We’ve Got You Covered With Background Screening

Feb 25, 2022 | Background Screening | 0 comments

Conducting employee background checks yourself? You could be missing important information that could protect your organization.

For starters, background checks must be thorough. Which databases and primary sources do you check to ensure that you are getting a comprehensive history of your prospective hire? If you’re not verifying a candidate’s education, employment, and references, you could miss important clues about her past. For many businesses, screening prospective hires against county, state, and federal criminal records and registries is needed.

In addition, some elements of a background check may need to be conducted again for your employee population. If a background check didn’t turn up any red flags when an employee was hired, that doesn’t mean an individual couldn’t get involved with illegal activity after being hired.

Keep in mind the following when performing background checks: You need to adhere to Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) standards, you’ll want to be aware of limitations that exist on criminal records, you’ll need to understand which level of background check is required for the position, and you have outsourcing options for background screening.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

When employers conduct background checks, they must be FCRA-compliant. The Fair Credit Reporting Act ensures the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer reporting agency information used by credit bureaus and other agencies. If you’re not following FRCA standards or you’re using protected information like credit scores or medical information to make hiring decisions, you could find yourself in legal trouble.

Employer responsibilities that meet FCRA standards for background checks include written disclosures, written permission from the applicant, informing the applicant of his rights, offering to share results with the applicant, following Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules, and complying with adverse-action procedures.

If you don’t have these processes in place, you could end up paying huge fines like RealPage, Inc. did. This Texas company paid the Federal Trade Commission $3 million dollars for violating FCRA requirements in their tenant screening processes. Don’t take the risk.

Background Screening Report Limitations

Federal and state laws govern the information you receive when you run a background check. Some information does not appear on a candidate’s record at all, some is removed after a period of time, and some varies by location, or the position being filled. The following is a list of the limitations or results you could encounter when performing a criminal background screening:

  • Convictions. If the person you’re checking was convicted, the information may be reported indefinitely. However, some state laws limit what can be reported to employers.
  • Non-convictions under seven years. According to FCRA, arrests that did not result in a conviction may be reported for up to seven years. There are four types of non-convictions:
    1. The charges are dropped.
    2. Nolle prossed. The court decides not to prosecute.
    3. Deferred adjudication. The defendant pleads guilty in exchange for abiding by court requirements such as probation or community service.
    4. Pre-trial diversion. The defendant agrees to a supervised program. Upon its successful completion, the charges are dropped.
  • Non-convictions that become convictions. In some instances, such as a probation violation, a non-conviction can turn into a conviction.
  • Probation violations that do not become convictions. The defendant violated probation, but the record is not changed to a conviction.
  • Sealed or expunged records. Some arrests and convictions are sealed from government agencies, so they will not appear on a background check.
  • Salary-dependent rules. Although FCRA states that civil judgments, government sanctions, and disciplinary measures relating to licensure will not appear in background check results after seven years, that rule does not apply to open positions with a salary of $75,000 or more. Those might appear on background checks for a longer period of time.

Criminal background screenings can be tricky. To get the complete picture, a criminal background screening should check federal civil suits, federal criminal offenses, county-level civil suits, and county- or state-level criminal convictions. Covering all the bases, keeping in mind there are limitations in reporting, can be a challenge for some businesses.

Level 1 vs. Level 2 Background Checks

Another thing to keep in mind is the depth of the background check that is required. The position and potential access to at-risk individuals will help determine what level of background check is needed.

A Level 1 background check is typically done at the state level and focuses on an individual’s employment history. These checks are name-based meaning they rely on the accuracy of the name of the candidate that is provided.

A Level 2 background check is a fingerprint-based check at state and national levels. It is more extensive than a Level 1 check and is typically used for positions that require working with children or other vulnerable populations.

Outsourcing Options: ReferencePro and CheckMedic

To avoid the issues raised above or even save time during a period of rapid expansion, employers can hire third-party organizations, such as Verisys to conduct background checks on their behalf. Verisys offers basic background screenings with ReferencePro or more extensive search capabilities such as criminal background checks are available using CheckMedic.

ReferencePro offers thorough, timely, and secure information to help you make informed hiring decisions. ReferencePro screenings search thousands of primary sources and are FCRA compliant. A typical ReferencePro background check includes:

  • Employment verification. Includes start date, end date, title, salary, the reason for leaving, eligibility for rehire, verifier name, verifier title, and verifier contact information.
  • Education verification. Verifies dates of attendance or graduation, degree, and/or major.
  • Credentials verification. Verifies applicant’s license, certifications, or credentials, the date of issue, expiration date, and status.
  • Basic reference. Asks up to five questions likely to be answered by Human Resources, such as attendance record and job description.
  • Professional reference. Interviews up to three specified contacts such as a co-worker or direct supervisor.
  • Personal reference. Interviews up to three specified contacts such as a friend or associate.
  • Peer reference. Conducts an extensive interview with a specified peer.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT). Verifies applicant’s previous or current DOT related employment: start date, end date, title, salary, eligibility for rehire, and the reason for leaving, plus standard DOT Drug and Alcohol questionnaire.
  • International employment. Verifies previous or current employment outside of the U.S.: start date, end date, and title along with verifier name, title, and contact information.
  • International education. Verifies attendance and the degree from provided school outside of the U.S., along with verifier name, title, and contact information.
  • International references. Obtains professional references from past supervisors.

If you need more than a basic background check, you can add a criminal background screening using CheckMedic. Level 1 and Level 2 background checks are covered with CheckMedic’s criminal background results. CheckMedic, Verisys’ cloud-based platform, can screen, verify, and store all of this information for you. Best of all, ReferencePro and CheckMedic work hand in hand to cover all of your background screening requirements.

Learn how ReferencePro can solve your employment screening problems.

Verisys Written by Verisys
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