Using a Background Check Company

The use of a background check company can come in handy for many reasons. Let’s face it, as a small business owner there is rarely, if ever, a time where you can say “I need to find something to do.” You’re as busy as a one-legged rock kicker and an employment screening can be time consuming. Therefore, outsourcing that task may be beneficial to you and your organization.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, requires that you have all applicants sign a disclosure form authorizing you to perform employee background checks . In certain states you, the employer, are restricted from using certain information in the employment screening process. The American with Disabilities Act, or ADA, has their own set of rules restricting employers from using certain medical and disability information in the hiring process. There are even certain questions you are forbidden from asking during the interview process. Can you honestly say you’re well versed in all these rules and how they apply to you in the state which you do business? If not then the use of a background check company may be just the thing for you.

background check company can assist you in finding accurate information on candidates and they should also be able to give you relevant legal advice on what information you can and can’t use during the hiring process. You have profit/ loss statements, inventory, employee performance and a litany of other issues to deal with. This is their only business, so it’s fair to assume they would be much more informed and thorough than you alone would be. Using a background check company can be an excellent tool to assist you in the accuracy of information and your own time management.

Employee background checks keep your company from making a fatal mistake in hiring.

For more information on employment screening , employee background checks or criminal background check contact us at background check company or call 1.770.426.0547

Small Businesses and Background Checks

Small Businesses and Background Checks

Most people assume that large companies who are hiring new employees conduct background checks as part of their pre employment screening policy.

For those who know or suspect that something in their background may cause disqualification for a position might aim their efforts at employment at a smaller business, one that would be less likely to run any kind of background checks on candidates or new hires, since they probably don’t have their own dedicated human resources department.

Small businesses have typically been reluctant to run background checks, depending instead on interviews, gut instinct, and local reputation of the applicant.

Today’s workforce is far more fluid and mobile that in the past.  Potential employees are far more likely to commute longer distances and even to change residences to obtain employment that they may have turned down a couple of years ago.  And as employment became harder to get, applicants became more willing to exaggerate, cover up, or even lie to enhance their chances at employment.

There is no 100% certain way to eliminate a bad hire or potential problem employee, but the advent of fast, affordable, background checks has given small businesses a reliable tool in their ability to avoid problems in the future.  A background check is far cheaper than replacing a bad hire, even on the first day of employment.

If there are questions about setting up an employee background check program for your small or medium business, please call 770-426-0547, or click here to contact a representative.

Reasons to Conduct Background Checks

Reasons to Conduct Background Checks

More and more employers are conducting background checks as an integral part of their pre employment screening procedure as shown by numerous studies and reports.  One of the reasons for some of the employers are doing this is because of an unpleasant experience with an employee.  Maybe the employee stole; perhaps the employee fought with a fellow employee or customer; or maybe the employee received a DUI while in the company van, and the employer decided that this type of behavior would never happen at his business again.

Most employment screening includes a criminal background check.  This is the most often requested of the background checks and obviously is done to determine if the individual has had any contact with the judicial system, and if so, how often and how serious was it.

A social security trace is often run to reveal any addresses used by the applicant.  Are there any locations that the candidate might need to explain because he left them off his application?  Why would someone do that?  Perhaps to hide a criminal record or the location of a job he’d rather you not know about.

A motor vehicle record is a must for an employee who will be driving on company business at any time.  Even valid licenses may have severe restrictions and withheld privileges associated with them.  A license that looks valid may also be a counterfeit or suspended.  The candidate sure isn’t going to tell you if it is.

Reference checks, professional licensing, and employment verifications are other relevant areas of background checks that may lead to a clearer picture or the applicant’s past activities.

An employer certainly has the right to make an informed decision in hiring a new employee and thorough pre employment screening helps in making that decision.

As with any policy, apply pre employment screening consistently to all applicants considered for a position with your company.

For more information on employee background checks, call 770-426-0547 or click here to be connected.

Workplace Violence Screened by Background Checks

Workplace Violence Screened by Background Checks 

Pre employment screening can’t possibly exclude an individual who might display bullying tendencies that could possibly lead to workplace violence, can it?

There seem to be more and more stories being publicized about workplace violence recently.  A workplace shooting at a Manchester, CT brewery that took the lives of nine people is an example.

There is also more media attention being paid to workplace bullying, which has a very broad definition, encompassing activities from slander and name calling to aggression and physical assaults.

Two thing are certain about workplace violence incidents: they can cost an employer big bucks in the case of lawsuits, and while they can’t be totally controlled, there are things an employer can do to lessen the risk.

From the pre employment screening and background checks standpoint, there are two areas that deserve heightened scrutiny:  criminal background checks and reference background checks.

Does the criminal background check show any signs of a violent or abusive person?  Are there charges for simple battery, affray, disorderly conduct, or domestic violence?  If so, pay extra attention to the applicant during the interview process and get a feel for their attitude.  Ask specific questions about information contained on their application and resume, and determine if they are truthful or covering something up.

