Most people might assume a background check is simply screening for your criminal history. In reality, a background screening can have a lot more to it. Pre-employment screenings, for example, delve into someone’s full background, including their employment history, education, references, and identity verification.
The goal of pre-employment screening is to protect the company, its employees, and its staff from additional risk. Managers may decide to employ such measures with discretion whilst other measures might be part of the business agreement, such as mandatory requiresments for new staff or selecting employees for random testing for drugs and alcohol use in order to maintain a responsible work attitude and more importantly, maintain safety for everyone in the workplace.
There are other situations outside of a pre-employment screening where you might have to undergo a background check.
It’s important to understand what’s being looked at and what your rights are in these situations, and how to dispute a false positive drug test if you need to do so.
With those things in mind, the following are seven facts about background checks to be aware of.
1. There Are Different Types of Background Checks
There are a lot of different types of background checks, each of which can uncover some different elements of personal information. The information that’s uncovered in a background check is considered very sensitive, and it’s subject to rigid privacy-protection regulations.
Some of the types of background checks include:
- Identity verification: The goal of this basic check is to make sure a job candidate isn’t using stolen identity in the application process. An employer or other relevant party can check to confirm someone is who they say they are. There are identify checks that verify things like name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
- Criminal: These background checks will look for arrests, convictions, warrants, pending charges, and dismissed charges. Interestingly, Checkr just released a new study on how business leaders are using background checks. It’s worth checking out here.
- Credit: A credit check can be used by an employer as well as a landlord. Credit checks can show debt issues, bad credit, and reported tax liens.
- Motor vehicle records: These are a way for an employer to make sure they’re hiring a safe and responsible driver, and it contains driving history, license status, and endorsements.
- Professional license and education: If someone’s applying for a job that requires a certain level of licensing or education, they may run this type of background screening.
- Fingerprint: If a security clearance is needed or a potential employee would be handling sensitive information, they might go through a fingerprint background check.
2. Most Employers Do Run Background Checks
There tends to be a misconception that you won’t have to go through a background check in the job search process. In reality, according to research from CareerBuilder, almost ¾ of employers conduct them at some point in the hiring process. More than half of employers also do drug tests. If you need a drug test philadelphia, for example, there are 21 drug testing locations in the city for you to choose from. Additionally, employers may perform background checks externally to reduce the risks of employee fraud, they may use a Private investigator to perform these checks to make sure the company is not hiring anyone who could be a potential threat.
3. Background Checks Are Important for Small Businesses
Many small business owners are under the misconception that background checks are only needed by large companies.
In reality, the risks of a bad hire are just as detrimental to a small business as to a large one—they may even be greater for smaller companies.
Every employee is a representation of the company, and if you’re a small business owner who makes the wrong hire, it could destroy your brand and reputation and leave you open to legal liability.
4. Dismissed Charges May Show Up
When you go through a legal case that results in a dismissal, it may still appear in some background checks. Even if the court seals case records, the arrest initially leading to the case might show up.
There are federal EEOC guidelines that prevent turning down a job candidate solely because of arrests that don’t lead to convictions, and some background screening companies leave out dismissed charges from the results.
5. Some Employers Use Social Media
While social media isn’t necessarily part of a background screening in the formal sense, some employers do use the information on profiles to make hiring decisions.
Employers who decide to use social media have to be careful and discerning about how the information they find there is being used.
Some of the things that can’t be used as part of a hiring decision include race, religious background, disability, pregnancy, or ethnicity. If hiring managers go to a potential candidate’s social media and find out they’re pregnant, they can’t use that as part of their hiring decision.
6. The FCRA Determines How Employers Can Check Backgrounds
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that covers background checks done by employers. The FCRA oversees how consumer credit information is collected and used. The law shapes how an employer can ask for, receive and then use background checks from third parties.
If an employer decides not to hire someone because of your report, they have to give you what’s called a pre-adverse action disclosure, including a copy of the report and of your rights.
The employer has to give you notice they’ve decided not to hire you. They have to give you the name and address of the Consumer Reporting Agency and details on your right to dispute the report.
If an employer asks a third-party company to provide an investigative report on you, they must also tell you about your right to a description of the scope and nature of the report.
An investigative report can include personal interviews about your character, lifestyle, personal characteristics, and general reputation.
7. You Might Not Get Hired If You Say No
It’s increasingly common for employers to use background checks during the hiring process. An employer has to get your direct consent in writing to do a background check, and you can say no. You have to be aware, however, that while it’s your right to say no, it’s also the right of the potential employer not to hire you as a result.
If you’re asked to fill out information for background checks early on, and you aren’t comfortable doing so, you can wait and fill that out later when you have a better idea of whether you’ll be moving forward in the hiring process. An employer doesn’t have to say yes to this request, though, so it’s best you go ahead and expect that you’re going to get a lot of background check requests if you’re looking for a new job.