Background screening is essential in any hiring procedure as it helps the organization protect their interest, culture and reputation, and recruit the right candidate for the job. However, it’s important to implement fair and legally compliant policies for background checks. Employment screening processes vary for different organizations and the task often becomes challenging for small businesses where there are fewer resources to take care of all the aspects of hiring. Regulations are continuously evolving and to ensure that your organization is in compliance with the law, it’s vital for the HR managers to keep the employment screening best practices on top of their mind.
If you are developing a new employment screening program for your company or updating the existing one, here are a few best practices to consider for making your procedure consistent, accurate and compliant.
- Document Your Policies and Procedures
Documenting your policies and procedures regarding employee screening safeguards the company in multiple ways. Having a written policy helps in enforcing it throughout the department as well as for the outside vendors. It also helps in protecting the company against claims of discrimination.
- Customize Your Program
Statistics suggest that most of the companies use similar background checks for all employees which could expose them to potential claims of discrimination. As per the regulations, while conducting background checks one should consider the nature of the job, nature of the crime, possible exposure to harm, the amount of time since the reported offense and many more aspects to keep it fair.
- Highlight the Benefits
Highlighting the benefits of background check for employment is essential for better adoption of best practices. Educate the stakeholders and key decision makers about its benefits so they can make informed and intelligent hiring decisions to develop a productive workforce and safer workplace. Also, your company will have better resources for building an effective program.
- Develop a Social Media Policy
Although social media is a valuable tool, using it for background screening may expose the company to various risks. It may lead to discrimination claims and other compliance issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop a social media policy, taking into consideration the recent court decisions and legislations, along with the potential risks and benefits.
- Include Additional Types of Verification
In addition to conducting criminal background checks for employment, also include other types of verifications like drug testing, past employment verification, education history check, driving records verification, credit checks and more, and try to maintain accuracy in the information collected. Considering all aspects of background verification is essential for making good hiring decisions.
- Comply with Regulations
Laws and regulations for employment screening vary with different states. To avoid landing in legal hot water, companies need to understand the laws and design their HR background check process accordingly. Know the regulations for the places where your company is operating and implement practices to maintain compliance.
- Evaluate and Update Regularly
The laws and regulations keep changing and it’s important to keep your organizational policies updated. Regular self-audits are helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of your pre-employment background check procedures. Make necessary amendments to improve your hiring process and make it compliant.