What types of background checks can employers conduct?

Criminal background checks Criminal background checks are common in employment situations in which the employee will have access to company financial information or will be working with vulnerable populations. Oftentimes, a company will reconsider hiring the person if they are applying for a position related to a previous felony conviction. In order to conduct criminal checks, a background screening company will check state and federal databases in order to turn up convictions and arrest records for employer review. Caution: if your state has ban-the-box laws on the books, you may not be able to conduct criminal checks until after an interview has been conducted, or even until after an offer of employment has been made. The exception is for those applying for jobs that require employees to work with children or the elderly (such as teachers and nursing-home attendants), or in sensitive fields (such as law enforcement), where candidates must pass criminal checks as part of the job requirements. Credit checks A credit check is one of the types of background checks. This review allows your business to run a “soft” credit inquiry on an applicant, so you’ll be able to see his or her credit report or without affecting the credit score. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to inform applicants in writing that you will be conducting credit checks. Credit checks are best used when a candidate is applying for a job in finance, or when they will have access to company coffers or credit cards. Employment or education verification Ensuring that the applicant’s resume is accurate and truthful is wise, and this is where employment verification and education verification come into play. Sometimes applicants commit resume fraud by listing degrees they never earned and employers they never worked for, because it makes their resumes look more appealing to future employers. Confirming the events and locations listed on a resume can be time-consuming for busy employers, so it’s best to leave this process to a background-screening company. Drug tests Many employers conduct drug tests prior to employment regardless of industry, but drug testing is especially important for those positions in which an employee can affect someone else’s safety, such as jobs in manufacturing or transportation. A drug test can be as simple as a urinalysis, or more complicated with hair or blood tests. Reference checks It’s a smart practice to review an applicant’s references to ensure that there have not been any issues with the applicant’s past performance. A reference check simply requires checking in via phone or e-mail with the people the candidate has listed as references, as well as former employers, to ensure accuracy regarding the skills and accomplishments the applicant claims. Be aware that, while all of these types of background checks are great options to consider when hiring, laws vary from state to state. Working with a background-screening company can ensure that you stay within the bounds of the law in your screening practices. For more information about how you can utilize these types of background checks when making hiring decisions, contact Mind Your Business.]]>

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