Make your reference background checks as detailed as you can, asking former employers if there were instances of bullying or violence related to the applicant.  Although some former employers don’t willingly give this type of information, there are others just waiting for you to ask.

It is a lot simpler to not hire a person with a history of bullying and violence than it is to handle it once they become your employee and incidents have occurred.

To discuss your pre employment screening and procedures relating to your background checks, click here or call 770-426-0547

You Have to Give SHRM Credit

You Have to Give SHRM Credit

There is legislation pending before congress that would remove credit background checks from employers’ pre employment screening programs.  The bill HR 3149, the Equal Opportunity for All Act, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, and is currently as of October assigned to committee.

Colleen Parker Denston, Human Resources Director at a Maryland prep school and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) testified on behalf of that organization before the subcommittee considering the bill.

Ms. Denson stated, “There is compelling public interest in ensuring that employers can assess the skills, abilities, work habits, and integrity of potential hires.  Credit histories, like other aspects of the background check process, are but one piece of information HR professionals use to evaluate whether an individual should be hired.”

SHRM surveys on employers’ background checks have shown that the use of credit histories have not increased in recent years, despite changes in the economy.

There seems to be a common misconception among opponents of credit histories used in the pre employment process that a certain credit score may eliminate an applicant from consideration, or that unfortunate circumstances such as medical bills or job loss may affect a candidate’s employability.

In actuality, credit reports for employment purposes are restricted from providing a credit score, and most companies using credit reports for employment screening tend to look at the overall credit picture rather than specific slip ups contained in the report.  Most companies use the credit report only as one small part of a larger snapshot of a candidate being considered in the employment screening process.

For more information on the use of credit reports in pre employment screening, call 770-426-0547 or click here to email.

This blog does not represent any official SHRM viewpoint and is informational only.

Background Checks and Social Media

Background Checks and Social Media

If your pre employment screening efforts consist of Google and Facebook, you are not getting the information you need to make a good hiring decision.  In fact, the information you get from the internet may be worse than no information at all.

In the world of corporate HR, two words you will hear fairly consistently are… fairly and consistently.

Using a social site like MySpace or Facebook as a pre employment tool poses several potential problems.  Are you checking every applicant online, or just a few?  What if the applicant’s personal page shows that he or she is of a particular religion or race?  Suppose they belong to a group whose views you don’t happen to agree with?  How about if there is a picture of the applicant in a bar?  And remember, most of the content that is on an applicant’s social media site is information that he or she is putting out there for everyone to see.  It may not actually be representative of the individual or his behavior.

If you then don’t hire the candidate, could there be a problem?  Possibly.

Using the Google Search Engine may also present problems, as results being returned to you might not be the person you are interested in.  Even unusual names can be duplicated in the vastness of the internet, so that your results may be totally inaccurate.  Then it is up to you to determine if the person is the correct one.  And accuracy is what you want in pre employment background checks, and you want to apply all your employment screening standards fairly and consistently.

Neither of these will provide information that is actually useful on its own in pre employment screening.  At best, it should be used only in addition to employee background checks conducted by a trusted background check company.

Use your background check company as a valued business partner helping you define an effective employment screening program that is applied fairly and consistently to all applicants.

To discuss your pre employment screening policies, contact us by calling 770-426-0547 or click here to email.

Pre Employment Screening – What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

Pre Employment Screening – What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

Using your pre employment screening program, reviewing resumes, telephone interviews, in person interviews, you have narrowed your choices down to two candidates for a management position who are more or less equal in experience, ability, and education.  Now it is time for the background check.

The position requires exposure to cash receipts, customer interaction, driving a personal vehicle on various company business, and access to proprietary company information.  In addition, you have specified that a college degree is preferred for this position.

Based on the requirements you have determined to check the following:

§ Criminal history.  A basic check for all your new hires.
§ A social trace to determine previous addresses for the applicant.
§ Employment Credit Report to determine fiscal responsibility.
§ Employment verifications for the previous five years.
§ Education verification for the highest degree attained.

One of the applicants has provided on the employment application that he has worked two jobs in the past five years.  The first he left for other employment, immediately worked for the second employer from whom he was recently downsized; he has lived in the same location for the past five years, and prior to that at a different address in the same town.  He claims a Master’s Degree in Education from East Podunk State Teacher’s College, a small school in Oregon.
He says he has a misdemeanor arrest for disorderly conduct that was dismissed because it was a case of mistaken identity.

You send your request for background checks over to your background check company, and two days later you learn that your applicant was arrested twice for writing bad checks and received probation for one charge and the other was dismissed.  He was also arrested and convicted for felony credit card fraud for which he is currently on probation.

The social trace reveals that he lived in an adjoining state for a year that he failed to mention.  A criminal background check in that jurisdiction shows an arrest and conviction for misdemeanor battery, resulting in a fine and ten days in jail.

The applicant’s credit report shows that he has two judgments for debt outstanding and most of his other accounts are in collections.  All credit cards are at their limit or above.

