Stop Missing Out on These Four Reports in Your Pre-Employment Screening. 16 Aug 2019


Nobody likes to miss out. Whether it’s missing out on those bagels your employee brought for breakfast or the annual company party. While missing fun things is upsetting, missing something in your business’s screening process can be devastating.

Many companies leave out reports when they create a background check process. Omitting vital reports lets crucial information about your job applicants slip away. Can you still make the right hiring decision when you don’t have all the facts?

No. To know who’s best for the job, you need to get the full picture of a candidate. Confirming a potential employee’s history isn’t the only reason you need the right reports. Running the wrong reports for the job can get your business into legal trouble.

Using the wrong screening reports can lead your business into a huge lawsuit. In the past decade, employers have paid $174 million in class-action lawsuits over background check violations. The right background checks protect your business from expensive legal problems.

Each business is different, but certain screening reports help every company. Which checks are essential for all companies? How can you run these checks legally? We’ll consider these questions, but first, let’s see what a pre-employment background check is.

Pre-Employment Background Checks Do the Digging for You

Pre-employment background checks uncover your job applicant’s history. Depending on the type of screening, you can confirm a candidate’s identity, criminal record, work history, education level, motor vehicle records, or credit report. Screening applicants ensures you know the truth about your prospective employees.

Researching your applicant’s past can expose risks before they ruin your business. A city recreation center failed to run background checks on three job candidates. Two of them had drug charges on their record.

These applicants later ran a drug trafficking ring out of the recreation center. If the city had learned about their applicants’ past, they could have stopped the drug problem before it reached the center.

Instead of relying on potential hires as the only source of information about their past, you can verify their history yourself. Screening does show employers vital information. However, that’s not all background checks do. How else does running the right reports benefit your business?

Background Checks Help You Make the Right Hire

Screening applicants protects your company from bad hires. It stops unsafe and unskilled applicants from slipping through your hiring process. Instead of having to guess whether a person is qualified enough for the job, you know who’s right for the job.

Background checks also prevent your business from getting stuck with negligent hiring lawsuits. Screening reports can uncover a history of violence that might adversely affect your workplace. Uncovering a person’s criminal history helps you know who’s safe to hire and who to avoid.

Unfortunately, negligent hiring can strike any business. A woman who fell off a mechanical bull ride sued two companies involved for negligence in inspection and operation of the bull ride, as well as negligence in hiring and training the employee operating the ride.

If these companies had made the right hires, they could have avoided an overwhelming lawsuit. Ensuring applicants are safe can protect your business from the dangers of negligent hiring.

Screening applicants shields your business from more than negligent hiring. It also keeps your business legally compliant. Certain jobs and industries need background checks for safety and legal reasons.

Industries like education, healthcare, transportation, and government need screening reports to ensure they’re following regulations. For example, 41 states require home health agencies to screen potential employees. Running background checks keeps your hiring legal.

Screening applicants also keeps your hiring efficient. Background checks give you the information you need to choose the best applicant. Picking the wrong new hire can sap your business of needed cash.

If your new employee doesn’t work out, you’ll have to dedicate time and money to retrain them. With the average cost of training already hitting $1,075 per person, making a bad hire can set your company’s budget back by months.

Bad hires come in more forms than regular employees. Freelancers, temp workers, and contractors are on the rise. In fact, around 56.7 million Americans freelanced in 2018.

If you’re taking advantage of some external talent, you need to make sure they’re not taking advantage of you. Even freelancers who aren’t at your office are a potential danger to your company. Contractors have access to your most valuable assets, including clients and sensitive information. Running a background check ensures your freelancers won’t misuse your resources.

You need to run pre-employment background checks on your job applicants. It helps you make the right hire and keeps you out of legal trouble. However, different industries and job positions need different kinds of background checks. Which screening reports apply to every type of job out there?

1. Identity Verification

Identity verification ensures that applicants are who they say they are. Around 60 million Americans have been victims of identity theft. Surprisingly, identity theft often involves people applying for employment under someone else’s name.

Verifying your applicant’s identity shows that they’re telling the truth on their applications. It also ensures subsequent background checks are being run using the right name and SSN.

ID verification can verify that your applicants are allowed to work in the United States. Hiring someone without work authorization can land your company in serious legal trouble. One business owner lost $219,813 because he hired people who could not legally work in the country. He also became a convicted felon.

Working with a screening company that’s an authorized agent of the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program shields your business from illegal hires. It also guards companies against legal problems. For instance, federal contractors or subcontractors are legally required to enroll in E-Verify. Failing to enroll could drag your business into legal action and prevent you from getting new contracts.

Your applicant’s legal status isn’t all you need to double-check. An SSN verification reveals if your candidate has used a different name. If applicants have gone by a different name, you can enhance your criminal check by checking for convictions under that name, too.

Verifying your applicant’s identity is your first step to hiring. Once you’ve confirmed your applicant’s identity, running subsequent background checks will be easier. What other reports should you run?

Photo of fingerprints and handcuffs signifying an individual’s criminal record

2. Criminal Records

Most people hear the words “background check” and automatically think of criminal checks. Criminal records checks reveal an applicant’s criminal past. Knowing if someone has a criminal history protects your business and your clients.

Criminal records checks also warn businesses of potential dangers. One supervisor was convicted of misdemeanor battery when he grabbed and pushed a female employee into a wall. It was later revealed that the supervisor had abused and harassed the employee for two years. Using criminal checks prevents dangerous applicants from hurting your employees.

