How to Run Background Checks on Job Applicants

background checks

When you are hiring new candidates to take on roles in your company, you may require additional information that they have not provided on their resumes or during the interviews.

Running background checks on job applicants is important in ensuring that you make the right hires. You need to know what kind of people you are allowing into your organization, and if there is anything to be concerned about, this is how you can find out.

This is why nearly 69 percent of organizations claim to have conducted a criminal background check on all of their job candidates. Also, another 18 percent conducted checks on selected job finalists.

It is important for you as an employer to do whatever it takes to make the right hire. However, this doesn’t give you the ability to dig into a candidate’s personal history without first obtaining their permission.

In the past, companies have been sued by candidates who felt that their privacy was invaded. If you don’t run your background checks the right way, you could end up in court, so it is important to know how to go through the process the right way.

Here are a few tips on how to effectively run a background check:

Learn the State Laws

According to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), the laws for running background checks differ in each state.

In some states, an employer cannot take criminal records more than seven years old or arrests without a conviction into account.

Some states only allow an employer to take into consideration convictions for crimes that are related to the job in question. Some states even limit this to certain jobs such as nurses, detectives, and childcare workers.

So, before you run your background check, learn the laws of the state where you conduct business.

Ask for Consent

Before you begin to gather information, you should ask the candidate for permission to conduct a background check. Provide a letter (email) mentioning the details of how you will run the check, and what you are looking for.

If a candidate is uncomfortable with having a background check, they will most likely take themselves out of the running for the position. Of course, you need to be reasonable about what information you are asking for. If a candidate declines a reasonable background check, then you are legally obliged to reject them from consideration.

Relevant Questions

When conducting a background check, ensure that you ask questions related to the job being applied for.

For example, if you are hiring an accountant or a treasurer, you may want to find out if they have ever faced bankruptcy before.

Another example might be in the case of hiring a security guard who is required to carry a gun. You may want to run a criminal background check on these applicants to ensure that their records are clean.

However, you don’t need as strict of an approach when you are hiring for positions such as a clerk or assistant. You won’t need to run criminal background checks for every position.

Don’t Go Overboard

Make sure that you adhere to certain boundaries when you are running background checks. Many employers go overboard while gathering information, which can sometimes lead to cases where candidates are uncomfortable due to an employer’s inquisitiveness.

Stick to the facts that are relevant to the job at hand and you should be fine. If you find yourself going through public records or trying to figure out where exactly your candidates live, you are probably taking it too far.

When running a background check, be careful and follow the rules so you can safeguard your company from legal action. By following the right protocol and asking candidates for permission, you will be sure to get all the essential information you need without causing any discomfort to your prospective employees.