Employers Are Encouraged to Investigate Further When Doing Background Checks on Job Candidates

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Recruiting firm gives answers to questions employers may have regarding conducting more detailed background checks on job applicants.

"In today's world, employers are smart to be cautious on who they hire into their companies," states Ann E. Zaslow-Rethaber of International Search Consultants (ISC), a leading executive search firm that specializes in the sales and marketing industry on a nationwide as well as international basis. "Many employers are now conducting more detailed background checks for their white collar positions and by doing so, they can reduce their costs in the long run and put their company less at risk," she states.

If you are an employer who has yet to go beyond the standard screening process, Zaslow-Rethaber provides below answers to some questions you may have regarding conducting more extensive background checks.

  •     Why should I go beyond the standard background check? It is important more than ever due to the rise in negligent hiring lawsuits (particularly for workplace violence and sexual harassment incidents), recent corporate scandals and national security concerns since the 9/11 terrorist act. Moreover, it is less time consuming than before to check public records now that they are readily available on the internet. Lastly, by verifying that someone has provided false information on a job application or has a shady history gives a window into a person's character and should be included in the overall job screening process.
  •     What other areas should I be checking on? In addition to a candidate's previous job history, you can check credit history, citizenship status, educational background, driving history and criminal record if any. Other areas include checking to see if a candidate has declared bankruptcy in the past 10 years, is on the list of registered sex offenders or has questionable postings on a social networking Web site such as Face Book or MySpace.
  •     Are their areas that I need an employee's permission before checking? Yes, you will need a candidate's written permission to obtain information from their educational records (directory information only), military records (for more detailed information beyond rank, awards, etc.) and health records (as it pertains to a specific position).
  •     Are there areas that are more prone to being viewed as an invasion of privacy? Yes, checking a candidate's civil case records should be done with care and you need to be cautious on how you use the information. When reviewing a candidate's record, consider how it applies to future job performance and if the behavior is relevant. The decision to not hire an employee based on past civil records must be fact specific otherwise it may be used against the company in a discrimination suit.
  •     Can I go beyond checking job references and also contact a job applicant's neighbors and/or friends? Yes, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), when an employer conducts interviews with friends, neighbors or associates about an applicant's general reputation, character or personal characteristics, it is called an "investigative consumer report". Moreover, under FCRA, an employee is entitled to know the "nature and scope" of the investigative consumer report but must request it from the employer. For more information from FCRA regarding investigative consumer reports, you can visit their Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/os/statues/fcra/index.htm.

For additional tips on conducting detailed background checks, please check out ISC's website at http://www.iscjobs.com. ISC specializes in helping large companies fill nationwide staffing needs in a short amount of time by blitzing a market on behalf of a client. To find out more about ISC and the five-star service they deliver, please call them at (888) 866-7276.

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Ann E. Zaslow-Rethaber
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