"Trust but Verify", Ronald Reagan
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Most employers have heard discussions concerning the effectiveness and uses of background checks and due diligence investigations during the course of their business. Questions arise concerning whether running these checks are wise or even necessary.
I believe they are! Having information on the people you employ and the companies you do business with may make the difference between a safe and profitable work environment and one that is rife with uncertainty.
In my opinion, being forewarned is forearmed. Having information at your disposal on prior criminal acts (especially violent ones) or a past history of litigation allows you to make a much more informed decision.
That is not to say that the whole issue of background checks isn’t confusing. When and how you can legally use them, on whom should you run them, and what types of things you should check, are all legitimate questions.
Here are 6 Tips to Help You Navigate
through the World of Background Checks and Emerge with the Information You Really Need!
1. Choose a Background Check Company Wisely
My best advice, find a company where you feel like you are partners in the process. The best choice is someone that is invested in your success and helps you make good employment decisions. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable.
It is also important that the information they provide is verified through the court system. This helps avoid errors in their reports and lessens the possibility of dispute by the subject of the background check.
Find out more about choosing the right Background Check company for you here!
2. Stay Updated on EEOC Guidelines concerning Pre-Employment Screening
Currently there are 2 key issues to keep in mind. First, only past criminal history that directly impacts the ability to do the open position should be considered. Second, each applicant must be given the revised “Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”. This outlines an applicant’s rights in disputing any adverse employment reaction based on the criminal history report.
It is still possible, and recommended, that all applicants undergo a background investigation. It is simply important to be aware of the legal uses and be compliant. A good background check company will help you with this.
3. Run Background Checks on Temps and Interns
Despite them being hired for the “short term”, both temporary workers and interns are still part of your workforce. They are privy to your company information and are, in fact, representatives of your company.
It is also important to remember that these workers still come in contact with your other employees and possibly clients and customers. Therefore, as with long-term employees, safety should be of concern.
4. Run Periodic Background Checks on Existing Employees
Much like random drug and alcohol tests, scheduling additional background checks during the term of employment is wise. Any initial background check conducted only takes into account
information that exists at that time.
Running subsequent background checks makes sense. It will uncover any new dangerous or unsafe behavior of which you should be aware.
Doing an additional background check is also a great practice prior to offering a promotion.
Find out more about when and how to re-screen your existing employees here!
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Social Media as Part of Your Background Checks
The only practice that should be avoided at all costs, and which is in fact illegal in some states, is the request for any social media passwords. I predict that more states will follow in prohibiting any
attempt to obtain passwords for current or potential employees.
However, “public” information can be of great help as part of the background check process. Many times profiles on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can actually help clarify or “round out” the information provided in a traditional resume.
6. Use Background Checks to “Vet” Other Companies
Before deciding to do business with another company, run a Due Diligence check! I recommend this include a civil record report.
A civil report will include any litigation or bankruptcy in which the company may have been involved. Knowing whether they have sued, or been sued by, other companies or clients is sound
Don’t let the process of background checks scare you off.
Using them wisely will not only
put your company on more solid footing,
it will help you make better business choices.
For more information on
Background Checks and Due Diligence investigations,
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