|Created by Kim Kline, API|
If you are hiring, or think you may be hiring in the future, then you must first think about how to do it safely. That includes writing the best job descriptions and screening your favorite candidates.
Background Checks are
an important part of the hiring process.
The results supply you with the information you need to make an informed hiring decision. It is also a crucial step in creating and maintaining a safe and productive workplace.
And this is especially true if you are a Small Business. With the limited time and resources faced by many small business owners, it makes sense to “hire carefully, not in haste”. The consequences of making a bad hire can often times cause more harm and cost more money when it comes to a smaller business.
Find out more in “If You are not Doing Background Checks on Your New Hires, You are Making the Biggest Mistake Your Small Business can Make!”.
But screening applicants also comes with the responsibility of following certain rules and obligations. That means understanding and complying with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines and all applicable local, county, state, and federal laws when it comes to hiring and background checks.
These laws govern when you can initiate the background check and how you can legally use the information found to make your hiring decision.
Read “Tips to Help Your Small Business Fly Under the EEOC Radar” for more information!
That is why it is good business
to develop a strong
hiring and screening policy
before you ever even consider
finding your first employee.
Setting up and following a good system from day one sets an important precedent for your small business and lessens the possibility of being accused of discrimination when screening potential employees.
The entire hiring process, however,
cannot and should not begin
before you create a compliant
background check authorization and
applicant rights disclosure form.
It is required that these forms are given to your applicant after a conditional offer of employment and before you begin screening. They ensure that your applicants understand that a background check will be done, that they consent to the background check, and that they know their rights in the event that a “red flag” is found during the investigation. This information must be given to each applicant, in writing, before the background check begins either in person or electronically.
That is why creating a compliant background check authorization form is so important.
Top 6 Rules to Follow for a Compliant Background Check Authorization “Tweet This”
|Created by Kim Kline, API|
For a good
Background Check Authorization form
to be compliant
it must follow 6 important rules.
First, it must be a Stand Alone Document. This means that your background check release cannot be included with any other documentation, for example your job application. The only exception is if you choose to create a release form that is combined with a summary of your applicant’s rights when it comes to the background check.
You can read more about these rights and other information important to your applicant in “Ready to Hire? What Your Applicant Needs to Know!”.
Second, your release needs to clearly state the the background check is being done solely to help you make an employment decision.
Third, the release must also explain that the purpose of the background check is to verify information provided by the applicant (on their application and/or resume) and to obtain information from other agencies as pertains to the background check. “Other agencies” would include courts, previous employers, colleges and universities, etc.
Fourth, it must state clearly that your applicant’s consent to the background check may be withdrawn at any time. If this were to happen, you, as the employer, would need to halt the screening process. However, it would also be within your rights to withdraw the applicant from employment consideration.
Fifth, your release form must include information on the investigating agency. This would be their name, address, and contact information. This ensures that your applicant knows who will be conducting the background check and how to get a hold of them in the event they wish to dispute any of the findings.
Sixth, the release must be signed and dated by the applicant. Without this signature, you cannot start the background check.
It is also important to understand
what your authorization form cannot include.
You must be careful not to ask for any additional identifying information on your applicant. Your form can only request their name and signature. Any mention of date of birth, address, or similar information is prohibited.
You must also exclude any language that releases your company from liability concerning the background check process or results.
The Disclosure is used to notify your applicant of certain rights in the event adverse information is found during the background check. It may be a separate, stand alone, form or contained within the Authorization form.
If separate, the Disclosure must also be given to the applicant in writing, whether in person or through electronic means, at the time you request they sign the release.
The disclosure is used to
notify your applicant of their rights
in the event you are considering
taking any adverse action
because of the information found in the report.
It includes the applicant’s right to be provided a copy of the report; the name, address, and contact information of the reporting agency; and a summary of their rights under the FCRA.
The applicant must also be given the opportunity to correct or mitigate any of the report’s findings. After you have weighed any additional information provided, the applicant must once again be notified, in writing, of your final employment decision.
For a complete Summary of Rights, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through this link.
You have the option of creating your own disclosure form or providing the one found through the above link. If you choose to use your own, make sure that it includes all the information your applicant needs to know by law.
Following these rules will ensure that you are using a compliant background check release and that your applicant is fully informed of their rights when it comes to that background check.
It will also help keep your company from landing in hot water by violating FCRA guidelines or other background check and disclosure laws.
That is why you need to
take a look at your employment background check process now.
Don’t wait until it is too late!
I can guide you in creating a
compliant hiring process for your Small Business.
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Find out more about how I can help you with starting or running your own Small Business by visiting my About Me and Services pages!