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6 Tips for Small Business...

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If you are looking to start conducting employment background checks these six (6) tips will answer the questions that are top of mind.

  1. Yes, you need to get authorization from the applicants – employees to run a compliant background check. A professional background screening company can provide the required forms in paper or electronic delivery.  The authorization form must SPECIFICALLY alert the applicant – employee that the background check is being conducted and they must know which Background Screening Company (CRA) is conducting it.
  2. There is no such thing as a National – Instant Criminal Background Check that will uncover criminal records (State & Federal) in every state or county that your applicant – employee has lived in.  Don’t be fooled by the creative marketing.
  3. Driving Record – DMV searches conducted by your Insurance Broker shouldn’t be the only thing you do to screen employees.  Also, if you refuse to hire someone based on the driving record run by your Insurance Broker you can get yourself in trouble.
  4. A background check should be looked at as low cost business insurance. Most employee background checks run somewhere between $35.00 – $85.00.
  5. If you are in California the recommended hiring practice would be to extend a CONDITIONAL offer of employment, that is contingent on the background check.  Conducting Background Checks on your top three (3) candidates to see which one is clear of criminal records and then make the offer to him or her is not a compliant hiring practice.
  6. Applicants – Employees are entitled to a copy of the background check report that you run.  This is referred to as a Consumer Copy.

We hear that many employers try to tackle employee background screening on their own.  While the records and data are out there the rules (FCRA & State) around obtaining authorization to run a background, what records can be reported (arrest / charges / convictions) and how far back cases can be reported makes the whole background screening very difficult to manage if you don’t have expertise in this area.

The criminal record searches are part of many employment background check packages, but don’t forget about verifying prior employment and education.  We find that many applicants will lie or exaggerate about their work history and often report that they have degrees when they only have completed course work or have certificates from colleges and universities.