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Is it time to Revisit Your Background Screening Policy?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Jan 09, 2015


Taking a closer look at the grey areas of a background check

Your background screening policy is set and has been the same since you began working for your organization. As a human resources professional or hiring manager, however, you're on the front lines of applicant interviews, paperwork and deciding if you're ready to make an offer. Every now and then, an applicant makes you reconsider those screening rules put in place long ago. Is it time to revisit your background screening policy?

An Awesome Candidate with a Past

Let's say that you are interviewing an applicant and she is the perfect person for the job. She's a go-getter, bright and carries the right experience for the job. A background check reveals some findings that your screening policy doesn't allow. Do you miss out on a great applicant, make an exception or revisit your background screening policy?

Reviewing your Screening Policy

We recommend reviewing your background screening company on a regular basis anyway. There may be things that you didn't consider when the policy was originally written. The policy may be out-dated for various reasons. Your background screening policy could be challenged by an exceptional current employee or by any applicants that you would otherwise consider perfect for the job. See our sample decision matrix for more assistance: EEOC Background Screening Decision Matrix

Make an Exception or Not

If you are revisiting your background screening policy on a regular basis, you may not encounter the situation above. However, in this case, do you make an exception? You will need to look at a few things first:

  • Is the finding job-related?
  • How severe was the evidence uncovered on the background check?
  • How long ago was the crime or mark against your applicant?

What you may find, for instance, is that your candidate was accused of a petty theft 8 years prior to applying at your organization. Since that time, she has been working diligently to repair her record, has held down steady employment and has a glowing letter of reference from her previous employer. As you make note of this, you may also decide to rework your screening policy to only deny employment to those with criminal records in the past 7 years. 

A background screening policy is a vitally important part of a hiring manager's decision making process. This policy should not be taken lightly, obviously, but should be revisited often to make sure that you are hiring the right employees for your company while not turning away those that want to put in the extra effort to be exceptional.

Need background screening policy guidance?

Let VeriFirst review your screening policy at no charge. Simply schedule a 30 minute compliance demo, and we'll walk you through employer best-practices and review your current policy and procedures. 

free demo of compliance cloud


Topics: Employment Background Screening