Do you know what your background check would reveal? Future employers will probably find out!
Why do employers check the background of prospective employees?
Recent SHRM research reports that 69 percent of companies perform background checks on all candidates. Most companies (62 percent) that do background checks only do so after a job offer has been made.
The reasons employers order background checks?
- 53 percent of job applications include incorrect info.
- 10 percent of all background checks reveal a significant implication. (Society of Human Resource Professionals)
- Workplace violence accounts for 18 percent of all serious crimes. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
- 30 percent of business failures are caused by employee theft. (American Management Association)
- Costs of a poor hire are about 30 percent of the potential first-year salary. (US Department of Labor)
- 16 percent of executive resumes contain false academic claims. (Business Week)
Negligent hiring lawsuits are on the rise….
If an employee’s actions hurt someone, the employer may be liable. The threat of liability gives employers reason to be careful in checking an applicant’s background.
A bad decision can create havoc on a company’s budget and reputation, as well as ruin the career of the hiring official.
The bottom line: employers can no longer feel safe in relying purely on intuition.
Why you should know what is in your background report.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) hears claims from consumers who have been denied employment because of something appearing in a background check:
- State criminal records report an arrest but not the case disposition.
- The subject is the victim of criminal identity theft.
- The person’s name appears as an alias in court records even when a mistake has been corrected.
- A criminal conviction is reported, even though probation or deferred adjudication was served with the assumption that there would be no conviction.
- Convictions expunged or thought to be sealed wind up appearing on background checks.
Examples from the PRC files:
- False information.
A 49-year-old engineer was fired from his job because a background check incorrectly found an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
After many hours spent trying to find the source of this inaccurate information, he learned a background checking company had confused him with a much younger man with a similar name, but of different race.
The background checking company refused to change its report; the court refused to adjust the file, because the record did not belong to the engineer. The employer refused to hire him back, claiming there would be trouble.
The best the victim could do was to obtain a letter from the state Attorney General, which must be carried at all times, saying there is no outstanding warrant for his arrest.
An applicant at a major department store chain was not hired for a job because a national background screening company mixed his identifying information with that of another person. Even when the mistake was reported, the chain withdrew its job offer.
- Delayed access.
A young father from a mid-Western state secured a badly needed job. He was fired after a short time with only a vague explanation of something “wrong” with his background check.
Not having seen the report, he guessed that the “problem” may have been from a minor offense, which he was offered and completed a period of probation with the understanding that a conviction would not be recorded.
When advised of his rights by PRC staff to see his report, this individual received a copy of the report that was provided to the employer and was later rehired.
- Identity theft.
Karen first learned she was a victim of criminal identity theft when she couldn’t get a job or rent an apartment. She has been unable to resolve the issue and regain her good name, even after visiting several police departments in jurisdictions where her impostor was arrested.
- Impersonation by a family member.
Tina was the subject of a background check conducted for a job she applied for at a southern university. The information included nine pages detailing criminal activity.
Tina believed her sister stole her identity and used it at the time she was arrested. Frustrated in her efforts to fix the problem, Tina had been unable to get the cooperation of either the AG’s office or law enforcement to help her clean up the wrong record. (From Privacy Rights Clearinghouse April 14, 2010, Submitted to the Federal Trade Commission)
Guidelines for background checks.
There are specific guidelines that should offer business guidance in using background checks properly, as well as avoiding exposure to claims of discriminatory hiring practices.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) requires that employers provide detailed disclosures to employees prior to initiating background checks and also when an adverse action (the choice not to hire) is contemplated and when such adverse action is finalized.
These notices are also required by more than half of the states in the US. The lesson here is to make sure the background check used is performed by a reputable, compliant company.
(Hint: A company providing background checks that will produce a search without the candidate’s consent is unlikely to be thorough.)
Another factor to avoid discriminatory hiring is to have a valid reason for taking action on the results of a background check.
Merely having a criminal record is not a valid reason for disqualifying a person for hire. Some circumstances require stricter standards than others.
Jobs that involve working or being around children or disabled persons, access to customers’ homes, driving vehicles, access to drugs or explosives, or access to money or valuables might affect hiring decisions.
However, if the nature of a candidate’s offense does not put the company at risk, it is not OK to have zero tolerance policies.
Best practices for using background checks for hiring decisions:
- Include a statement in your job application that future discovery of false entries will be grounds for rescinding any job offers.
- Get the applicant’s permission before you check their background.
- Give the applicant a copy of the results of the background check.
- Do not form a negative hiring decision solely on the results of a background check, especially if the nature of the offense does not hinder performance of specific job duties of the position.
Case in point…
In 1993, a Kirby vacuum salesman was charged with rape of a customer in Texas. While the salesman worked for an independent distributor of Kirby vacuums, Kirby was held responsible for putting the customer at risk.
If the distributor had run a background check on the salesman, they would have likely uncovered a prior conviction for a sexual offense. The victim was awarded $160,000.
What to look for in a background check.
What makes a good background check? A criminal background check should include:
- A check against a national conviction database
- If a record comes up, it should be verified at the level of conviction
- A check against the National Sex Offenders Database
- A check against the Homeland Security Database
- Authentication of the social security number given
For one low price, Ovation Technologies offers fast and thorough background checks, including:
- SSN verification
- Homeland Security check
- Sex Offenders check
- Driver’s License verification (optional)
All criminal record hits are reviewed by trained professionals, to ensure you get the most accurate and complete results possible.
To learn more about background checks of yourself or another person—meeting all the features listed above—go to the Ovation Technologies Background Check page.
Since having the right employees are essential to the survival of any business, so Ovation Technologies offers one low price on background checks:
- Intelius $49.95
- Ovation $20.00
- Monster.com $50
- Backgroundchecks.com $39.95
A full background check for $20 makes Ovation the most affordable on the market. Try it for yourself—you may be surprised at what you find in your background!