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Human Resources: What Are The 3 Background Screens For Hiring

By March 30, 2012February 19th, 2015No Comments

iStock_000009726138XSmallHiring and recruiting are difficult enough, but when you interview a candidate, you may not be getting the true background.  There are a number of pre-employment screening checks that employers may make on job applicants and they include reference, background and credit checks.

Reference Checks

The most common check on a potential new hire is the reference check.  Candidates should provide both personal references as well as references from former employers.   Although a reference check on previous employers may not provide comprehensive insight into the applicant, what it does do is authenticate the” 5 Ws”:

  • Who is this person?  Reference checks help to confirm identity.  In today’s world of identity theft, this is imperative.
  • Where was her/his previous job or where did s/he attend school?
  • When was s/he employed/ attend school?
  • What are her/his specific qualifications or characteristics that make her/him a good candidate for the position?
  • Why did s/he vacate the previous position?

Often, you won’t get any more detail from a former employer than confirmation that the person was employed there, dates of hire and termination and salary information.  But, it never hurts to inquire about a former employee’s work history, abilities, attitude and attendance.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks may also be conducted by an employer.  It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe environment for all employees as well as prevent theft and other criminal activities.

Credit Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act authorizes potential employers to gain access to a potential employee’s credit report for employment purposes.  Credit payment histories are sometimes used in the evaluation of a job candidate.  In order to obtain a ‘consumer report’, written authorization must be provided by the job candidate.  When reviewing a job candidate’s history, most employers conduct a “look back” review of the past six to seven years.  Large companies (500 or more employees) are more likely to conduct a credit check.

What types of references and job screening are you currently doing for potential new hires?  Are you comfortable that your process is sufficient?

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