Background Checks.  What they include and why you should do them.

You’ve found someone to hire that appears to be the “perfect” candidate.  Now, you have two options.  Hire without doing your due diligence or hire after a thorough review.  Although there is something to be said about listening to your intuition or gut instinct, the latter is our recommendation.  Generally, the following checks are included in a standard background screening:

1. National criminal database search, including sex offender, most wanted and terrorist
2. Statewide search for real-time offences
3. Federal, Statewide and County criminal searches
4. Motor Vehicle verification
5. Credit checks

In addition to the above standard checks, you can opt for employment verifications, professional licensing confirmations as well as personal and professional reference checks.  Additionally, we often see common requests to check for substance abuse.  These tests can be ordered for 5, 10 or DOT panels.  The 5 panel screens for cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, opiate and marijuana.  The 10 panel does the above plus PCP, methadone, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants.  For DOT testing, procedures are established to meet very specific regulations for transportation positions set up by the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.  The test also often includes a breathalyzer for alcohol.

Conducting background checks will help you to hire the best employees for your business.  Given that you trust employees with cash and/or credit transactions, working closely with your clients and perhaps even traveling to customer homes, it is best to have some idea as to their character and previous actions. Additional benefits of conducting background checks can include reduction in employee theft, less employee turnover, workplace violence mitigation and protection against negligent hiring. A little preventative measure can help you avoid a lot of problems for you and your business in the future.

With the recommendation to conduct background checks, we do want to highlight some procedures to help protect you as well with your processes.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC has established a few guidelines. First, employers should not create a general policy that requires all applicants with a criminal history to be automatically eliminated from consideration.  By doing so, it may be seen as a strategy to “limit the employment opportunities of some protected groups.”   The EEOC wants to ensure that employers are exercising good judgment in considering applicants and their backgrounds.  They request employers give applicants the opportunity to explain any criminal circumstances and fully review all situations on a case by case basis. All decisions should be related to the job in which the candidate is applying and employers should also give credence to the degree of the crime as well as the time frame that it occurred.  For further review, please visit the EEOC website

Dealing with Human Resources issues including recruiting, hiring and pre-employment testing can be confusing and increase liability when not handled properly.  Therefore, we suggest that you work with a Human Resources professional such as StaffScapes to establish your policies and procedures.  To learn more, please contact us at 303-466-7864 or