens - After seven years

  • Accounts placed for collection - After seven years

  • Other negative information besides criminal convictions - After seven years

*Keep in mind that for jobs with an annual salary greater than $75,000, these restrictions do not apply.

Keep In Mind

There are a few important things employers should know if they’re going to run background checks on their job candidates. First of all, they must always ask for the candidate’s consent before running a background check and inform them that the results could factor into whether or not they receive the job. This notice must be in writing, not in the employment application. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the report you receive comes from a certified background screening company, such as Verified First.

Finally, keep in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes it illegal for you to discriminate against job candidates because of the information you receive this way. Any information related to the candidate’s race, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, or any other genetic information that is gleaned from the check cannot be a factor in the decision-making process. One of the best ways to show the EEOC that you aren't discriminating job candidates because of their history is by joining the Ban the Box movement, which encourages employers to remove the checkbox on employment applications that asks the applicant if they have a criminal record. By doing this, you can move candidates forward based on their merits alone, and run your background checks at the tail end of the application process.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. By running background checks on your job candidates, you can feel confident in every hire you make. See how Dominion Systems and Verified First can do this for you by clicking below!

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