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December 11, 2015

The 411 on AKA's and Other Background Screening Best Practices

man_on_difficult_pathPerhaps you are an HR Professional looking to streamline your background screening best practices and increase your successful hiring rate. Or, you have noticed that your background check process still allows unsavory applicants through to your new employee pool.

No matter the reason, it's a good idea to realize hiring is a slippery slope. Prepare for a successful new year by reviewing and revising your company's hiring practices. 

And this means understanding the criminal records search and how it helps get the most out of the background screening process. 

Here are four big DO's to employ in your criminal records search process for 2016. 

#1: Practice relevant, fair processes.

The EEOC issued guidance on using criminal records for employment, and it helps companies avoid future litigation to follow it. Avoid asking about criminal history on the initial job application, make certain a criminal history is relevant to the position being filled, and take into account the type of charge and the time since that has passed since the conviction. 

#2: Embrace thoroughness with AKAs.

It's crucial to understand the misconceptions of criminal records. Criminal convictions are normally logged by name, not by social security number. Include a search for any applicable AKA names. Failing to do this can miss important information that could cause you to make a big hiring mistake. Ask the applicant for maiden names as well as any other AKA's, and search them all. 

#3: Go beyond just the county.

A county records search is smart, but it doesn't show the entire picture. Add a National Criminal Database Search to your mix. This search sometimes finds important convictions in areas that were not targeted to search, and it returns a social search so you can see all the areas the applicant has lived. A county search paired with a National Criminal Database Search minimizes the risk of missing a job candidate's past convictions. 

compliance_icon#4: Follow adverse action procedures. 

If you decide not to hire an applicant based in part of whole on the criminal records search, never forget to send a Pre-Adverse action letter and, after a set period, an Adverse action letter. This process is required and must be completed. Every. Single. Time. 

The new year is a time for savvy HR professionals to review and revise current background screening policies for maximum effectiveness. By making your criminal records search process relevant and fair, thorough, and committing to following proper adverse action procedures, you empower your company to create a safe, secure workplace and avoid hiring lawsuits





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