Have a Written Policy – Screening Potential Employees

by Joe Killinger
CEO, theRRD.com

All companies should have a written document outlining their screening process. This helps prevent legal issues and allows candidates to clearly understand the company’s requirements. The policy should include how the checks are conducted, what is included in the checks and what will be required of the candidate. If using social media in screening a separate policy should be written. Detail the types of background checks you regularly conduct and how, and the type of information you’re screening for. Make sure you include federal, state, and local laws in your guidelines. Also, be sure to clarify how you will apply your background screening results.

Employer reputation matters; therefore, conducting consistent background checks are a must and gives you a sort of check during the recruitment process.  Every company needs a policy on background checks so that all candidates are treated fairly. It’s also important to evaluate the reasons that the candidate failed to pass a background check as some may not be deal-breakers. Make sure all data is accurate and correct any discrepancies. Keep in mind that not all government and law enforcement sources of data are 100% accurate.

You will lessen your chance of a discrimination claim by developing a formal corporate procedure that’s legally sound that addresses candidates who have failed background checks. Make sure it’s FRCA and EEOC compliant.

Having clear, written policies and procedures, and adhering to them, can help prevent the basis for lawsuits. When employers work closely with their consumer reporting agencies to ensure compliance, it is important that those policies and procedures are in place. These types of written documents can be shown in a court that the employer did not willfully violate the FCRA, but rather that the violation was done out of their ordinary practice.

Employers would create, adopt and distribute a written policy, which is then communicated to their hiring agents and recruiters, which they are not to communicate or take action on a background check until at least five business days from the date of the pre-adverse action notice. In some instances, it may be beneficial to disallow access to consumer reports during this crucial waiting period as waiting is counter-intuitive to the recruiting process.

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