September 19th, 2016 | Sterling

Background Screening 101

Background Screening 101

New employees are one of the biggest investments a business can make. With each new hire companies invest time, training, money, resources and the years of experience they have acquired. When recruiting new employees, companies need additional information to help them verify they are making informed hiring decisions. In this way, performing proper due diligence in hiring includes screening potential employees. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 9 out of 10 employers conduct criminal record checks on job applicants. Every company has a different approach, preference and requirement for conducting background checks. However, employers in all areas are looking for the most comprehensive picture of their candidates.

There are many components to background checks, but the fundamentals include criminal background checks, drug testing and employment verification. It is very vital to understand the laws and regulations around these screenings and how they help determine if a candidate is “the perfect fit” for your organization. Employers need to use a hiring matrix to make consistent hiring decisions, assess each applicant individually, understand the adverse action process and record dispute processes.

Background Screening Basics

Our Background Screening 101 Guide shares insights on the most common types of background checks, compliance tips, the best screening practices and I-9 form regulation. Below are just a few points that are discussed in the eBook:

  1. Criminal ChecksCriminal background checks are the anchor to most background checking programs. A Social Security Number Trace is the foundation for background check screening. From this search, you can see county, state and nationwide court records and criminal databases. The secret to conducting a thorough criminal record check is location and knowing the right places to make your search. The more location tools you use, the more comprehensive your information will be.
  2. Rules and Regulations – There is legislation in place to protect the rights of applicants and ensure the information on the background check is both accurate and legally reportable. The main piece of legislation governing background checks and employment screening providers is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Per this law, employers must give notice and receive consent by candidates before obtaining background checks. Employers must ensure that all job applicants are treated equally. Hiring managers cannot pick and choose which candidate will have a background check as this could be considered discrimination. The best course of action is to have a comprehensive background screening policy in place.
  3. Drug Tests – Employee substance abuse can have a productivity and financial impact on a business. Employers will rely on drug screening to eliminate illicit drug users from the group of potential candidates as well as deter current employees from using drugs on the job. If a business implements a drug-free environment, it should be specifically detailed in the employee handbook. Drug tests can occur during the pre-employment process, randomly after employment or as a requisite for returning to work.
  4. Employment Verifications – With a competitive job market, candidates are doing anything they can to get potential employees to notice their resumes. Unfortunately, some of what they are putting on their resumes is actually false information. They could be embellishing their education, job titles, responsibility, payroll and start and end dates. Education and employment verification services contact the past employer’s human resources and payroll departments to make sure that the candidate’s information is correct.
  5. Onboarding PaperworkForm I-9 verifies employment eligibility of any new hire. Employers are required by law to follow specific procedures for completing the form on the pre-determined deadlines or face civil or criminal penalties. There are three sections to completing the form. The first section has to be filled out by the employee on the first day of employment. The second section is for the employer or an authorized representative to review documentation provided by the new employee. The third section is re-verification due to life changes. Our Form I-9 services will monitor the forms electronically for errors before it is sent to the government.

The background screening industry is constantly changing with new methods and technologies continuously being created. Keeping up-to-date on these changes will make it easier to hire the best applicant for your company.

You can find insights and critical information on the most common types of background checks, compliance tips, verification processes and how to maximize your Form I-9 process in our eBook.

Background Screening 101

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.