When Should You Bring Up Background Checks with Applicants?

In today’s competitive business environment, most employers will want to conduct background checks on their potential hires. It’s the best way for them to avoid unwelcome surprises, to ensure that applicants are who they say they are and that they possess the skills needed to do the job. Each time a company hires the wrong employee, it wastes time and money.

But there’s more to it than that. Prospective employees have rights, and smart businesses will be careful so they will know what is permitted as well as how best to go about doing a background check in a way that is both fair and legal. It’s just a smart business procedure.

Potential employers will limit their inquiries to matters that affect job performance, and ask applicants for separate written permission to conduct background checks so everyone is singing from the same song book.

Regulations can vary from state to state, so it’s always wise for a business owner to run the fine print past a lawyer and use best practices. Most human resource specialists recommend being open and honest about the process, and about what information might be accessed during the investigation, so any potential employee is given the opportunity to withdraw his or her application.

There’s no doubt that background checks are delicate matters that can create problems later on for a business if a disgruntled applicant or employee feels they’ve been unfairly targeted. That’s why it’s best to deal with the process in a tactful, but honest and forthright manner.

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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