Common Background Screening Mistakes

More and more employers are using background screening to help them find just the right person to fill their vacancies, but how can they be sure their check is giving them exactly what they need? What are some common background check mistakes?

First, it’s important that employers ensure they’re in compliance with federal and state laws.

In New York, for example, employers must comply with both the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act – the state act is stricter in some areas. While both acts seem to apply only to credit reports, they actually cover much a wide range of reports, and if the report vendor is from another state, there is no reason to assume they’re in compliance with your state’s laws.

For best results, start a pre-employment background screening as soon as possible, so you aren’t left with a vacancy – or worse, an unqualified employee – when the report arrives.

Another legal issue arises when a company doesn’t have a clear set of written background screening guidelines that are consistently applied to all applicants. Performing checks on some applicants and not on others opens employers to claims of discrimination.

And remember that it’s best to have applicants sign a separate form assenting to any background checks rather than a single line on the employment application form, and give the applicants sufficient time to read through the information.

Finally, employers often perform excessive screening for lower-level employees. There’s no need to pay for an education verification or deep credit report on a low-level or temporary employee – instead focus your resources where they’ll do the most good for your company.

Background checks can be a valuable tool in any employer’s arsenal, and keeping these tips in mind will give you the right information to recruit the right candidate.

Kristina Taylor
In 1989, Kristina began her career as a customer service representative at the newly formed American Tenant Screen, Inc. Ten years later, she pioneered tenant background screening on the Internet. As a long-standing member of the National Multifamily Resident Information Council (formerly the National Association of Screening Agencies) Kristina gains insight into the trends of the tenant screening industry to better understand the current and future needs of their clients.

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