The Importance of Employer Background Checks

Your business is personal. The people you entrust to operate your organization should create an environment that fosters positivity and growth. However, sometimes finding and hiring the right people is easier said than done. 

CareerPlug’s annual Recruiting Metrics Report tells us that businesses are hiring faster these days — shaving nearly a week off their time to hire from 2020 to 2021. In today’s fast-paced talent market, hiring the right people can feel like a shot in the dark, and many small businesses feel pressured to snatch up candidates before properly deciding if they’re the right fit for the role. 

Just because you need to hire quickly doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the integrity of your hiring process. Employer background checks are a crucial part of identifying the best candidates in your applicant pool and hiring them with confidence. 

As a CareerPlug partner and background screening provider, Verified First believes in the mission of helping businesses make the right hiring decisions. In this blog, we will share why you need to conduct pre-employment background checks and some important tips on conducting them properly. 

Reasons employers should conduct background checks

If you are a small business or an employer that wears many hats, hiring can be a daunting and time-consuming process. When you need people to fill your open roles fast, it can be tempting to rush through a hiring process and skip important steps like the background screening and reference checks. 

However, it’s worth pointing out that when it comes to hiring, applicant quality is more important than quantity, so instead of trying to move as many people through your recruitment funnel as possible, your focus should be finding and hiring qualified, trustworthy candidates. 

applicant quality is more important than quantity

Employer background checks can help you navigate the hiring process by identifying quality talent. Background checks offer a comprehensive look into a candidate’s past to help you decide if an applicant is a good fit for your open role. By screening your applicants, you gain insight into their identity, history, credentials and more. Let’s discuss some of the main benefits of pre-employment background checks for your business. 

Workplace safety 

Background checks can help you ensure that your workplace and your employees are safe from workplace violence, sexual harassment, and more. Background checks allow you to get a glimpse into someone’s history including criminal charges and convictions, so that you can hire people that will contribute to a positive and safe work environment.

Additionally, pre-employment background checks can help you avoid legal liability in the unfortunate event that something does happen at work. Negligent hiring can be a costly claim made against employers by an injured employee. This claim insinuates that an employer should have known about an individual’s history, and therefore should be held responsible. Do your due diligence and conduct a background check to demonstrate care and compliance with hiring and avoid expensive hiring mistakes. 

Data verification  

Background checks can verify that someone is who they say they are and that the information on their resume is true. This can help you determine someone’s honesty and reliability, and improve the quality of your hires. 

Though it’s always good to trust what job seekers are telling you, it’s worth pointing out that 40% of people lie on their resumes and three out of four employers have caught candidates in a lie. 

Give all candidates the benefit of your trust, but follow up with confirmation that they have the credentials and experience they claim to. 

employers that have caught candidates in a lie

Improves the quality of your team 

Background screening takes some of the unknown out of the hiring equation when evaluating applicants. It can help you determine the quality of a candidate before hiring them, preventing you from turnover down the road. 

Additionally, hiring quality employees contributes to a positive employer brand and reputation. And since many job seekers won’t apply to a company with a negative reputation, background checks can actually improve your ability to make the right hires. 

Types of employer background checks 

There are various types of pre-employment background checks that employers can take advantage of to determine whether or not to make an offer to a candidate. Here are some of the main types of screenings that can give you the information you need: 

  • Criminal background checks 
  • Drug screening 
  • Employment and education verifications 
  • Civil record checks
  • Driver record checks 
  • Identity checks 

How to determine your screening needs 

Just as not every small business is the same, not every background check fits every organization. Many background screening providers offer specific screens that fit the needs of each industry. 

For example, a candidate applying for a home health position doesn’t need the same qualifications as a candidate in the transportation sector, but they do require the proper credentials to compliantly perform each job. You can determine what background checks are right for your business by evaluating your industry and the type of roles you need filled

You may be tempted to find out all there is to know about your prospective candidate, but remember that for many businesses, background checks can be pretty time-consuming. It’s better to establish a list of necessary checks consistent with your profession and business ethics. Decide which checks mentioned above will aid your hiring decision. For example, if the job involves working with children, a criminal history check is mandatory.

More background screening tips 

When conducting background screenings, make sure to follow legal and ethical requirements. Inform the candidate about your background screening policy and ask for the candidate’s consent during the first meeting. Put all necessary information and provisions on your website to avoid any confusion. Last, but not least, in order to comply with anti-discrimination laws, if you’re going to conduct background checks, make sure that you check every potential employee – don’t make any exceptions.

To make this crucial part of the hiring process even easier, consider using a hiring software, like CareerPlug, that has background screening tools integrated in the platform.

Finally, though having a background check in your hiring process is a good idea, avoid using the terms “background check” and “fingerprint check” in any job postings you put online. Many major job boards, like Indeed, will flag these terms to stay compliant with cities and states that have laws around criminal history based job discrimination.

Protect your business through background screening. Quality hires are the lifeblood of your business and screening candidates can give you the peace of mind that those you invite on your team are there to positively affect your organization.

About the guest author

Amanda Gutierrez is a Content Marketer at Verified First. She creates written and visual content that showcases Verified First’s products and contributes to the conversation on thought leadership initiatives. You can find her on LinkedIn

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