The 10 Commandments of Conducting an Employee Background Check

How to avoid a costly hiring mistake with Innovative Architects' background screening solutions

The Society for Human Resources Managers reports that over half (53%) of resumes and job applications contain falsifications. Even more disturbing, they found that 70% of college students surveyed admitted that they would lie on an application to get a job they want.

The most common résumé lies involve concealing employment gaps, being fired, job hopping, or even time in prison, which undoubtedly why nearly 7 out of 10 organizations now conduct background checks on all job candidates, according to another background screening survey from the SHRM.

At Innovative Architects, we understand the challenges of quickly and thoroughly screening a potential candidate's criminal and professional background, and the importance of knowing who it is you are bringing into your work family - not to mention the cost and time it takes to correct a wrong hiring decision.

When the time comes for you to evaluate a potential employee, be sure to follow what we call the Ten Commandments of Employee Background Checks, so that you can protect your small business from a bad hire.

I. Do be broad and thorough.

There are many problems with taking a narrow approach when it comes to conducting a background check on potential employees. Companies that get stuck on one specific item often end up letting great candidates slip through their net. It's important for businesses to remember to look at a broad spectrum of information when judging an applicant's qualifications. Among the data gathered should be a potential hire's education, employment, and criminal history, driving record, social media and much more.

II. Do NOT use the "box."

You know that standard question on applications that asks, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" Well, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and a growing number of local governments are trying to get rid of this portion of the application, arguing that employers unfairly toss out an application when they see the box checked. Consider removing the "box" from your application form, so that you can run an equally broad and thorough background check on every applicant.

III. Do obey the law.

Depending on the way your background check is conducted, you may be required by law to first obtain a completed legal release form from the applicant, inform the applicant of his or her rights, and provide the applicant with a copy of the final report.

IV. Do NOT go outside legal boundaries.

There are plenty of opportunities for companies to go beyond their legal limits when conducting a background screening. Employers must take great care to follow different federal, state, local and industry-specific laws in regards to digging into an applicant's history.

V. Do be consistent.

Make sure that your background screening process is the same for all applicants. Two applicants applying for the same position should have equal searches and investigations run on them. Different job titles may require varying levels of screening, but be sure to keep background checks for the same job title consistent to avoid discrimination charges.

VI. Do communicate.

If you do find something that may impact your decision to hire an applicant, you should raise your concerns with the candidate in-person. A great many mistakes, errors, and misunderstandings can be cleared up by simple face-to-face communication.

VII. Do NOT judge an applicant based on a single factor.

A single good or bad act should not be a deciding factor in the hiring process. When going over an applicant's background check, look for consistent or repeating patterns. Positive and negative patterns are much more reliable indicators of an individual's character and job ability.

VIII. Do seek out positive qualifications.

Background checks are generally looked at as a way to dig up negative information about a potential hire. However, a wise employer also uses it to locate positive factors that set one applicant apart from the rest.

IX. Do NOT run a limited background search yourself.

In spite of what you might have heard, you cannot find everything about a person by "googling" their name. Most of the vital information you need to know before hiring someone can only be legally acquired by hiring a background check framework developer to run an investigation.

X. Do use a professional agency to process your background check.

The most skilled background screening firms do so much more than just locating the information you need to make an informed hiring decision. They also make sure your business does not violate local and federal laws by viewing information illegally, as well as provide processes that are proven to be accurate and efficient.

RapBack Protect is one such solution for managing the safety of your organization. Using RapBack, an end-to-end custom background check solution developed by Innovative Architects, you can:

  • Verify candidate through custom or public registries across the nation
  • Obtain real-time criminal and background information on your applicants or current employees
  • Receive automated alerts of criminal activity to make important hiring decisions

To learn more about creating an efficient custom background screening platform for your organization, contact us today to setup a webinar or talk to a background check consultant.