“They are quick.”
“They are affordable.”
“I like my account administrator.”
While these aspects may seem significant, there are other, more compelling factors to take into account when evaluating your existing background screening provider. The subject of what essentially the determining variables are and how to evaluate whether a background check business deserves to be a part of your employment screening strategy nevertheless persists.
Here are some excerpts of our conversation with Lourdes Fernandes – Chief Operating Officer, cFIRST Background Check LLP, and a background screening expert, discussing some frequently asked questions.
cFIRST – What is an important but often disregarded factor that organizations miss when background screening?
Lourdes – Compliance, although undoubtedly crucial, is frequently the most eschewed quality that you should pay close attention to while designing your background screening strategy.
cFIRST – How should an organization know if the background verification company is giving priority to compliance?
A company that is not fully adherent to legal guidelines often leaves behind some issues that can land the employer in trouble. Some focal points are –
a) The Contract – What to look for?
● Did they confirm your understanding of the legal obligations, specifically:
● Permissible goals
● Process of getting candidate consent
● Following the prescribed adverse action steps
● Complying with relevant state and federal laws
● Data preservation
● Did they give you the necessary compliance documentation?
In an ideal situation, each of these has a yes response. Since these are fundamental standards, they safeguard both the CRA and the customer.
b) Is there an instantaneous return of criminal records?
Everyone wants quick outcomes. However, it could result in an implication if you provide a name to your background checker to receive an instant list of criminal records. When accessing immediate databases for criminal records, CRAs must check them before giving the results to their clients.
A good CRA notifies the client in advance of how and why database results are handled, immediately upon association. Remember that a trustworthy and reliable CRA will make sure not to send you any legally prohibited records, preventing you from making a hiring choice based on data you should not have had access to in the first place.
c) Do you receive incomplete information? Or an outcome without a disposition or a conclusion? The charges against the candidate may be dropped, erased, or never brought to court. Did a record return with only a name match as its only identifier? How can you be sure that the record belongs to your candidate without at least two identifiers?
Making a hiring choice based on insufficient information is not only unethical but could also be illegal. Hence, always have your background check agency find out the complete story.
d) Do you receive records about people with convictions older than seven years? – Records older than seven years that did not result in an unfavorable verdict should not be shared. Even if you decide to not hire this person based on their professional credentials, you might still face legal issues.
These are some fundamental specifications that CRAs follow to provide employers with legitimate background checks that will keep your organization away from trouble. Such malpractices act as indications that may point out if your current background screening partner is not efficient in its screening practices and compliance. At cFIRST we ensure that all hiring and screening procedures adhere to applicable local, national, and international law and compliance requirements.
cFIRST – What are namesake reports and what disadvantages do they carry?
Lourdes – Namesake reports is a term used in the background verification industry for the unethical reports generated when prospects ask the screening vendor for a convenient positive report without performing actual verification. While this may seem like it would save an ample amount of time and effort for the organization and provide a worry-free, pleasant experience for the candidate with faster hires for the company, these are just short-term benefits. The practice tends to have a lasting negative impact on the organization. Not only does it put your organization at a huge risk of theft or other criminal activity, but there is also a sure rise in attrition rates. Organizational productivity and quality may take a fall due to such occurrences of negligent hiring.
cFIRST – From your industry experience, could you elaborate a little on the challenges faced by companies not prioritizing the background screening process?
Lourdes – Some of the more commonly faced issues may be:
● Decrease in staff productivity
● Facing negligent lawsuits
● High staff turnover
● Loss of confidential information
● Negligent recruiting
● Theft occurrences
● Violence at work, including threats and actual acts of violence
You should not only be concerned with workplace safety issues but also thoroughly screen applicants in terms of their qualifications, criminal histories, educational backgrounds, and other relevant factors. It plays an important role in evaluating their persona and helps determine whether they are the cultural fit for your organization.
cFIRST – While background screening companies charge absurdly low prices, others appear to be charging high prices for their services. Why do these price variations exist? Should we choose the less expensive background check service since it also appears to be cost-effective?
Lourdes – Background verification involves an extensive procedure involving various checks, such as education, address, identity, criminal history, or use of drugs. An authentic and reliable background screening report comes at a price, depending upon the checks required. This price is fair when considering the fine charged by the FCRA for compliance violations, and the risk to organizational safety, productivity, & brand image.
cFIRST – Can you give some advice that employers should keep in mind while implementing a screening service for their organization?
Lourdes – Because every company has diverse requirements, it is critical to choose a background check service that is vital for your company. For instance, if you are choosing a candidate for a managerial job, the professional background check service will advise you to go for identification verification, criminal history screening, employment screening, and education screening instead of driving record screening. Recognize that, as an employer conducting background checks to assist with hiring selections, you have legal obligations when acquiring this data from a company that gathers background screening information (i.e., your Consumer Reporting Agency or CRA). Additionally, the associated CRA has ethical and legal duties while providing you with the best possible service. In the best-case scenario, regarding law compliance, the employer and their partner CRA back each other. It is also advisable to get the assistance of a legal advisor when creating a background check policy.
It is also recommended to inform your employees about screening procedures during hire itself if your company wants to conduct continuous screening. Implement a rule requiring every employee to get systematically rescreened annually. In this manner, the staff at your company will consider it standard procedure or policy to rescreen staff annually by taking proper measures.
cFIRST – Thank you Lourdes for some insightful information on the industry, and best practices for background screening.