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Dos and Don’ts of Employment Background Screening

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Thursday, August 20, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Companies are always looking for ways to improve their recruiting process, whether it’s by reducing the time it takes to hire someone for a particular role or creating an efficient background screening for potential employees. 


So, really, recruiting is always an ongoing process. It never really ends--if you want to deliver the best recruiting experience for potential candidates or for your employees.


Being on top of things as well as trends is a must if you want to be sure that you're hiring the best people. However, there are times when the big picture is forgotten, and companies as well as entrepreneurs get lost in procedures and over screening procedures.

Let's look at the dos and don’ts for employment background screening.

The Dos

1.     Expand Your Information Spectrum.


You don't want to lose great candidates by looking only for a specific item such as experience. Instead, take into account a candidate's education, experience, criminal history, social media profiles and any other relevant information. The information gathered will help you have a more accurate idea of a person's capabilities, and if they might be a good fit for your company.


2.     Be Consistent.


Candidates applying for the same position should be subject to the same investigation process. It will ensure coherency in your HR department and avoid discrimination. Training your hiring managers is critical in this process.


3.     Have Written Policies in Place.


Your company’s written policies will ensure that each background screening is conducted under, and within, federal regulations. This also leaves little room for misinterpretation.

4.     Use a Professional Agency.


A professional agency will already have the processes and experience to run thorough background screenings on your potential candidates. An agency can do it faster and more thoroughly (than you might be able to do on your own).


Now, let's take a look at the Don'ts:

1.     Don't Skip or Bend the Law.

Every state has its rules for background checks. There are also federal checks and ones specific to the position you're hiring for. For example, employees that will be around young children, or dealing with sensitive corporate data, may undergo more scrutiny or fingerprinting may be required. Be sure to have your legal team informed before proceeding with background screening. It's better to be safe than sorry.

2.     Don't Limit Your Search.

Social media is so popular that there are usually vast amounts of publicly available information online about a potential candidate. Don't forget to use traditional methods such as calling former employers and colleagues.


3.     Don't Run Background Checks Without Proper Release Forms.


It’s critical to use a legally compliant consent form. The terminology must be in compliance with the law. It's better to be very careful than to face expensive lawsuits later.


4.     Don't Close Communications Channels.

Always look for positive and negative information. When you find something that worries you, talk to the applicant directly and don't let those misconceptions make a decision for you.


Background screenings are paramount when making a hiring decision. Most of the time a screenig is just another thing to do, on your already full plate--most people never have time to cover everything!


There's also the fact that recruiting may not be in your domain of expertise.  That's where a specialized agency, comes into play.


Over to you…what are your dos and don'ts when it comes to your employment screening procedures? We'd like to hear them (comment below!).

About the Author

ARS is a background screening company known for delivering robust and comprehensive background check services. Our clients include local government, healthcare, technology and banking organizations. 


ARS has established integrations with leading HR technologies for a seamless hiring experience.  As a result, clients gain more insight into their applicant's background, eliminate inefficiencies and vastly improve time to hire.


Tags:  ARS  background  blog  employee  employment  HR  human resources  mana  NCHRA  recruiting  screening 

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