With record low unemployment, finding, recruiting, and keeping high performing employees in your organization will be more challenging in 2019 than in the recent past. Even so, it’s entirely possible to be productive and successful in your hiring endeavors. It just takes planning and commitment.
Here are 7 smart resolutions relating to background check processes that are essential for HR to consider in 2019 and beyond.
#1: I won’t cut corners. When’s the last time you’ve reviewed your background check process? Instant criminal database searches offer advantages, but they should not be used by themselves as the only background screening tool. Doing so can cause you to miss convictions that may be essential in making the best hiring decision! A database search is only a small piece of information and might miss other convictions lurking in a potential hire's background. It doesn't cover your company legally in case the employee is a danger to co-workers or clients. And, trust us, nothing will give you the New Year’s blues like a hiring lawsuits.
Resolve to: Thoroughly screen your job candidates by ordering the proper county, state, and national database searches, as well as other verifications of employment and education.
#2: I will be fair and relevant. While you need to order more than a database search, don’t go overboard in running every background check available on every potential hire. Hold your horses for a minute and think about the specific position you’re trying to fill. Recent EEOC guidance advises the screening must be fair and relevant to the position. For example, you don't really need to pull a credit report for a stockroom clerk, but you probably need one if you are hiring a stock broker.
Resolve to: Practice fair hiring and craft your screening process by giving thought to what each position entails.
#3: I will choose the right background screening vendor. Do you expect a guy at the flea market to sell you a high-quality diamond? NO? Then please don't expect a fly-by-night cheapo background screening provider to return accurate information. The stakes are too high to trust just anyone to investigate your job applicants. Missing a single dangerous conviction or failing to catch one fake degree can subject your company to costly litigation, expensive client loss, and cause serious damage to your brand.
Resolve to: Partner with a reputable, NAPBS-certified background screening vendor that’s experienced, and who does not off-shore your data. Ask them to outline the measures they take to ensure the information they return is accurate. They should be able to succinctly walk you through specific processes that maximize the accuracy of the information you receive from them.
#4: I will educate myself on my state's laws. Take some time to review the legislation in your state regarding hiring. Certain states have recently passed laws regarding issues such as "Ban the Box” and using credit reports in hiring decisions.
Resolve to: Make sure you, your hiring managers, and everyone else involved in the hiring process understand the requirements of the state you are based in, as well as any additional states where you conduct hiring.
#5: I will acknowledge the “gig economy” employees need to be screened, too. Part-time, contract, and temporary employees pose just as much risk to a company as full-time, permanent staff. Even so, sometimes these workers slip through the cracks without being subjected to a single background check.
Resolve to: Perform a thorough background check on each person before you extend an offer of employment. This practice helps ensure they are qualified and present minimal risk to the safety of your other employees, your customers, and your reputation. At the minimum, depending on the position being sought, look at criminal history and the sex offender’s registry. Additional background screening reports that help to find the best candidates are employment history verifications, assessment testing, and drug screening.
#6: I will keep an eye on compliance. Proper compliance continues to be important in 2019. Employment lawsuits will likely continue to be prevalent, and employers must cover themselves with compliant processes that will hold up in court.
Resolve to: Make certain every single applicant signs an authorization agreeing to be the subject of a background check before you check into their histories. If you decide in whole or part not to hire a person based on what you uncover in your report, follow the adverse action protocol laid out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Vigilantly pursue stringent and consistent compliance.
#7: I will be a cheerleader for proper hiring standards. No, you don’t have to put on a skirt and shake pom poms, but you do need to take action so your hiring managers make compliant, thorough, relevant hiring a priority. Just one errant person failing to follow the rules can careen your background screening process off the rails into a ditch.
Resolve to: Offer ongoing education to every employee involved in the hiring process and be available to answer their questions. Make certain they understand the importance of following the company's outlined best practices.
2019 promises to be a highly competitive environment for companies trying to hire A-players. Stay in front of the others companies vying for this talent by getting your hiring process, and your background screening procedures, updated and ready to handle what job seekers throw at you. By committing to excellence now, your company is sure to be successful and profitable in the new year, and beyond!