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Don’t Make These Background Screening Mistakes

Date Published: July 28, 2022 | Last Updated:September 15, 2023 | By Jeramy
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When companies hire employees, and even contractors, they also face certain risks—some more costly, and potentially damaging, than others. There’s always the risk of making the wrong hiring decision, of course. But that pales in comparison to other risks—like hiring an employee who later does something to damage your organization, an employee, or a customer. These risks can be minimized, or avoided altogether, by conducting thorough and appropriate background screenings.

Unfortunately, all too often, mistakes are made when it comes to background screening. Here we take a look at some of those mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not conducting background screenings

According to SHRM, 92% of employers conduct background screening. What’s up with the remaining 8%? It’s hard to believe that in the competitive, volatile, and risk-laden world we do business in that some employers would skip the step of conducting background screening on job candidates before making a hire decision. But they do.

This mistake is an easy one to address. Add formal background screening to your hiring process.

Mistake #2: Screening only full-time employees.

Anyone who works for and on behalf of your company, whether full-time, part-time, or a contractor or gig worker, has the potential for both positive and detrimental impact. Only screening full-time employees still leaves your company open to potential risk.

Commit to conducting background screening checks for all employees at the point of hire.

Mistake #3: Contacting only the current, or most recent employer.

Being thorough in conducting background screening can ensure that the information you attain will provide you with a well-rounded, in-depth look into the past activities of your job candidates. Contacting only one employer won’t give you that in-depth look. Cast a wider net to ensure you’re getting reliable and relevant insights into your candidates’ potential, and potential risks.

Mistake #4: Not screening for social media activity.

What candidates share on their resumes and in application forms is designed to show them in the best possible light. They’re trying to land a job after all. That’s one of the reasons that conducting background checks is so important. Employers need to seek other sources of input to learn more about those they are considering hiring.

Social media offers an opportunity to do this in ways that weren’t possible before. Candidates leave online footprints and clues into their personalities and potential that can last forever. Examining those footprints can offer insights that wouldn’t have previously been available. So, yes, you should be screening for social media activity—with one caveat: don’t take a do-it-yourself approach. That can potentially land you in hot water.

Mistake #5: Not being meticulous to ensure you’re screening the right candidate.

Even seemingly minor slipups, like mis-entering a candidate’s Social Security number, can result in mistaken identity and the use of false information to make a hiring decision. Mistaken identity could result in your hiring someone with a background that is not the right fit—or even a risk. Mistaken identity can also result in the failure to hire a candidate with a stellar background and reputation.

It pays to be precise.

Mistake #6: Not using multiple methods.

There are a wide range of background screenings that can be conducted — from employment verification, to credit checks, driving history, criminal background checks, and more. Gathering input from multiple sources can improve the reliability of the information you’re reviewing when making hiring decisions.

Mistake #7: Not varying background screenings based on position.

Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to background screening. Different types of positions will require different types of input. Hiring an accountant, or someone who has access to financial resources, for instance, should have both a credit check and criminal background screening conducted. Anybody who will drive company vehicles — or drive others — should have their driving history checked. You get the point. Customize your background checks to the type of work the candidates will be doing, and the types of interactions they will have.

Mistake #8: Not allowing candidates the opportunity to review and correct background screening information.

Background screening shouldn’t be a secretive or cloaked activity. Candidates should know, and agree to, background checks being conducted and should have the opportunity to review the information attained, to correct anything that may be inaccurate, or to append additional information or explanation.

Mistake #9: Not conducting monitoring or ongoing background screening.

Just because a candidate’s background is favorable upon hire, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. That’s why it’s important to consider conducting continuous or ongoing background screening to ensure that you’re alerted to any potentially troubling activities that may impact an employee’s work with your organization.

Mistake #10: Taking a do-it-yourself approach to background screening.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Taking a do-it-yourself approach to background screening not only takes time, but it may also result in a limited view as not all sources of background information are readily available.

Mistake #11: Not selecting the right background screening service.

Choose a background screening service with experience, longevity, a stellar reputation, raving reviews, and accreditation. Choose Accurate! Accurate is celebrating 25 years in the business, has more than 16,000 customers around the globe and 98.5% client retention. That’s a reputation that’s hard to beat.

Interested in learning more about the potential for mistakes during the background screening process? Attend our August webinar for additional information and guidance on avoiding background screening mistakes.

Register here to reserve your seat.

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