Background checks used to be so simple. You’d just forward the applicant’s contact information to the background check company, receive a report, and then toss those resumes that came back with felony convictions.
How things have changed!
New laws and an extremely vigilant Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) have made background checks more complex and risky than ever. How can you be thorough and still stay legal? Today, Wood Personnel provides practical HR compliance tips to help you hire the best people, while protecting your company from unnecessary lawsuits.
While the information here is not a substitute for professional legal advice, it will help your company stay safer and more compliant:
- Fulfill the three basic requirements of good background check policy. A thorough policy: is in writing; uses objective criteria; and is applied to every candidate in the same way.
- Train everyone involved in your hiring process on the rules of your background check policy. Even if they are not likely to be the ones performing background checks, they still need to be on the same page to ensure consistency and compliance.
- Give notice. Tell a candidate that you will be requesting a background check before you send the request. Get written permission before requesting the report.
- Ignore arrest histories and sealed or expunged records. Consider only criminal convictions that appear on the background check report. Remember, an arrest is not proof of wrongdoing – a conviction is. Likewise, digging into sealed or expunged records could be interpreted as an attempt to discriminate against a candidate.
- Use written job descriptions. These clarify essential functions of your jobs, as well as the skills and experience required for each. Use a written description every time you evaluate whether an applicant’s criminal history is relevant to the position for which he is applying.
- Be willing to ignore the criminal background check report. That’s right! If the information in the criminal background check is not relevant to the written job description, do not base any part of your hiring decision on the report. Instead, focus on the candidate’s skills, experience, references and interview performance.
- Hire experts for background checks. One way to effectively minimize your company’s risks and increase applicant quality is by hiring a staffing service to manage part or all of your screening process. As experts in pre-employment screening, staffing firms can:
- eliminate the time and headaches associated with background checks;
- ensure nondiscriminatory hiring practices are followed;
- conduct additional pre-employment screening, such as skills testing and drug screens, to ensure the right candidates are hired the first time.
Staff and Hire Smarter with Wood Personnel
As our temporary and contract employees’ employer of record, we assume all employment-related risks. Furthermore, whenever we refer a candidate – for an assignment, project or direct hire – rest assured that he is thoroughly screened and authorized to work for your organization. To find out more about our screening process, contact our Murfreesboro employment agency today.