The use of background checks by employers is currently becoming a necessity for new hires. For an employer to be certain of hiring a new employee, a background check can prove to be invaluable. More and more employers are finding that background checks are useful for other types of employees too, including those working directly with the public, young children, or elderly care.
Background checks can include investigations into a person’s criminal background, financial history, schooling degrees, and prior employment engagements. Each of these areas can provide an employer with valuable and needed information.
It is crucial for an employer to know that any information which is used from a report that causes the employer to refuse a person employment must be disclosed to the prospective employee and a copy of the report offered to the person investigated. The employee always has the right to know the following:
There are a few different types of background checks an employer can legally obtain.
Police Check / Criminal / Civil – This type of background check might involve biometrics, filling out the appropriate paperwork, and yields a review of the potential employee’s criminal record.
Qualifications Check – The employer should take the time to follow up on any educational degrees claimed on the potential employee’s Resume.
Credit History – The employer can request permission to run a credit check on the employee. This may be particularly necessary if the employee will be responsible for financial issues of the organisation.
References – While an employer cannot be certain that references are being truthful, it is always best to take the time to contact the listed professional references of any prospective employee.
Address History – The employer can request permission to run a current or past address check on the employee. This may be particularly necessary if the employee is changing employment very often.
Tips for Organizations planning to create a Background verification process
Have a consistent policy - This is best documented in a flow chart so everyone knows which steps to complete and at which point. Haphazard background verification check processes can cause legal issues if you are only applying some steps to some candidates, such as only doing credit checks on candidates from specific backgrounds
Get legal advice - Background checks can unearth sensitive information and, in some states, you are not able to gather certain information as part of a background check. Talk to a lawyer to make sure your background check does not cause legal issues for your company
Give candidates a chance to clear up mistakes or misunderstandings - Information obtained through background checks can incorrect. Giving candidates a chance to review information can help you save a great candidate that could have been excluded incorrectly
Use background check services that are FCRA compliant - The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is clear on what you can and cannot do as part of a background check with regards to credit information. This document provides a nice summary of how the information should be treated from the candidate's perspective. Nearly all background checks are governed by the FCRA, but you should know that there are an array of other laws that affect them, depending on state and region. For example, in some states, it's fine to use credit and criminal background checks for any employee, in others you can only perform these checks for specific types of employees
Do not assume parts of the background check process are routine - Critical information will often come up in the most mundane steps of the background check. Make sure that hiring managers take the process seriously and that they pay attention to the valuable information obtained
Don't ask for information about character while verifying previous employment facts - As soon as you start asking for opinions - questions about character, attitude, etc. you're doing an investigative consumer report. This falls under federal law, and you'll be required to give notice to the applicant, give them an option to ask for details, and comply with their requests. If you need this sort of information, it's best to get legal advice first
What does a basic background check include?
Education Verification - Ensure the educational Details declared are correct or not
Criminal records check - Provides criminal history for the applicant. Especially important for positions of trust/security. Should include national and county records.
Social security validation - Ensures the candidate's social security number is legitimate and finds all names, including aliases and variations, dates of birth and address history associated with the social security number. This shows employers if the candidate has lived in undisclosed locations or under other aliases, which may reveal criminal records that wouldn't have been found otherwise.
Address history check - Traces previous addresses for the candidate. Finding out where a candidate has lived will make it easier to verify other research, and may reveal jurisdictions where criminal background checks should be performed
U.S. terror watch list check - Most background checks will look to see if the candidate is on the U.S. terror watch list. Especially important for security jobs.
Sex offender registry check - Extremely important for positions of trust, this check is included with most background checks.
Data base checks - To run the name of the applicant in the list of available Global database(OFAC/OIG etc)
GAP Checks - This is to validate the information what candidate have done during GAP in academics and employment.