Data Facts Background Screening Blog

Five Actions HR Should Take If Someone Doesn't Pass A Background Check

by Susan McCullah

Sep 23, 2016 9:45:30 AM

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fail a background checkSo, you found a job candidate that seems well-qualified, honest, and ready to fill your open position.

When you receive their background screening report, however, you see that, Ba-Bam, they are not going to work out.

Perhaps their background check uncovered a felony   

conviction, or their employment verification shows a discrepancy in their work history, or they have misrepresented their education. Maybe they have left off areas they lived to hide aspects of their past they would rather not discuss

If any of these, or any other troubling information, shows up on their employment screening report, the last thing employers should do is nothing. Avoiding or ignoring the candidate with no explanation is bad business, and can get you sued. There are steps to take if a person's background screening report returns information that causes pause in hiring them, and failing to take them can set employers up for hiring lawsuits. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires certain actions be taken in order to maintain a fair, compliant hiring process. 

Whatever the reason, here are five actions to take if your job candidate doesn't pass a background check. 

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#1: Send a pre-adverse action letter.

When employers decide against hiring someone based on whole or in part on the candidate's background check report, it's required to notify the applicant, and send him/her a pre-adverse action letter. This lets the person know there was something in their report that is negatively affecting their chances of being hired by you. Include a copy of the background report as well as a "Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act." It is within the candidate's rights to dispute the information reported through the background screening company. 

#2: Give them a chance to explain. 

HR professionals and hiring managers must note that employment screening practices are not an exact science. Information in a background check could possibly be inaccurate because of a misspelled name during the ordering process, an error from the county clerk, or many other factors. Talk with the candidate about the issue, and give him or her a chance to explain. By hearing their side, companies are better able to see the entire picture and make a non-biased, fair hiring decision.
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#3: Review the entire picture. 

Take the information in the employment screening report, the candidate's response, and the position being hired for under advisement. Weigh each piece of information carefully against the other. All this leads to the best hiring decision for your company and the candidate. 

#4: Make a final decision. 

All of the information you have gathered about the job seeker, along with the interview process and application review of qualifications, helps you ascertain whether or not to hire this person. Take all you have learned about the candidate and formulate your final decision. If you decide to hire the candidate move forward with the onboarding process as usual. If not...

#5: Send them a final notice adverse action letter. 

Employers are required to send a "Notice of Adverse Action." This lets the candidate know the information in their background report adversely affected them being hired. 

These five actions are integral as part of company employment screening practices for HR professionals to follow in order to maintain a compliant hiring process that is fair. With hiring litigation and discrimination claims on the rise, companies need these types of policies in place to avoid lawsuits while still maintaining a safe, productive workplace. 

Topics: Background screening, background check, Good hiring practices, Litigation avoidance, background screening practices, employer compliance

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~~Susan McCullah is the Marketing Project Manager/ Background Screening Division for Data Facts, Inc, a 25 year old Memphis based company. Data Facts Inc -an NAPBS accredited company- is a leading provider of employment screening solutions. Check out our website for a complete explanation of our services.