Criminal checks give you more insight into your job applicants. However, you can’t expect one criminal check to reveal everything. Each kind of criminal check uncovers a different type of offense. What kinds of criminal checks should you run to keep your business safe?

County Checks

A county check reveals crimes charged at the county level. County-level offenses can include offenses like drug charges, assault, or theft. County checks give you the information you need to shield your workspace from unsafe applicants.

State Criminal Check

Checking each state in which your candidate lived or worked reveals problems you might otherwise miss. A state check searches through a statewide criminal database that includes every county in the state. Researching your applicant’s past ensures your candidates aren’t hiding serious offenses in other counties.

Federal Criminal Check

Federal checks show high-profile crimes, like kidnapping and terrorism, along with any offense committed on federal land. It also displays crimes that are handled by federal agencies, such as the FBI, DEA, and ATF. These crimes don’t pop up when you run your other criminal checks, so this background check is essential for any business. Here are the federal criminal checks you need to run:

  • National criminal super search 
  • Federal criminal search 
  • International criminal search 
  • Nationwide sex offender registry search 
  • Most wanted search 
  • Federal court search 
  • OFAC and global terrorist search 

Ensuring your applicants are safe protects your clients, employees, and business from bad hires. However, there’s another danger to your company — applicants could lack the experience they need to help your company grow.

3. Experience and Reference Check

It happens to everyone; applicants forget when they got their last job or can’t quite recall what their title was. So, they put their best guess and hope that’s good enough. Others decide to tell a small lie to make themselves look better. Either way, you’re left to sift through your candidate’s job history and figure out what’s true and what’s not.

Unfortunately, this happens more than you think. One survey revealed that 78 percent of hiring managers discovered a lie on a candidate’s resume. Widespread resume fraud forces you to spend time double-checking every detail.

Separating truth from fiction doesn’t have to take all day. Running a work record and reference check gives you the full picture of your applicant’s experience.

Checking your potential employee’s work history shows what their job title was, what their duties were, and how long they worked at that job. Looking into their references shows if they were reliable at work and whether they left voluntarily or were fired.

Learning who has the necessary experience for the job makes it easy to pick the best person. However, experience may only be part of your job requirements. Applicants also need the right education to succeed.

4. Education Verification

Your job may require employees with a high level of education, such as a four-year college degree. It’s easy for applicants to lie and say they have the right education, but it’s tricky to figure out if they actually have the training they need.

Candidates can appear to have the right credentials, only to fail on inspection. Walmart’s former vice president for corporate communications did attend college for four years. However, he didn’t have enough credits to graduate. He was fired when they discovered he didn’t have the degree he implied.

How can you know for sure that applicants have the best education for the job? Verifying an applicant’s education confirms whether they have the education they put on their application. Education verification shows what university a candidate went to, what they majored in, and what degrees they received.

Now that you know what reports to include in your pre-employment background check, you’ll need to add them to your screening process. But you may wonder, “Am I missing anything else in my screening process?” Let’s find out what your screening process should look like.

Business owner reviewing their pre-employment screening process

Time to Improve Your Screening Process

Everything gets outdated eventually. As laws change and additional checks become necessary, you also need to revamp your background check process. Here’s how you can improve your screening:

  • Research the background check laws in your state and industry. States and industries each have regulations about what information you can access when hiring and what checks you should run. Staying up to date on screening laws helps your business stay out of legal trouble.
  • Use a knowledgeable background check company. Employing a reliable screening company helps you keep up with legal changes.
  • Have a standard screening process for all applicants. While some jobs may require more extensive background checks, you should keep the rest of your process standardized. If applicants are applying for the same position, run the same screening reports on all of them. A standard system keeps your process fair for prospective employees.
  • Disclose to potential employees that you are running a background check on them. Explain how you are going to use any information the check finds. You should also inform the candidates that they will receive a copy of their results.
  • Give candidates a stand-alone authorization form for them to sign. This waiver can’t have any extra information, as the courts have ruled it’s too confusing for applicants. You also have to separate state and federal disclosure forms.
  • Give applicants a copy of their background check results. You should send the applicant their results as soon as you receive them. Quickly delivering the report gives candidates a chance to dispute any incorrect information.
  • Add a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA” along with the results. Keep in mind that this form was updated in 2018 to include an applicant’s right to a national security freeze. So make sure you send the newer version.
  • Consider the results carefully. Decide whether any negative information relates to the job position. For example, financial fraud would definitely be significant if someone was applying for the position of a financial advisor. However, it wouldn’t matter as much if they’re applying to be a dog trainer.
  • If you’re thinking of making an unfavorable hiring decision, follow an adverse action process before making your final decision. An adverse action process requires sending multiple notices and following strict legal standards.

Following these steps will keep your screening process running smoothly. An up-to-date background check process also ensures your hiring is legally compliant. Combining your new and improved process with the right screening reports makes it simple to find the right hire.

Don’t Miss Out!

Missing something in your screening process can devastate your business. Are you getting the information you need to make the right hire? Using these four reports will help you find the right applicant for your company.

Standard reports give you the information you need to weed through your candidates. Verifying your applicant’s identity confirms that your potential employee is who they say they are. Checking your candidate’s criminal past protects your business from unsafe hires. Finally, double-checking that applicants have the right experience and education ensures they have the skills to succeed.

Adding basic reports to your industry’s background checks makes it simple to sort through candidates. Using these 4 pre-employment reports will keep you from missing out on the best new hires.