Conducting employee background checks as part of the hiring process has become commonplace for most employers today.
A recent study by the background check firm HireRight revealed that 84 percent of organizations screen job candidates for criminal history, with 72 percent using background checks to verify past employment.
Research shows that employers have good reason to screen potential new hires. The Hireright study found that 85 percent of employers discovered a misrepresentation on a resume or job application, with 77 percent saying their screenings uncovered an issue with a candidate that wouldn't have otherwise been caught.
Employers today have a wealth of options when it comes to what they can screen job candidates for. In addition to criminal searches and employment verifications, screenings can confirm a candidate's identity, verify their educational history and review motor vehicle records. Other screenings background check providers offer are:
- Sex-offender status searches
- Professional license verifications
- Credit report checks
- Civil records checks
- Workers' compensation history searches
- Healthcare sanction checks
- Drug testing
When conducting background checks, employers have two options. They can hire a full-service background check firm or a use an online do-it-yourself website.
Full-service firms offer a comprehensive array of screening options. When conducting screenings, these firms can go beyond searching online databases. For example, when conducting criminal checks, these firms often send representatives to specific courthouses to look at on-site records. They also make phone calls to verify past employment and education. These types of comprehensive checks typically take between two and five days to complete.
One of the most important reasons many employers lean toward full-service firms is that they abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). These are the federal laws that govern how employee background checks must be conducted. These laws include having to get job candidates' consent to conduct a background check and giving them a chance to review what was discovered.
DIY websites operate much faster than full-service firms. While they can return results nearly instantly, these checks aren't as comprehensive. They typically rely on online databases, which aren't always accurate and kept up to date.
Another issue with DIY services is that they often don't adhere to FCRA laws and aren't intended for employee screening purposes. Employers that use these services are taking a risk and opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit.
In the end, most employers believe incorporating some type of background check into their hiring process is paying positive dividends. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed by HireRight said it led to better quality hires.
Other benefits reported include more consistent safety and security, improved regulatory compliance, better company reputation and greater employee retention. Just 12 percent of organizations reported not seeing any benefits.