March 20th, 2023 | Val Poltorak, Head of US Regulated Industries

Background Checks FAQ for Employers

Employers have continued to feel the pressure of hiring a larger volume of employees at a faster rate to keep up with the rise in consumer demands. Yet industries such as manufacturingtransportation, and construction are having to navigate unique challenges impacting how they hire, including:

  • Attracting younger workers due to an aging workforce and workers retiring early
  • Exploring different types of work to meet staffing demands, including contract work
  • Competing with other industries for top talent

Establishing and updating new HR processes to meet these hiring demands can be challenging in today’s environment with ever-evolving regulations and competing with other types of work. This blog post highlights several typical questions asked by employers and gives practical answers needed to help companies develop a thorough background screening program.

1. Why should we partner with a background check service?

As given to us by our customers, risk mitigation is the most compelling reason for performing background checks. When partnering with a background check service, you place the expertise of fulfillment on the provider. Enabling your provider to partner with you on your hiring and recruitment process not only streamlines the process but provides peace of mind for both our customers and their candidates.

Other reasons we hear why customers move to a background screening service include:

  • Faster turnaround times for quicker onboarding of employees
  • Deep market expertise in the industrials sector to stay ahead of the latest trends and maintain compliance
  • Customizable employment screening services to match every industry’s unique needs

A streamlined background screening process provides employers with the level of detail needed to address safety and compliance concerns while keeping up with today’s competitive hiring demands. Using advanced technology and automation, we’ve helped our clients reduce time-to-hire while creating a safe working environment for everyone.

2. Will you tell us if I should (or shouldn’t) hire a potential employee?

Manufacturers, transportation, and construction companies need to fill highly-regulated and safety-sensitive roles. That’s why conducting a thorough background check is critical to protecting not only the employer, but their employees, customers, and the communities they serve.

Although Sterling can’t offer legal advice on whether to hire a candidate or not, we provide you with the resources and information needed to make an informed hiring decision. If we find adverse information, we note it according to how different it is from the original information submitted by your candidate by using flags in our system.

For example, if a candidate misquoted a start date at a previous employer and we discovered the actual start date was two months later, we would note this accordingly. If you believe this should be considered a more serious discrepancy, we can amend our standard scoring to reflect what your organization would consider as a discrepancy. 

3. If there are no regulations in place, should we still screen our employees?

Sterling values the importance of creating a people-first culture built on a foundation of trust and safety. Although there may not be any industry standards for the level you should screen your employees, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks of fraud or crime in your organization.

For this reason, Sterling supports employers with our dedicated client success teams within the industrial sector. Our teams have deep expertise in industries including manufacturing, transportation, construction, and energy, to help you discover any potential risk within your organization. We also offer recommendations and best practices to help mitigate future risk. From entry-level to C-suite executives, for SMBs to multinational corporate entities, we will explore each role and help you develop a thorough background check program.

4. Our recruitment agency conducts our pre-employment background checks: is this compliant?

Employers often ask us this question when their organizations are hiring a larger number of contract workers. Although this method of hiring at volume can be compliant when done correctly, it does not necessarily mean it’s the best background screening solution for your organization.

Sterling has been in the business of due diligence screening since 1975, giving us the experience and resources to operate at a high level. We deliver background screening programs for organizations of all sizes worldwide, supporting both hiring firms and recruitment agencies alike. 

If you’re in any doubt whether your agency is conducting the right checks or may be missing crucial information, Sterling can help you review your current hiring process and advise where we may be able to help you to refine and strengthen it.

The questions below cover some common candidate-related questions regarding the background screening process.

1. Will credit checks affect my candidate’s credit score?

In short, no. An employer credit check is considered a soft-credit inquiry since your candidate is not applying for credit. It won’t place a hard credit inquiry on their report, so it won’t affect their credit score.

2. How long will the background check take?

Turnaround times for background checks vary significantly by the type of searches needed, the company that provides them, and the speed at which the candidate provides the required information. 

Sterling completes 65% of criminal background checks within 15 minutes, 70% within one hour, and 90% within one day. In most cases, the average turnaround time for education and employment verification is anywhere from three to five business days. While most criminal background checks run quickly and smoothly, there can be extenuating circumstances that may cause delays in the process, such as the availability of records or unresponsiveness by past employers.

3. What kind of data will you need from my candidate?

This will vary depending on what type of searches you run. If you’re looking to conduct a criminal background check, then we will first require a signed proof that you have seen and verified the candidate’s ID. We’d then need a name and an email address. Once we have this data, we will take the responsibility of liaising with the candidate.

4. Will you contact my candidate’s current employer?

We will never contact a current employer without first having full permission from a candidate. When candidates are completing our forms, we will specifically ask if we can contact their current employer. We know that securing employment can be a very stressful time and that, often, the candidate will not want their current employer to discover they’re looking elsewhere.

5. Will my candidate be able to appeal a screening report?

Typically, HR departments (and the governing bodies we have partnerships with) strive to provide us with the most up-to-date information; but if it is believed that the information might be inaccurate, Sterling has dedicated team members who will work quickly to resolve any discrepancies. In general, a CRA has up to 30 days to resolve a dispute, although Sterling generally handles disputes more quickly than this. 

We know background screening isn’t easy. Whatever questions you may have, our industry-leading subject matter experts are here to guide you through the process.

Got a question of your own? We’d love to hear from you.

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.