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4 Background Check Best Practices

72 percent of today's employers

Did you know that 72% of today's employers conduct background checks on new employees?

The screening industry is booming because the business landscape—particularly hiring—comes with substantial risk. And not one isolated type of risk. Fortunately, various employment screenings are available to help employers reduce risk before and during employment.

Any opportunity to minimize risk to your employees, stakeholders, customers, and the public is worth consideration.

Regardless of the value of background checks, the employment screening process is not without risk.

According to Greg Dubecky at HR Daily Advisor, one study found that lawsuits related to Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations have increased by 150% since 2010, and many of the cases were related to unlawful background checks.

Does your business perform employment screenings, including background checks, criminal records investigations, drug screenings, and education verifications?

If not, are you avoiding employee screenings due to concerns about doing it properly to avoid another potential risk factor?

Let’s explore background check best practices and what you need to know to ensure successful risk prevention while remaining compliant.

What Is a Background Check?

Background check icon

A background check is a procedure conducted by an employer to verify that the information a candidate has provided on their application is true, accurate, and current.

The purpose of conducting a background screening is to reduce the risk of hiring someone who may endanger your customers, employees, work environment, or your reputation.

Employers seek and analyze information that provides deeper insights about a candidate’s risk potential, such as:

  • Concerns with behavior

    A history of threatening or other questionable behavior in the workplace toward employees, customers, or the public.

  • Concerns with qualifications

    Lack of qualification for the position due to misrepresented experience, education, or credentials.

  • Concerns with driving recordA driving record with risk factors such as a DUI or suspended license, particularly when driving is essential to a position.

What Background Check Best Practices Does Your Hiring Team Need to Know?

Background checks explore a candidate’s past, but it’s no secret that they sometimes come too close to privacy laws for comfort. Therefore, it’s crucial that you understand and comply with background check best practices to respect candidates’ privacy, remain legally compliant, and protect your business from potential lawsuits and a tarnished reputation.

Our team has come up with some best practices that our branch talent advisors and on-site workforce management experts follow daily.


Understand Regulations and Ensure Compliance

It is vital for your HR leaders and hiring team to know about all laws, policies, and regulations associated with background checks, like the following:

Research local and state laws specific to your area, such as Ban the Box Laws.


Establish a Standard Set of Policies & Procedures — Put Them in Writing

When everyone is on board, it’s easier to use background screenings to your company’s advantage. Establish a consistent background check process that everyone can easily understand and follow.

Develop steps that facilitate a fair and transparent screening process by:

  • Establishing clear objectives
  • Providing standardized procedures
  • Avoiding biases
  • Emphasizing non-discriminatory language
  • Engaging in clear communication with candidates
  • Assigning consistent decision-making benchmarks
  • Respecting candidate privacy
  • Offering guidance for handling information discrepancies that may negatively impact candidates

Ensure that everyone conducting or ordering background checks can access your established and regularly updated policies and procedures.


Handle Sensitive Information Carefully

Based on a combination of on-site and cybersecurity policies, ensure that everyone conducting background checks knows how to handle sensitive hard copy and electronic information carefully.


Review & Update Your Background Check Policies Periodically

Background checks and employment screening policies are frequently updated. Therefore, it is crucial that you regularly revisit, review, and update your policies.

Here are some things you can do to stay current on background check policies:

  • Discuss the importance of updates with leaders responsible for compliance.
  • Keep up with legal and technological changes.
  • Work with legal counsel to ensure updates on policy reviews and updates.

Does Your Hiring Team Understand Background Check Best Practices?

Whether you plan to use a background check for your next hire or you want to work with us to find the right person for your workforce, we can help! Surge is well-versed in the complexities of background check best practices and standard protocols.

You can make informed decisions based on our background check findings by partnering with us. Simultaneously, you will safeguard the rights of candidates and strengthen your business’s security, prevent legal issues, and protect your reputation.

Contact us to discover and discuss top candidates in your community or another workforce solution your business requires, and learn how we conduct insightful and lawfully compliant employment screenings.

  1. https://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/blog/majority-of-employers-background-check-employees
  2. https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2020/01/30/when-background-screening-goes-astray-employers-face-severe-penalties/
  3. https://lexmachina.com/media/press/lex-machinas-consumer-protection-litigation-report-reveals-companies-paid-more-than-34-billion-in-damages-over-the-last-decade/
  4. https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/disposing-consumer-report-information-rule-tells-how
  5. https://www.nelp.org/publication/ban-the-box-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/

Additional Resources

  • https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2020/01/30/when-background-screening-goes-astray-employers-face-severe-penalties/
  • https://lexmachina.com/media/press/lex-machinas-consumer-protection-litigation-report-reveals-companies-paid-more-than-34-billion-in-damages-over-the-last-decade/