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Navigating The Background Check Process for Remote Workers

Date Published: March 17, 2023 | Last Updated:September 15, 2023 | By Suraiya Sarwar
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When you think of employment background checks, it’s common to associate them with preventing workplace violence, motor vehicle accidents, or other similar events. Viewed through this lens, it’s all too easy to believe the remote work myth that background checks aren’t necessary for remote workers.

But here’s the truth: a bad hire is always costly, regardless of the nature or location of the work.

Unique Risks

What types of risks do remote employees pose to your organization?

  • Information Loss. Your remote employees have access to your system – that’s what makes it possible for them to work from home. The same technology that facilitates remote work also provides remote workers entrance into your proprietary system and access to secure, private company information. Giving someone access to your valuable company information on their company laptop without the right IT security setup is a big security risk that must be managed.
  • Fraud. With access to your systems comes the ability to commit fraudulent acts that can be more easily overlooked in a remote setting.
  • Dishonesty. It’s paramount that those you hire have the qualifications and experience required for the job; that’s true for every hire. Sadly, there are people who are less than truthful on their resumes. Remote workers have the same potential to be dishonest as in-person hires.  Onboarding a dishonest individual puts your business and reputation at risk.
  • Low Productivity. Morale and productivity suffer if even one of your remote employees cannot perform their job effectively. Unqualified individuals can’t get the job done, and the effect of that incompetence ripples through your entire team.
  • Non-Compliance. If your industry has background screening regulations, those regulations also apply to remote employees. Neglecting to run background checks on remote workers puts you at risk for penalties and fines associated with noncompliance. In addition, knowing which laws apply can be challenging, especially when workers are dialing in from homes in different cities, states, or even countries.
  • Unnecessary Expenses. A bad hire – in your office or remote – will always hit your bottom line. Turnover costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and training are expensive, doubly so if you must incur them to replace a bad hire. And if a bad hire goes wrong, the consequences and costs can be significant.

The bottom line is this: background checks are just as essential for remote workers as they are for in-person employees. Remote workers absolutely need pre-employment background checks. You owe it to your business and your current team to do your due diligence and hire additional team members that are honest, qualified, and safe.

What You Need to Know

You need to know the following points about background checks and remote employees.

One Process

Remote employee’s background screening needs to be the same as screening in-person workers. Consistency is central to any background screening program and remote workers are no exception. For example, if you’re running criminal background checks on in-person IT staff, we recommend that you also run them on remote IT personnel. The laws governing background checks require organizations to have uniform processes across the company to avoid discrimination and unfairness. Not every position needs the same checks, you can vary screening services to fit the job, but every applicant for the same position is recommended to be screened equally regardless of where they will be working.

Federal and State Regulations

The Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) governs background checks and what employers, or End Users, as well as  Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) must comply with at the federal level. If you’re hiring in the United States, your process must be compliant with the  FCRA. In addition, you must also comply with state and local regulations surrounding the collection, use, storage, and disposal of personal consumer information.

Don’t underestimate the complexity of compliance. The laws governing background checks are complicated, constantly changing, and vary from location to location. Always work with legal counsel and an accredited, professional background screening agency to make sure you’re fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Professionals: Worth the Time and Money

Many organizations choose to forego professional background checks in favor of a speedier, leaner hiring process. Yes, pre-employment background checks cost money and time, but these costs are pennies when compared to the costs of the risks they avert. And when you work with a skilled background check agency like Accurate, you’ll be able to choose pricing options and service packages that fit the size and hiring needs of your business. Plus, we have some of the fastest turnaround times for background checks you can find; you won’t ever miss out on hiring great talent because of slow background checks.

But the benefits of working with Accurate don’t end there. We bring experience in a wide range of industries to the table; we know what checks you need to run to be compliant in your business. We also know the intricacies of FCRA regulations and other local laws inside and out, so you never need to worry about compliance. We also offer seamless ATS integrations that make collecting and disseminating info related to background checks as easy as opening an app on your phone; you and your employment applicants will appreciate how smooth and easy background checks are with Accurate.

The value of partnering with Accurate for all your background checks is significant.

Your Responsibility

Responsible, safe, smart hiring is your responsibility. Every time you onboard a new individual, you’re responsible for ensuring that they can do the job and don’t represent a danger to your company or anyone associated with it. Choosing not to screen leaves you vulnerable to all the risks enumerated above, plus negligent hiring lawsuits. And all this applies to remote workers just as much as on-site employees.

At the end of the day, you can’t afford not to screen.

Are you interested in guidance regarding your company’s background screening policy? Get in touch with Accurate today to discuss our screening solutions, including background checks for remote employees.

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