Happy New Year! Let’s Review Your Background Check Policies

[Phone rings]

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer: “Ya know, last year you had me review ALL my hiring and background check policies and forms to be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and these pesky state laws to which I am beholden.”

Ann: (rolls eyes, here it comes): “And you’re REALLY glad you did, right?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’d hate to think I could have become a statistic in a class-action case for having inappropriate forms or not giving proper disclosures.

Ann (can’t believe someone listens to her when she gets on these rants): “Ya know, I think it’s so important, I’m going to review that one more time for our friends in the cheap seats in the back that may not have been listening.

Organizations that wish to keep their employees and customers safe, and avoid negligent hiring claims, implement background checks.

A background check policy sets guidelines for investigating applicant backgrounds and triggers for re-running background screenings on current employees.

What should be included in your background check policy: 

Background check policies are created for consistency and ease during the hiring process. Your background screening firm probably has come models already in place for you to discuss when determining what best meets your needs. You should also consider:

  1. In addition to what’s included in a basic background check, what other screens are typically run for this particular job?
  2. At what point in the hiring process is the background check run?
  3. What information and paperwork are required before running a background check?
  4. What criteria disqualifies an applicant from working for the organization? Are the criteria discriminatory or does it follow federal, state and local laws?
  5. Is the applicant informed that there will be a background check and that the outcome may affect the hiring decision? If the outcome of the screening is negative, what is the procedure for adverse action?

Clues your policy is outdated:

  1. Your application asks if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime and you live in an area that has banned that question. This may be known as the Fair Chance or Second Chance Initiative in your area, also commonly known as “Ban the Box.”
  2. Have you taken into consideration revised marijuana laws (recreational and medicinal use) in your region?
  3. Any time you have a perfect applicant, but an outdated personnel policy prohibits you from hiring them.

It is important to stay compliant with your hiring and background check policies. Stay compliant by meeting with your local human resource association and talk to your professional background screeners and attorneys. Review your policy and be sure it does everything you think it does!