Having a solid background check program in place is one of the ways you can protect your business. It’s also one of the most cost-effective. When starting a company, little thought is given to pre-employment screening (unless you’re us), but it’s actually a relatively inexpensive means of protection when you’re growing. Knowing who you are hiring can make or break your company. So, having a background check program can give you that protection from the start, and the process is easy when you know the basics. So let’s get started!
Social Security Trace –This search is where it all begins since a Social Security Number (SSN) trace will help you confirm someone’s identity, reveal other names used (i.e. maiden) and verify where your applicant has lived. Why is this important? Well, an applicant may not be who they say they are and could have assumed someone else’s identify, which happens more often than you’d think. The SSN trace also provides previous areas of residency, which may not have been disclosed, particularly if the applicant was attempting to conceal court records. Knowing this information is crucial in determining the proper jurisdictions for criminal records checks.
Criminal Records Search – Criminal background checks are pulled from the county courthouses within the jurisdictions searched. (Louisiana calls these Parishes, not counties.) You should remember though, no search is complete unless Federal court records are searched. At the federal level you find bigger crimes like bank fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering etc. For example, if the FBI was involved, these charges are usually at the Federal Courthouse, not the County Courthouse. Also, if the job position includes working with vulnerable populations then a search of the sex-offender registry will be needed.
MVR – Motor vehicle records are valuable when a position requires driving for your company. This search will help you find information on an applicant’s license status and class, convictions, violations and infractions.
Employment and Education Verification – Beyond the obvious benefit of verifying someone’s experience and their education level, is identifying any inaccuracies on their application. Unexplained gaps in employment, inaccurate dates or lack of attendance at a school listed are all potential red flags.
Drug Screening – Many companies require these before a candidate can start and some require random screening, especially for safety sensitive positions. Additionally, companies now have to take into consideration any pertinent state or local Marijuana Laws.
These are the basics when creating a background check program for your business. However, the most important step is selecting an experienced vendor. A quality vendor will be able to assess your needs and determine which searches are necessary and which searches would be of little value. The right partner will ensure you are FCRA compliant (Federal Law) and that you are protecting your growing organization. In our next post we will talk about customizing backgrounds for various positions.