How to Successfully Background Screen Prospective Employees
To successfully background screen prospective employees, you need to do serious due diligence. A recent survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder of more than 2,000 hiring managers found that 56% of them have caught a lie on a candidate’s resume. While the most popular lie (at 62%) was skillset embellishing, some untruths can be more serious, even detrimental to your company.
The “ban the box” campaign has gone viral, making it more challenging for employers to identify candidates with a criminal history. As of June 2016, more than 100 cities and counties have adopted the fair hiring policy. It essentially calls for removal of the conviction history question from job applications, delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process.
Background screening has become a must-do practice for employers to ensure they are hiring moral, loyal, and trustworthy employees. But they must conducted in compliance with the federal laws that protect applicants (and employees) from discrimination. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC); guidelines can be found on the EEOC website.
If you chose to run background checks through a company in the business of compiling background information, you must also comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Be sure to review the laws pertaining to your state and municipality.
Here are 6 tips for successfully screening candidates to help maintain the safety and security of your workplace:
Be consistent – The process needs to be equal, but not necessarily identical for all applicants. It is more cost effective to tailor checks based on position. For example, you may want to run a criminal only report for admins, but add education and employment checks for executives.
Ask for permission – Get the applicant’s permission in advance of ordering any form of background report. Note: The FCRA disclosure and authorization requirement must be a “stand-alone” document and cannot be part of the application or imbedded in any other paperwork.
Verify past employment – According to a recent CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 hiring manager, 54% of applicants have exaggerated past responsibilities, while 39% have fudged dates of employment. Call candidate-provided references and ask detailed questions about their qualifications. Don’t assume they will all give glowing reviews, you’d be surprised what you can uncover with a simple phone call.
Verify education –28% of hiring managers have caught a lie pertaining to an academic degree. Many hiring managers miss this important step, assuming that applicants wouldn’t lie about such a thing since it’s so easy to investigate. Just because an applicant is in possession of a diploma, don’t assume it’s authentic. Diploma mills make it easy to obtain illegitimate ones for a fee. If you’re in a field that requires certifications or licenses, be sure to run checks on those as well.
Run nationwide checks – Don’t make the mistake of limiting background checks to in-state criminal screenings. Cast a larger net with nationwide checks.
If something bad turns up, follow up – If you choose not to hire an applicant because of information obtained through a background check, under the FCRA you are required to go through the Adverse Action process. This process provides applicants the opportunity to review and dispute information in the report, if they so choose.