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Is it better to have background checked and lost, than to have never checked at all?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Mon, Nov 21, 2016

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It's a great day when a hiring manager feels like they have the perfect candidate for the job. The candidate's resume was impressive. The interview was flawless and their ambition apparent. They may have even come highly recommended. The candidate is offered the position, pending a background check and drug test. Then, the bad news...

Your candidate has a criminal past or drug use. What now?

Check and Double Check

As disheartening as it is to deny a great candidate, there may be some options for the hiring manager. First of all, the applicant must be given a chance to view and dispute the findings of the background check. In order to make them aware of the negative findings, the hiring manager must send a notice of pre-adverse action. This notice, sent within 3 days of receiving the background check results, must include:

  • a summary of the findings
  • a copy of the report
  • a copy of the applicant's rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • name, address and phone number of the reporting agency
  • contact information in order to dispute the accuracy of the findings

See also: Denying Employment: An Adverse Action Guide

Some inaccuracies may be revealed once the applicant is notified. There may be untrue information on the report. There may be mistaken identity or a false-positive result. VeriFirst offers a DoubleCheck any time there is a hit on a criminal record search to verify accuracy of the results. Once the information has been corrected, your candidate may get the green light after all.

Why Screen Applicants?

Some hiring managers want to go on their gut feeling and remain in denial that their perfect applicant isn't so perfect after all. As our title suggests, is it better to have not screened at all? Why do businesses screen applicants anyway? 

Negligent hiring - News accounts of employers being held liable for the actions of their employees, from sexual assault to death, should be enough to convince organizations to screen applicants.

Resume lies - Believe it or not, people lie on their resume. Shocker, right? Not only that, resume fraud can also mean that the wrong applicants are hired and employers are, again, held liable for their actions. 

Workplace culture/bad fit - Employee turnover is costly. When businesses hire quickly, many times without screening applicants, they find the applicant misrepresented themself during the hiring process. When an employee is a bad fit with the workplace culture, productivity may suffer, other employees may leave or customers may do business elsewhere.

Stay Compliant

If a screening or drug test reveals that the candidate doesn't meet the requirements for hiring, make sure to follow an FCRA compliant adverse action process. Many times, when the candidate is actually a criminal but charismatic enough to fool you, they are also the ones who are looking for a slip up when it comes to compliancy. Any Google search of the terms "FCRA class action" reveals major corporations getting hit with litigation for non-compliance. Human resources and hiring managers must have a process in place for applicants that do not pass drug tests or background screening. 

The EEOC recommends a Background Check Decision Matrix to help stay consistent when hiring. Employers must also implement a criminal background screening policy to help navigate not only EEOC and FCRA compliance, but also recent Ban the Box initiatives that are sweeping the country. 

See also: Assessing Criminal Records in Employment Decisions

Understandably, hiring managers will loathe getting back to the drawing board, or job board as the case may be. Finding the right employee for your business and the position can be challenging. Screening applicants, however, ensures more than just a gut feeling. Your company's reputation, or worse, company finances, could be at stake if the wrong person was hired. Partner with a solid background screening company to make sure the right employee fits the right job. 

See How VeriFirst Performs  Background Checks and Drug Screening

Topics: Employment Background Screening, FCRA Compliance, Hiring and Recruiting