Background screening is a critical task when you hire employees for your small business. No longer can you really take the chance on hiring someone for your company simply based on the information they put on an application or resume. Consider the fact that, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 30% of small business failure is due to employee theft. The Society of Human Resource Managers reported in 2012 that 53% of resumes and job applications contain false information. Today, you need to make sure that you are pre-screening employees before you bring them on, even if they look perfect on paper.
Protect Your Legal Liability
One of the main reasons you should pre-screen employees is because it can protect your legal liability. There are typically two reasons that a small business will choose not to perform background checks. One of these reasons is that they tend to get a false sense of security from potential employees. The other is because they don’t fully understand the legal liabilities that come with background screenings. It is totally possible for a small business to be held liable for an employee’s actions and that could be devastating. Background checks keep your business safe.
Only Work with a Professional Background Screener
When you perform background checks, you should choose a professional background check company. Make sure that you are choosing a background screener that has your best interests in mind, has experience with small businesses and has a history of excellence when it comes to their reviews and reputation. Whatever you do, don’t purchase one of the “instant” background checks from the internet. They are notoriously outdated and inaccurate. One way to reduce costs is to decide what you really need to check for the position and stick to those criteria. You don’t need the kitchen sink for every candidate!
Understand all applicable laws on what you can and can’t ask for.
You should also make sure that you fully understand all state and federal laws about what you can legally discover and use in a background check. Any professional background screening company should be doing this, but it is also extremely important that you also do it within the confines of your office. For example, you cannot even run a background check on an employee without getting their signed permission. Health and financial records have extremely stringent requirements for use in a hiring decision. The same goes for someone’s private information on a social network like Facebook. Failure to comply with these laws can open you up to massive anti-discrimination lawsuits.
Background checks keep your company safe, but they must be done with care and with respect for the privacy of candidates. Failing to perform checks or looking too deeply can open you up to liability. The best bet is to consult with a professional screener or to get HR training to correctly conduct checks on your own. Better to be safe and do it right than do it wrong and risk losing your business.
Do you incorporate background screening into your hiring process? Spark a conversation below!
About the Author: Jim Addison has been in the ever-changing background check industry more years than he cares to count. Currently, he lives in Denver with his wife Catherine and three boys. He adores hiking in the Rockies, letterboxing, and craft beer.