Know when to disclose background check policy to potential hires

When should you bring up the background check process?  When you make initial contact with a job applicant? After you have a successful interview? If you do it too soon will you appear to be distrusting and defensive, turning off potentially great employees? If you do it too late will you have wasted precious time considering someone whose background poses too many risks for your company to take?

Background checks are clearly a good business decision, but you need to know how and when to disclose and initiate them, as well as when and how to show the results. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that an employer must notify an applicant or employee in writing and get written authorization before any pre-employment screening is done.

Other regulations vary from state to state, so make sure you review your company’s policy with a lawyer and follow the letter of the law when it comes to best practices, to avoid any discrimination suits brought on by applicants who were turned down for a job after a background check.

Above all, be open and honest about your policy and the process, and make sure each applicant is given the opportunity to dispute and/or discuss the background check findings before a decision about their employment is made.

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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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