Screen for the Position: HR Guide to Safe Hiring and Cost Management

3 min read
Sat, Mar 18, 2023

HR Guide to Safe Hiring and Cost ManagementDuring a communications course in college, I recall a valuable lesson that I learned from my professor. In reference to the importance of having good material to use in video editing, he told me the best cameramen will always "Shoot for the edit." I recognize now how that lesson can be applied in business to be more efficient - both in time and cost. After all, time and money are some of the most valuable resources a company has.

Let's apply this lesson to human resources for safe hiring and cost management.


How to Shoot for the Edit in HR

"Shooting for the edit" is the simple premise of having a goal in mind and knowing the outcome you want to produce. A cameraman, for example, would shoot footage that provides flexibility for the editor to tell the story from a variety of angles. The cameraman must understand the objectives of post-production to meet the needs of the overall project.

The same applies to human resources and employee background screening. HR professionals are faced with a long list of available screening tools (employment verification, education verification, criminal records, driving records, drug testing, etc.). However, it’s important to understand that not all background checks and verifications are necessary for every job function. Outlining objectives for the screening and qualification will go a long way in deciding which background checks are best for each position. 

Learn How to Save Money on Background Checks

How to Screen for the Position:

Identify Daily Tasks for Job-Related Background Checks

Each position within your organization should have a job description associated with it. Based on the related responsibilities and duties identified in the job description, you can begin to determine which background checks would best line up with qualifying the applicant for the position.

As an example, some of the key responsibilities of a bookkeeper may be:

  • Post cash receipts and performs deposit/scan functions such as Payments to Business (PB) and Payments to Clients (PC).
  • Manage and perform the accounts receivable functions for the Company on a timely basis, including but not limited to monitoring outstanding payments via aging/roll rate and contacting clients for payment. Escalating when necessary.
  • Reconcile Cash sheet and Invoices to ensure all systems are in balance.

Screening for this position:

Because the core job functions for this position would require the employee to have direct access to company cash, payment processing, and bank account information, the following background checks are recommended:

  • Identity Verification and SSN Trace – Verify and identify jurisdictions to investigate.
  • National Criminal Database Search - Broad felony and misdemeanor search. Looking for convictions related to theft, fraudulent checks, etc.
  • County Criminal Court Search(s) – Local felony and misdemeanor search based on SSN Trace that contains the most up-to-date dispositions for crimes deemed unacceptable under your company’s screening policy.
  • Credit Check – Pre-Employment Evaluation Report (PEER) credit reports will identify potential red flags in your applicant’s financial history that may make them more prone to fraud or theft.
  • OFAC – The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) maintains a list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) of those individuals and entities that have economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals. Employees handling financial transactions for your company should be cleared against this list.

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In this example for the Bookkeeper position, it is likely not necessary to run additional searches such as a Professional License Verification, Civil Court Searches or MVR Driving Records. As always, you should adhere to those as recommended or required by HR. 

Safe Hiring & Cost Management in Hiring Decisions

Once you have identified the types of background checks conducted for each position, the next step is to establish eligibility guidelines for determining what’s acceptable and what’s not. The EEOC has recommended that employers avoid ‘deny all’ policies and utilize a decision matrix before taking any potential adverse actions.  

A reputable background screening company should be able to provide you with a breakdown of the cost of a background check. Ask to see itemized pricing for the services you are requesting. Since most screening providers price the background check by search type and pass through any supplemental access fees, it will help when negotiating the price of screening services. 

Since each jurisdiction has varying turnaround times and access fees (1 to 60 days and $0 to $65+) work with a screening company to understand the best search type for your location(s) and industry.

Looking for more information on pricing or turnaround times? Contact us to learn more or chat with our FCRA Certified staff.

Cost of a Background Check:  How Much Should You Pay?

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