There is no question that businesses need to perform background screenings on their employees. Working to avoid job applicants with questionable or criminal histories helps companies avoid safety issues and negative legal ramifications in the workplace. Delving into an employee’s history takes time and money. Consequently, more and more employers are turning to third-party background screening firms in order to make the hiring process benefit their need to focus on their company’s primary business.
The market for background checks falls into two main categories: self-serve online entities and background screening firms that perform the majority of the work for the contracting business. Online background screening services seem appealing because they are usually inexpensive and provide quick results. However, most of the time employers get exactly what they pay for with these sites and sacrifice quality for low cost. Additionally, most online services that allow businesses to check their employees’ backgrounds themselves do not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Companies that do not adhere to FCRA standards open themselves up to a multitude of lawsuits.
Background screening firms provide a much more comprehensive service, and the additional cost is worth the money when one considers that these firms follow legal guidelines for vetting employees and provide thorough, specialized results. When choosing a background check company, employers should consider the following:
- Legitimate firms will provide multiple checks, preferably from multiple vendors. These checks routinely include criminal, education/employment verification, and credit (about 47% of employers conduct credit checks on their employees); although a plethora of other checks exist that these firms can tailor to the employer’s needs.
- Third-party background check companies will be FCRA compliant.
- Employers should ensure that the cost of the service helps eliminate legal risks.
- Employers should avoid contracting screening firms that offer social media checks for employees, because these checks can run the risk of equal opportunity employment lawsuits depending on the type of information the employee has on his/her social media profiles.
Because keeping the workplace safe and out of legal trouble is paramount in conducting business, employers not only need to screen their potential and current employees, but they need to do it correctly with the right firm and the proper resources. Doing so will provide peace of mind for everyone involved and allow employers to focus on their business and organizational needs knowing they’ve done their due diligence.