FRCA Procedures – How to Handle the Background Check Results

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer (proudly): “I have correct paperwork to start the background check! Everything is peach-dory!”

Ann: “That’s great! What are you going to do if you get information back that would keep you from hiring your applicant?”

Customer: “I sense a trap.”

Ann: “Well, not a trap. But there is the right way and the wrong way to commence adverse actions. Let my friends the Bullet Points explain:”

You thought you had the perfect candidate! Shiny, eager, clean shirt and everything.

Then you found out that something their past that you learned about in their background check would keep you from hiring them. Or it is most likely them. Do they have a chance to say—Hey! It’s not ME, or some other mistake has occurred.

Sad face.

What now? Can you just say, “hey! It just didn’t work out?”


The FCRA has laid out procedures, and the good news they vary from state to state, and sometimes differ from one county or city to another within that state. But here are the basics:

  • Pre-Adverse Action
    • If you are considering not hiring someone you need to send them notice of that contemplation, along with a copy of the report and a copy of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Sometimes you can send this via email, sometimes it needs to go First Class mail. Check your local rules.
  • Adverse action
    • After about five days of sending the pre-adverse action notice (if you haven’t heard from your applicant), send the Adverse Action Notice. It lays out that you will not be hiring them, include a copy of the background check report on which you based your decision and another copy of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Again, email where allowed or First class mail.

I have a 50-state book that lays out the adverse action procedures for each state. Be sure you are compliant with the FCRA before you take adverse action against an applicant.