5 Things You Should Know About Background Screening

Background checks allow employers to make educated hiring decisions through screening prospective employees. The screening process provides environmental and fiscal safeguards well after the hiring process is completed. Though the process of performing background checks varies with each employer, certain commonalities exist of which all parties in the hiring process should be aware.

1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) determines the guidelines under which employers may conduct background checks.
The FCRA requires employers to give prospective employees a disclosure document stating that a background check will be conducted during the pre-employment screening process. Depending on the state in which the screening is conducted, the FCRA may require different levels of authorization from the prospective employee, but all background checks require written consent from the job applicant.

2. Employers utilize a multitude of consumer reporting agencies in order to acquire information about prospective employees, and not every employer will ask for the same information.
Most information acquired during the employment screening process is a matter of government public record (i.e. criminal record, bankruptcy, state licensing information). Government agencies will allow employers to have access to their databases for a small fee. Employers may also check other sources such as personal references and previous employment history. Each type of pre-employment screening requires a separate check, so third-party companies exist to consolidate the process for employers.

3. Certain information about prospective employees remains confidential throughout the screening process.
Because the FCRA seeks to protect all parties involved during background checks, employers cannot ask for certain information. Bankruptcies after 10 years, tax liens, collections, juvenile criminal records, and civil suits after seven years will not appear in the consumer report acquired by the employer.

4. Technological advances have resulted in a decrease in use of third-party organizations for background screening.
Negligent hiring is a major concern when conducting the pre-employment screening process, so technological advances have resulted in many employers opting to conduct their own background searches, rather than provide a third-party organization with prospective employees’ confidential information.

5. Prospective employees should prepare prior to consenting to a background check.
Various statistics report that potential employees provide an overwhelming amount of inaccurate information on their resumes, and background screening helps employers weed out discrepancies on job applications. Prospective employees should be aware of the laws in place regarding background checks, be honest on all application materials, and know what information the employer will obtain so they can avoid any negligence in the hiring process.

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