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Should we be doing Background Checks?

Updated: Apr 24

Background checks are usually done as assurance that the person and skillset that you are employing is suited for the position, and is “as advertised”, it is also used as a risk mitigator. Background checks help verify if the person meets the minimum expectation of the job description and verify if there is a criminal history, that it aligns with your HR and security policies.

I will outline a few examples:

Example one, the position requires you to drive and transport clientele. A history of multiple offenses of Driving Under the Influence or Reckless Driving, would most likely not align with this position. It would be considered a great risk. Although, this same criminal history may not affect an in-office sales position.


Another example would be your job description states the minimum requirement for a Senior Accountant is that of a master’s degree in Accounting and 2 years commercial tax experience. Your background screening should verify both the degree and experience exist.


My final example, your candidate applies for a Customer Support position. They will be assisting customers over the telephone with general support issues. The only offense found is a bad check from 7 years ago. If we look at the risk based on severity of the crime, nature of the offense, and time since the offense occurred, I think almost most people would agree this would not have any measurable risk.


Background checks should be used like any other onboarding task. However, it should not be used as a tool to “weed-out” an applicant. You should not have blanket polices, “we don’t hire felons”. Your HR and security policy should define the screening procedures and levels for your positions, and they should support both Federal and State guidance and laws.

If you are partnered with an innovative background firm screening is made easy. Integrations allow for seamless data streams and allows for candidates to enter data securely and by means of mobile devices. They also allow, as a convenience, paperless FCRA notices to be downloaded electronically or emailed to candidates.


Finally, when it comes down to it, cost is a huge factor. HR Departments run on lean budgets and usually these departments do not generate revenue. The complaint might be that screening candidates may be too costly. I would argue that a lack of screening would be even more costly for your company, your brand and reputation.



Jolene Johnston

Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Note: This article is intended to provide general information and should be not be interpreted as legal advice.

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