November 16th, 2020

Conducting a Background Check for Employment: Things to Note

What is a Background Check for Employment?

Background checks for employment are a valuable part of the recruitment process. They allow employers to receive objective information about a candidate’s background before making a final hiring decision. Regardless of industry, a comprehensive background check can help employers minimize risk and comply with specific laws and regulations.

Remember The Human Element during a pre employment background check

Employers have a duty to protect their business interests, staff and clients, but background checks should not be used, or rather, abused, as a means of discrimination. It’s a stark reality that those with prior arrests or convictions struggle to find employment. Approximately 70 million people in the US have a prior arrest or conviction on their record. Consequently, a significant number of people are at risk of being denied employment opportunities because of these records.

All Things Considered: Context Matters in a background check

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that employers take into account the nature of the crime, the age of the crime and whether the crime will have an impact on the job at hand. Municipalities and states around the country are starting to recognize this reality, as evidenced by the number of ban-the-box laws and statutes that require individualized assessments. This means that employers are removing any questions about conviction history that may disqualify a candidate from their applications.

Instead, employers are humanizing the process, and they are providing fair employment chances for qualified candidates. This involves looking at the objective data compiled from the background check while balancing it with transparency, personalization and respectfulness.

Transparency is Key

A transparent and personalized process means the candidate is aware of the steps along the way; he or she fully understands what information is being shared with the potential employer. Potential candidates have full access to the employment background check results. They have the opportunity to respond to any errors and provide context around criminal records, gaps in employment, poor credit reports and other information that the employer could consider a “deal breaker.” Employers are advised to ignore irrelevant information. Some background check reports may contain dated information or report on areas that have no impact on your business operations.

employment background checks should be A Fair Process

A process that treats candidates fairly is one in which the employer respect the candidates’ privacy. There’s no reason to pry for unnecessary information simply because you can get it. Consider if there’s a legitimate business reason for you to have specific information, and conduct background checks that limit results from these key areas. Recognize that background checks often leave people feeling vulnerable, and do your part to help ease their concerns.

Don’t forget the human element

A prior conviction should not necessarily prevent one from finding gainful employment. Job applicants should feel confident that employers will consider their qualifications before taking into account any prior convictions. Taking steps to humanize your background check process will ensure that you’re getting the best talent and providing a meaningful second chance to someone who deserves it. “Temper justice with mercy,” as it were.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions we receive about background checks for employment:

How long does an employment background check take?
Turnaround for a pre employment background check is typically 2-5 business days.

What do employers look for in a background check?
Employers are interested in seeing your work history, financial background, identity and criminal status as a way to determine if hiring you would pose any risk to their organization.

How far back does a background check go for employment?
A background check for employment generally goes back a maximum of ten years.

Roughly how many employers conduct background checks?
A 2017 survey indicated that over 90% of employers conduct some sort of pre employment background check.

How much does an employment background check cost?
There are many types available, and generally cost $20-$100 per applicant, depending on the background check chosen.

Does an employer need permission to run a background check?
Yes! An employer always needs to obtain written consent from the applicant before proceeding with any time of pre employment background check.

Looking for employment background check companies? As part of Ajilon’s service offerings, we can help your organization handle background checks responsibly.



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