Key points about background checks:
- Background checks screen prospective and current employees, providing information that can help you determine whether someone will be able to safely and successfully fulfill a job’s responsibilities.
- Background investigations can help keep your organization safe and offer some protection against negligent hiring claims. They can give you access to candidates’ criminal histories, driving records, and credit reports, while checking candidates against sex offender registries, terror watch lists, and more.
- When background checks are integrated within an HR software, you can save time with reduced data entry and improved time to hire.
Whether your organization has ten employees or one thousand, you know that each and every one of them is responsible for crucial tasks that keep your product or service in tip-top condition. A single employee can make a huge difference: maybe they bring in a profitable new client, transform your customer service team, or have a personality that brightens the workplace. However, a single employee can also have a negative impact on your organization. They could tarnish your reputation or create an uncomfortable environment for those around them.
With so much at stake, how can you make sure you’re hiring the right people who will make the right kind of difference?
Two words: Background checks.
What are background checks?
Background checks are screens and tests that give you information about your prospective and current employees. They’re typically run by background check services (like our partner Verified First) and require consent from the candidate, as well as some basic data, including their full name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and address. Once the background check service compiles the reports, you’ll be able to see the candidate’s criminal history, traffic violations, and other factors that might impact their ability to successfully fulfill a job’s responsibilities or contribute to a safe work environment. You can then use this information to decide whether the candidate is a good fit for your organization.
Why should your organization conduct background checks?
While background checks can be run on existing employees, they’re typically used to help employers make hiring decisions before offers are extended to candidates. Some industries and positions are more likely to require these pre-employment background checks than others. For example, teachers are often legally required to undergo background screening to help ensure that they aren’t registered sex offenders or otherwise dangerous people for children to be around.
The finance, law, health, and transportation industries also often require background checks, as individuals working in these fields deal with confidential information, care for the health and wellbeing of others, or may be liable for accidents and injuries. If your organization falls into one of these broad categories, you may be required to screen some, if not all, of your employees.
Although rules and regulations vary by state and industry, there are many instances where background checks are not required. Even though you might not need to conduct them, here are two main reasons why you should.
They help keep your organization safe
Background checks form the first line of defense when it comes to safeguarding your organization. Your employees and customers are a top priority, but your financial security is important as well. Background checks can help you maintain a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, socially and financially.
Screening allows you to check candidates against terror watch lists, as well as identify any criminal history or sexual offenses. They can also give you access to more specific information that may be relevant to your industry or organization. For example, at financial institutions, financial safety is of the utmost importance and the potential for fraud is high. Because of this, pre-employment assessments are typically required, and credit reports can be an important piece of a candidate’s profile. In most instances, you won’t be able to see the candidate’s FICO score, but you will be able to view outstanding loans and debts, late payments, and credit inquiries. This information can give you a more complete picture of a candidate’s financial responsibility, something that is irrelevant in other positions or industries (where credit reports cannot be used as a determining factor in the hiring process).
They help prevent negligent hiring claims
Background checks can also help prevent negligence lawsuits if one of your employees were to harm another person on the job. If this employee has a background of similar incidents, but you hired them anyway (either because you weren’t aware of the incidents or because you decided to overlook them), the injured person could file a negligent hiring claim against you. These claims argue that you knew, or should have known, about the employee’s background. Because of your negligence, they argue, an employee harmed someone when they shouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so. If something unfortunate like this were to happen, the small fee to run a background check would pale in comparison to a lawsuit.
If you do choose to administer background checks, they must be fair. This means that the items and records you check for must be consistent for each candidate, regardless of traits like age, race, and gender. If you’re worried about keeping your tests unbiased, a background check service can help.
How can you easily conduct background checks?
Background check services offer a wide range of tests and reports. They can help you choose the right screening tests for your organization and offer support for any questions you may have along the way. But even if you are interested in background checks, it can be difficult to actually administer them. In small businesses especially, HR departments often wear many hats and don’t have the time or resources to conduct background checks for every potential hire.
For organizations both small and large, the easiest solution is to use an integrated HR system. These integrated systems often partner with background screening services, allowing you to run background checks directly from your HR software. Because the screening service is housed alongside the rest of your organization’s information, you won’t have to re-enter applicant or employee data when requesting the tests.
Some systems even let you send notifications and documents via text message, which allows candidates to quickly sign and send documents back to you. Good systems also allow you to view the full reports on your HR platform once they’re complete. With an integrated background screening service, candidates typically reply up to two times faster than when using a separate third-party, which improves your time to hire and gets the right people to your organization in the least amount of time.
How SentricHR Can Help
At Sentric, we’ve partnered with Verified First, a leading background and drug screening service, so that you can run background checks with ease. You can request background checks and other screening services directly in SentricHR and Verified First will compile the reports. You can then view the results on SentricHR and mark the candidate as approved or unapproved for hire, making background checks a breeze. A few clicks are all it takes to keep your workplace safe!
Schedule a demo to learn more about integrated background check screening through SentricHR and Verified First’s collaborative partnership.