How often have you wished you had a background check on someone? Knowing more about a person helps us feel safer and more confident. But for a company, employee background checks are vital to protect your business, staff and customers.
- Always run a criminal background check on employees who will operate independently, work in an isolating setting, have high responsibility, or supervise others.
- Speak with previous supervisors of potential employees, rather than waste time with personal references.
- Run a background check on any employee who cares for children, the elderly or infirm, or who is responsible for maintaining controlled substances—even if not required by law.
- Consider a credit check for anyone responsible for handling company funds or who has access to company finances.
- Always run motor vehicle record and criminal background checks on anyone who will be driving company vehicles.
- Make sure you have a formal drug testing policy, and perform tests before employment, after an incident or if you have reasonable suspicion.
Legal Considerations for Background Checks
Note that there are laws and EEOC penalties surrounding the legality of background checks. Anyone whith a criminal record should not be barred from employment consideration, regardless of a charge and when it was filed. Instead, examine how a crime relates to the job. For example, if a person applying for a customer service position has a past record of speeding, he or she should be considered. However, an applicant with a long history of speeding tickets can be disqualified from a job that requires driving a company vehicle.
- When conducting background checks, follow state laws and make sure you treat all applicants equally.
- Avoid unproven and online companies where you can’t verify databases or how information is gathered. Only use reputable screening companies or a firm like Wise HR Partnerships to conduct checks.
Understand that your company can be held liable for any employee who harms others or property. Unless you have documented information that you properly vetted employees, you could be at risk.