When your company is hiring, running a comprehensive background check is an important step for all candidates.
However, this can be a confusing process with several steps.
But your small business cannot afford to take risks when it comes to bringing on fresh talent. Security for your team always comes first. This article will break down everything you should consider background checks.
What Is a Background Check?
Typically, a background check covers the past 7 years of an applicant’s life. It will check credit history, former occupations, medical history, criminal record, government watch lists, drug use, and all social media accounts. Anything that could be a liability for your company is investigated.
You’ll need the candidate’s full name, date of birth, social security number, and consent before you begin to run a background check.
Start with Legal Advice
Each state has different privacy laws on what information you are allowed to collect during a background check. If you don’t want to run into legal trouble, contact a lawyer who can guide you on your state’s regulations.
Comply With The Fair Credit Reporting Act
The FCRA deems employers may only perform a background check for the sole purpose of determining fitness for the position. You have to receive signed consent from the applicant and then be willing to share all the information uncovered with the potential employee.
If you choose not to move forward with an applicant you must send a pre-adverse action letter that informs the candidate of your decision and reasoning. Even though you are investigating someone’s life, the applicant has rights and transparency is a must.
It is a common myth that a comprehensive background check can break the bank. Some not so reputable companies will skip this step completely to avoid this expense. In reality, background checks can range from $10 to $500, depending on what you’re looking for.
Each part of the check costs a different amount. For example, an in-state criminal background check can cost $10 and a total credit check could cost $20. The different checks all add up to your total cost. It is up to your company to decide which checks you need to perform.
At the bare minimum, you can cross-reference any names with the sex offender registry which is free to the public.
A pre-employment drug test is typically given once an offer of employment is made. Don’t think of it as an invasion of privacy but the last step to protecting both the company and employee. Some states bar unannounced drug tests, so make sure you are following your local laws.
Not all jobs require a drug test either. A job that requires the operation of heavy machinery is more likely to warrant this test than an office employee. But it is up to you to determine the sensitivity and requirements of the role.
Don’t Exclude Any Applicants
If you have decided to perform background checks, you must run them on everyone who applies. You may feel tempted to give a friend a pass, especially if you are a smaller startup, but you must resist this urge.
A level playing field will solidify your reputation as a fair employer who doesn’t play favorites.
Feel Confident in Your Choice
You’ll have peace of mind once you receive a clean background check. The minor expense now will be far cheaper than the cost of letting someone go after finding out incriminating information down the road.
You can rest easy knowing you’ve made a good decision, a background check is the only way to be sure you know who you’re hiring.