top of page

The Dos and Don'ts of Conducting Background Checks on Potential Employees

background check services for employees

Hiring the right employees is crucial to the success of any business, and conducting background checks is an essential part of the hiring process. However, it's important to understand the dos and don'ts of conducting background checks to ensure that you're not violating any laws or infringing on the privacy of potential employees.

In this article, I'll be sharing with you the dos and don'ts of conducting background checks on potential employees. From the legal considerations to the best practices, you'll learn everything you need to know to conduct effective background checks that are both legal and ethical.

So, whether you're a small business owner or an HR professional, read on to discover the dos and don'ts of conducting background checks on potential employees.

Maximize Your Hiring Confidence – Request a Quote from Global Background Screening®

The Legalities of Conducting Background Checks

Before you even begin conducting background checks on potential employees, it's important to understand the legalities involved. The first thing you need to do is ensure that your background checks comply with federal and state laws.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including background checks. It's important to note that the FCRA applies to third-party background check companies, but it also applies to employers who conduct their own background checks.

To comply with the FCRA, employers must obtain written consent from the employee or applicant before conducting a background check. In addition, employers must provide the employee or applicant with a copy of the report and a summary of their rights under the FCRA. Employers must also take steps to ensure that the information obtained through the background check is accurate and up-to-date.

Dos of Conducting Background Checks

Now that we've covered the legalities, let's dive into the dos of conducting background checks on potential employees. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. Be Consistent

When conducting background checks, it's important to be consistent. Develop a clear policy for conducting background checks and apply it to all employees and applicants. This will help ensure that you're not discriminating against any particular group or individual. This includes the adverse action process.

2. Verify Relevant Information

Make sure that the information you're verifying is relevant to the position the employee will be filling. For example, if you're hiring a driver, it's important to verify their driving record. If you're hiring someone to handle money, it's important to verify their credit history.

3. Be Transparent

Be transparent with employees and applicants about the background check process. Let them know what information you'll be verifying and why. This will help build trust and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Don'ts of Conducting Background Checks

Now that we've explored the dos of conducting background checks, let's take a look at the don'ts. Here are some practices to avoid:

1. Don't Discriminate

It's important to conduct background checks on all employees and applicants equally. Don't use background checks as a way to discriminate against certain groups or individuals.

2. Don't Violate Privacy Rights

Make sure that you're not violating the privacy rights of employees and applicants. Only collect information that is relevant to the position and make sure that you're storing that information securely.

3. Don't Rely Solely on Background Checks

Background checks are an important tool, but they shouldn't be the only tool you use to evaluate potential employees. It's important to also consider their skills, experience, and fit with your company culture.

Types of Background Checks

There are several types of background checks that you can conduct on potential employees. Here are the top 20 background check services:

1. Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are one of the most common types of background checks. They involve searching for any criminal convictions or arrests in the applicant's past. This check should include National, State, and local level.

2. Employment Verification

Employment verifications involves confirming the applicant's work history, including their job title, salary, and dates of employment. At GBS, we help conduct

3. Education Verification

Education verification involves confirming the applicant's educational background, including their degrees and certifications.

4. Credit History Checks

For positions involving financial responsibilities, a credit history check may be necessary to assess the applicant's financial stability and responsibility. By law, employers are not able to view your FICO score.

5. Driving Record Checks

For positions that require driving, a driving record check is essential to ensure the applicant has a valid driver's license and a safe driving history. Depending on the state and purpose these checks go back 3-7 years.

6. Professional License Verification

Professional license verification is necessary for positions that require specific licenses or certifications. This check verifies the applicant's license status and ensures it's valid and up-to-date.

7. Social Media Checks

A social media check can help assess an applicant's online presence, including their behavior and appropriateness on various platforms, which may impact the company's reputation.

8. Drug Screening