Building a workforce that revolves around integrity, reputation and quality isn’t an easy task by any means. Thankfully for employers and hiring mangers alike, there are a number of tools available that can be used to ensure the character and veracity of your team. One of the most valuable tools, the basic background check, can be used to gain a deeper insight into an employee’s past. However, in order to maximize its effectiveness, the background check must be executed in a thorough, realistic and lawful manner.
Notify the Candidate
Before initiating a background check on an employee or job candidate, it’s good practice to notify the individual of a pending background check. Not only does this show professional courtesy on your behalf, but it also gives the applicant a chance to discuss their past if they choose to do so. You don’t have to provide all of the details on the type of information you’ll be looking at, but simply giving a heads up is a great way to start off on the right foot with a potential new employee.
Follow the Law
Next, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations when performing any and all background checks. Depending on your state, you may be limited on the amount of information you are legally allowed to seek out. Moreover, some records – especially those regarding an applicant’s education – might not be released to an employer without the individual’s consent. In other cases, such information is provided strictly to the individual in question, regardless of prior consent.
The laws regarding criminal records differ greatly between states, as well. Some states only legally allow employers access to recent criminal records or those that relate specifically to the job, while some states only allow certain industries to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history. Because these laws, restrictions and regulations vary so greatly, professional legal advice should be sought out before initiating a background check.
Personal and business references are used for a reason, and they can be used to gain a great deal of insight into a job candidate’s reputation within the community. While some employers do not put as much emphasis on personal references as they did in the past, those who are listed as references can still provide valuable information regarding the character of the candidate in question.
With today’s focus on the Internet and the rising popularity of social networking sites, employers can gain insight into the character of a potential employee like never before. Simply entering a candidate’s name into a search engine or social networking site may reveal information that you wouldn’t have had access to. However, always remember to respect the privacy of your candidates when doing so.
Weigh the Positives Against the Negatives
Finally, try not to focus strictly on negative information. When performing a thorough background check on a model employee, you’re bound to come across some positive or beneficial information. Remember to weight this information against any negative aspects in order to form a comprehensive and well-rounded overview of the employee in question.
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