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What are the Best Practices for Running Background Checks on Employees?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Jun 21, 2019

Best Practices for Running Background Checks on Employees

Employers look to background checks to protect their business, employees and customers.  As a hiring manager doing the interviews, you may feel that you have a good sense of the applicant. Their resume looks spotless and the conversations have been impressive. Screening your impressive employee isn't adding doubt to your instincts - in fact, a background check should be used to validate what you may already know. 

Here are some best practices for running background checks on employees.

How & When to Get a Background Check

Before performing employment screening, your candidate should have given express written consent and authorization. This form will usually be given during the application process but will be separate from the actual application.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) specifies that the applicant must understand that they are being asked for permission for you to run a background check, which screens will be run and that the information will determine whether they can be hired. 

The best time to run a background check is after the first round of interviews.  When you're looking to narrow down the field of applicants, proper screening of your candidates can be helpful. (For more info, check out: What employers need to know about background checks). If you already have an idea of a single candidate for the job, the background report can be ordered after the job offer. In this scenario, the candidate should understand that their offer is contingent on the background check results.

Free: Online Applicant Consent Portal

Which Background Checks to Run

To save time and money on background checks, especially when narrowing down the candidate pool, a basic background check may be all that is initially necessary.  These screenings will verify that the applicant's identifying information is true and that, at first search, they don't have a criminal history or are registered as a sex offender.  Once the job has been offered, you can consider other background checks that may be specific to the job. These background searches may take a little longer and/or be a little more costly but you will then have more qualifying information on your candidate such as:

  • If they have any moving violations or accidents
  • If their license or certification is legitimate
  • If their previous employment or education is verified
  • If they test positive for drug use

See How VeriFirst Performs  Background Checks and Drug Screening

How to Withdraw the Job Offer

If the background check reveals negative information that may affect the specific job duties, you may consider withdrawing the job offer. In order to stay compliant with the FCRA , however, you must give the applicant the opportunity to dispute any false or inaccurate information on their background reports. The EEOC also recommends that any criminal information be individually assessed through a criminal screening policy and decision matrix before deciding to withdraw the job offer. 

Withdrawing a job offer means that you will send a pre-adverse notice, letting the candidate know that negative information is on their report. The pre-adverse notice will also include the report, a summary of their FCRA rights and allow them time to dispute the findings. 

If the applicant does not dispute the reports, you can then send an adverse notice letting them know that the job offer is withdrawn based on the background check results.

Sample Adverse Action Notices

VeriFirst Background Screening has been working with hiring managers like you since 2004. Our mission is to help employers find the right candidate and then validate that decision. We have FCRA-certified staff to help answer questions and keep your hiring decisions compliant. Let us know how we can help!

Topics: Employment Background Screening, Hiring and Recruiting