Frequently asked questions regarding background checks

March 20, 2014

A major step in any hiring decision is conducting a background check. With laws and regulations constantly evolving, employers often become overwhelmed with the changes and the risks they face. EctoHR, Inc. has compiled a short list of the most frequently asked background check questions to help guide employers as they look to add new employees to their staff.

Are backgrounds checks necessary?
Yes! As with any other critical business decision, due diligence is critical. The hiring and onboarding process is both time-consuming and costly, so employers need to make the most informed decision as possible. Given the time and effort put into hiring, to skip a $50 or $100 background check seems short-sighted. The new hire will interact with the staff every day, most likely have access to confidential information, and represent the company on a daily basis. For these reasons, identifying any safety or security risks is vital.

At what point in the hiring process should an Employer run the background check?
EctoHR recommends conducting the background check after the candidate has accepted the job offer. EctoHR also recommends including language in the offer letter that states the offer is contingent upon passing a pre-employment background check. Conducting the background check post-offer will also help cut down on costs as Employers are only spending the money on candidates that have clearly been identified as viable hires.

Are background checks expensive?
No, they do not have to be. The cost of a background check varies significantly depending on how extensive the search is. Background checks can be very affordable, even to small businesses. There are many checks out there that are low cost and some are even free!

Can an Employer reject applicants solely because they have a felony conviction?
No. Criminal records have been a major focus of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the last few years. The EEOC states that denying employment on criminal history alone can create disparate impact. The EEOC requires that employers make their decisions based on 3 primary criteria:
1. The nature and severity of the offense(s)
2. The time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of sentence
3. The type of position for which the applicant has applied and the potential impact or relevance of the conviction to that position.

EctoHR, Inc. currently conducts detailed background checks for over 50 clients. If you have questions or your company is interested in learning more about the background check process, please contact Erica Gruss at erica@ectohr.com or 810.534.0170.

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