What Does a Background Screening Policy Look Like? 18 Jan 2018


As with many aspects of how you run a business or manage an organization, you don’t want to approach background checks in an arbitrary manner or pick and choose who you screen. To ensure consistency in their hiring practices, organizations should do two things:

  • Make it standard practice to screen all potential employees.
  • Develop a standardized employment background check policy to use with all potential hires.

Because every organization is different, there is no one-size-fits-all policy appropriate for all. Instead, use the following template and answer the following questions to get started.

1. What is the scope of the policy and why is it in place?

2. Do you work in a particularly sensitive industry (e.g., finance or childcare)?

3. What will you screen for? You might have more than one list, depending on the position you’re looking to fill. But at a minimum you should include:

  • Criminal records
  • Drug testing
  • Education, identity, and previous employment verification
  • Driving records
  • Reference checks

4. At what point in the application process will you screen? There are both legal and strategic factors at play in deciding when to screen a candidate. Strategically, you want to find a middle ground. You don’t want to have a background check ordered for every candidate before the first interview (that would be too costly and time-consuming), and on the opposite end of the spectrum, you might not want to wait until you have narrowed the candidate pool down to one individual (in case they fail the background test for any reason).

Legally speaking, depending on what state you’re in and what municipality, there may be restrictions on when you can screen a candidate or ask about criminal background. Be sure you comply with these regulations.

5. Proper paperwork. You should have a legal document to give to candidates that outlines your background check policy, what is included (driving records, credit reports, etc.), and the procedure. This will also serve as a consent form that candidates will need to sign. The background screening agency can help you with this.

6. Inform the candidate of results. Regardless of whether the candidate fails any portion of the screening, you need to contact the candidate and let them know that they are able to receive a free copy of their report and other information they might need if they wish to dispute the report.

At Trusted Employees, we realize that not everyone has the time or resources to draw up a background screening policy. In addition to providing accurate and timely reports for our clients, we are happy to help you develop a background screening policy of your own.