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Can You Use Background Checks When Hiring a Candidate?


When carried out properly, background checks can be an invaluable element of any recruitment process. They are an important part of building a reliable team. Only compliant third-party services should conduct background checks. According to credible sources such as UnMask, when done correctly, pre-employment screening can ease concerns over the risk of hiring unfit candidates for your company.

Types of Background Checks

Pre-hire background checks look for legal issues such as convictions and employment and education verification. The most common type of employment-related background check is the one performed prior to hiring. Usually, these are done for candidates who have received a conditional offer. Another type of background check is the ongoing background checks run by companies on existing staff members.

You can run many types of searches, regardless of whether you are screening a current or potential employee. Most third-party providers offer the option to pay for a specific screening package or a preset one. A basic plan might include a Social Security trace and a state and federal criminal search. Furthermore, a complex one might include a credit history check, an additional statewide search, employment, and education verification, a drug test, and a motor vehicle record check.

Benefits of Running Background Checks When Hiring

Since the majority of job candidates give false information during interviews or on their resumes, using background checks is the most effective way to make sure you’re learning the truth. Below, we list the benefits of using background checks when hiring.

Avoid Poor Choices

Opinions on what makes an employee suitable for a job can differ. While a conviction for a minor and irrelevant crime shouldn’t necessarily lead to rejection, it still gives insight into the person’s character and the degree to which they can be trusted.

A background check will confirm whether a candidate is telling the truth about previous employment and education history. If it emerges they lied, what would stop them from lying about other things once you give them the job?

Ensure Workplace Safety and Fitness for the Job

Positions for armed security personnel and jobs in finance and accounting, among others, are considered high-trust. Financial history screening can help you determine whether a candidate is suitable as your accountant or CFO. Someone who’s committed a violent crime will not be the best option for a security job. Therefore, screening reduces theft and violence in the workplace by revealing an applicant’s criminal record.

Reduce Legal Costs and Liability

If a new hire with a criminal record is involved in an incident, you can face high legal costs and, sometimes, grave liability. It can come to that if you’re accused of negligent retention. This is when a staff member accuses an employer of failing to discharge or terminate another staff member who has inflicted material damage or caused harm to someone at work.

Managing Screening Results

It’s not recommended to run your own background checks in the context of hiring, since you can face the risk of a lawsuit if you don’t partner with an FCRA-compliant company. The FCRA is a federal law that was adopted in 1970. In its present-day version, it includes guidelines and rules on how companies and other organizations can access and use job candidates’ personal data.

Inform Candidates

Your candidates should know upfront that your company runs background checks when hiring – it’s only fair to warn them. What’s more, it allows you to sift those who know the results of a background check will lead to their elimination. Don’t go into background screening without a well-established policy for performing it.

Make a Conditional Job Offer

In light of ban-the-box laws in multiple states, you must not perform a background check before making an offer that’s contingent on passing.

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