5 Tips For Conducting A Background Check...


Keep these tips in mind when conducting background checks on potential employees.

Depending on your business and the position, you may need to do an extensive background check on a potential employee. While many companies offer this service, there are legal requirements as well as things to look for when running background checks. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Know the laws.How and when you can run background checks, specifically credit checks, can vary from state to state. So be sure to fully understand your state’s laws before conducting any background checks. And before you run a credit check, you’re required to ask for the applicant’s permission. The Bureau of Consumer Protection offers a good overview of the steps employers must take prior to and after running a background check.
  2. Have a written policy.Your business should be consistent in how and when you conduct background checks. Running a background check on select candidates for the same position could land you in an employment discrimination lawsuit.
  3. Go beyond work history.Typically, background checks provide a seven year history. If that time span doesn’t include your applicant’s college years, you’ll want to dig a little deeper. If it’s important to your position that the applicant does indeed hold an MBA from Harvard, then verify that they have in fact received that degree.
  4. Look for patterns.One speeding ticket likely isn’t a big deal. A history of speeding tickets could be, especially if the prospective employee is applying for a driving position. This pattern could also indicate other behavioral issues like carelessness. When reviewing information from a background check, look for consistent issues rather than a one-time mistake (unless it’s a major infraction).
  5. Do your own research, too. Hiring a company to perform a background check is a very important step, but it’s also important to do some research on your own as well. Searching for information online is relatively easy and can yield a good deal of information about an applicant’s history, personality and interests. Find out how to run a background check, DIY-style.

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Source: Huffington Post, Bureau of Consumer Protection
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