When little is known about a job applicant, employers need reliable tools and resources to help uncover employee background information, greatly reducing the risk of a bad hire. The wrong hire can lower your team’s morale, hinder productivity, and impact customer relations. Making the right hiring decisions can be critical to your business success; pre-employment screening may be the answer.

Why conduct a background check?

Employers who conduct background screening greatly reduce the risk of employee theft, fraud, and embezzlement. Not only are there short-term financial consequences, but screenings can save you money in the long run as well. Knowing your employees is important when they are in direct contact with customers. In addition, your business can be liable if an employee has a criminal record. Background screening sends a message not only to employees, but also to clients, partners, and vendors that you are serious about safety.

A background check can provide insight into an individual’s behavior, character, and integrity. According to National Crime Search,

  • 50% of all resumes and applications contain false information
  • 33% of all business failures are due to employee theft
  • 18% of all violent crimes occur in the workplace

Which pre-employment screenings are most common?

Before hiring, many employers complete the following screenings on applicants:

  • Social Security Number Verification – SSN verification allows employers to match their record of employee names and SSNs with Social Security records before preparing and submitting Forms W-2. Unmatched records can result in additional processing costs for the employer and uncredited earnings for employees. Uncredited earnings can affect future eligibility to Social Security’s retirement, disability, and survivors program.
  • Criminal Background Check – Before reviewing criminal records, employers should consult with a lawyer or research the laws of their state. To what extent this information may be used in making hiring decisions varies from state to state.
  • Credit Check – Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, businesses must obtain an employee’s written consent before seeking an employee’s credit report. If applicant is then turned down, a copy of the report must then be provided to the applicant and he/she must be notified of his/her right to challenge the report under the FCRA.
  • Substance Abuse Screening – Most private employers are not required to test for alcohol or drug use. Certain industries including trucking, aviation, mass transit and other safety-sensitive industries that are regulated by specific federal agencies are an exception to the rule. Even though it’s not required, many employers drug test to qualify for workers’ compensation discounts, to avoid legal liability, or to maintain productivity and save money. Employees who use drugs are three times more likely to be late to work, more than three-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident, and five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Employment Eligibility Verification- Federal Immigration Laws make it mandatory for employers to verify the employment eligibility of all employees hired after November 6, 1986. This requirement is fulfilled through the completion and storage of an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. Completed I-9 forms must be maintained by the employer for three years after the date of hire or one year after employment ends, whichever is later. Employers can outsource I-9 management and the process of verifying employees with the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to help stay compliant.
  • Motor Vehicle Records Screening – Reviewing an applicant’s Motor Vehicle Record is important for those required to operate a vehicle for business purposes. These reports include offenses and citations over the past three to seven years and are available in all 50 states.
  • Workers’ Compensation Records Screening- Workers’ Compensation appeals are public record and may be used in a hiring decision if the employer can show the applicant’s injury might interfere with his/her ability to perform required duties.

Employers may decide to run other checks including sex offender registry screening (especially if employees work with children or in other care positions).

Many businesses rely on a third party that specializes in pre-employment screenings. Working with professionals can help employers make informed decisions and protect their business.

To learn more about pre-employment screening services, email us at sales@mpay.com.

Photo courtesy of www.wdde.org

Amy Robertson

From her office in Roanoke, VA, Amy manages “all things marketing” for MPAY. Her most recent bragging rights include becoming a Net Promoter Certified Associate.