A verification of his previous employment indicates that he was terminated from his first job six months before he said he was, and he started the second job six months after he said he did, leaving a one-year gap.  His second employer also states that he is not eligible for rehire.

And finally, good old EPSTC is found to be an online only institution that is not accredited by any organization.  Degrees and diplomas are awarded for a $500 tuition fee and for submitting a short essay stating why a degree should be awarded for life experience.

Now, the applicants don’t look nearly so equal, as the other candidate checked out 100%.

Not all of this is likely to show up on one applicant, but variations of each of these examples have and do show up regularly in pre employment screening of candidates.

Use a comprehensive pre employment screening program including employee background checks to fine the answers to questions your applicant nay have reason not answer truthfully.

To find the answers to pre employment screening questions, call 770-426-0547 or click here.

Are Volunteer Background Checks Necessary?

Are Volunteer Background Checks Necessary?

At first thought, any program with volunteers might balk at conducting background checks on its volunteers.  After all, putting someone through a background check seems like a fairly severe and demeaning thing to do.  After all aren’t these folks volunteering through a sense of civic duty, community pride, or just a sense of fulfillment through service?

Not necessarily.  If you think about it, what easier way is there for a perverted person to get close to a young person, a potential target, that through volunteering at an organization that serves this demographic?

If a volunteer who does the books for an organization as small as a little league needs quick cash to pay off personal debts or finance a lifestyle more likely to embezzle from that organization or from his “real” job, which is subject to a lot more oversight and trust is not assumed.

There have been numerous instances of volunteers arrested, even over the last several months to indicate that this is a widespread problem.  Just Google “volunteer arrested” to take a look at some examples.  Age doesn’t seem to restrict the activity, as suspects as old as 75 have been recently accused of having illicit activity with underage children.  Gender doesn’t seem to matter either, as there have been several examples of both middle and high school female teachers having flings with teenage boys.

Unfortunately, many times when a victim is harmed by a volunteer, it is the organization that is found liable for either not being aware that the volunteer had a propensity for this type of activity or by not supervising the volunteer closely enough to allow an opportunity to occur.

The best way to accept a volunteer is the same way you would employ someone at your business, and that is to utilize an employment screening process commensurate with the position.  Getting an address history, conducting criminal background checks in the appropriate jurisdictions, credit reports for financial positions, and driving records for those that will be operating vehicles in the performance of their duties as volunteers.

Not all volunteers have to accepted; use a critical eye, ask the right questions, and conduct a thorough background check on all volunteers.

To discuss background checks for your volunteer organization, click here or call 770-426-0547.

Pre Employment Screening and Temporary Agencies

Pre Employment Screening and Staffing Companies

Pre employment screening poses quite a puzzle for temporary agency recruiters and those placing contract workers.  Economically, it would seem to make sense to do as little as possible in this area, and still be able to claim that a background check has been done.  Economics aside, providing a less than suitable candidate to a client can have far reaching consequences to the agency’s reputation and future business.  If an agency places a candidate that erupts in an episode of workplace violence or commits some criminal act such as theft or fraud, the agency’s reputation will certainly suffer.  Bad enough if it happens, but worse if the agency should have known by past behavior of the candidate that such actions might occur.  Conducting an adequate pre employment screening would go a long way in preventing illicit activity, as well as demonstrating due diligence in the placement of candidates.

Frequently, however, the client dictates to the agency the depth and scope of the background investigation, and some are far more stringent in their requirements than others.  When that happens, where does the agency go?  Hopefully, they have developed a relationship with a knowledgeable background check company that will partner with them to provide an acceptable program for the client company.

A background check company should provide advice and direction in developing the pre employment screening program for every position from laborers to CEO’s, without forcing a cookie cutter, same for everybody background report.

For help and advice with your pre employment screening program, call 770-426-0547 or click here.

One Big Mistake in Employment Screening

One Big Mistake in Employment Screening

When a company starts doing employment screening, one of the first mistakes made is in deciding what checks to run on employees.  Obviously, an employer doesn’t need to run as extensive a check when hiring an hourly laborer as when employing a CFO.  The mistake that is made is in not spelling out the requirement for each position level, putting it in writing, and makes it a matter of policy.  Having a standard policy for each job level or even each job title makes it a simple matter to apply the checks appropriately, consistently, and fairly.

Employment screening is designed to assure the employer that he is getting the very best candidate available for an open position, but of course each position has different requirements.

For the lower level employee, a credit report or education verification may be unnecessary, while a job reference or criminal record check may be vital.  For a company driver, of course, a Motor Vehicle Record is important, for other jobs, maybe not.

The higher the job level, the more a comprehensive the employment screening process would be expected.

It is important to have the written procedure in place for a number of reasons, the most important of which may be that by applying the employment screening standards consistently and equally, the company has a defense against any allegations of discrimination when applying those standards.  The policy should also be fully compliant with state and federal laws in the application of the background checks.

Don’t conduct your background checks without having a solid plan in place.

To discuss your employment screening program with an expert, click here or call 770-426-0547.