Criminal Background Checks: a Necessary Requirement in any Hiring Process

Criminal Background Checks: a Necessary Requirement in any Hiring Process

Obtaining criminal background checks have become a routine practice in today’s human resources departments, as more and more employers recognize that they need to know as much as possible about the candidates they’re considering to hire.

You see, virtually all mistakes a person makes over the course of his/her life is recorded in some way, whether it’s a felony, driving under the influence, or simply a traffic ticket. And when employers run history checks on candidates for a job interview, all this public information becomes available online, on their computer screens, as part of the Criminal Records Registry.

But before an employer conducts a criminal background check, here are a few issues they should consider:

  • Not all criminal background checks are the same. When conducting a criminal background check on a prospective employee, make sure you choose a reputable investigations company. Many of the online firms do not conduct in-depth searches that cover federal, state, and local criminal databases. There is no such thing in the U.S. as a central criminal database, so it’s possible that some public records might reveal a few inconsistencies. And a comprehensive background check should also include extracting county records.
    In order to establish what counties to search for, it’ll be necessary to conduct a Social Security trace, in order to ascertain in what counties a person has worked in and where he/she lived.
  • Criminal convictions should be related to the job at stake. For example, driving under the influence (DUI) conviction should be relevant to the job of someone who does a lot of driving for the employer. Criminal records can not be used against the candidate if it’s not related to the job description.
  • Employers must be aware that certain types of records can not be used for employment purposes.  For example, if a prospective candidate for a job was arrested for a crime, but charges were never filed, the corresponding public record obviously still shows up. However, since they were never convicted, those public records can’t be used against them. Employers must be aware that they can only take hiring decisions based on convictions – not on arrests.
  • You normally need to make an offer of employment contingent upon successfully passing the criminal background check, before you can initiate the whole process. The criminal background check service you select can provide you with the proper forms needed in order to obtain consent from the job applicant.
  • The use of credit checks in the hiring process is controversial, because it might not be relevant to the specific job opening.  You see, the recent recession and jump in foreclosures means many more Americans have a poor credit rating. Furthermore, some job seekers claim that bad credit  is used as a way of discriminating against specific ethnic groups. In the U.S., there are very stringent regulations concerning when an employer is allowed to conduct credit checks for job seekers.

Unfortunately, criminal background checks  are a necessary requirement in any hiring process. Although most people feel they are invasive of their privacy rights – particularly for social media background checks – employers need to conduct them so that they can be prevented from making expensive recruitment mistakes. It’s much better to research thoroughly the candidate for the job opening in order to make sure they are a good fit, instead of making a bad hiring decision and then having to go through the whole process all over again in six months’.

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