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Your Candidate Failed Their Background Check – Now What?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, background checks are firmly entrenched in hiring processes, with 95 percent of surveyed employers saying they perform some form of background check on candidates. While it’s safe to say this often works out to be little more than a formality, there are a number of ways a would-be employee could “fail” a background check. The question then becomes, what should you do about it?

Identify the Red Flags

Depending on what method your HR department uses to investigate a potential employee, you could be faced with different types of warning signs that hiring that candidate may be dangerous. These could be as relatively benign as embellishing a resume. According to research by Indeed, approximately four in ten people lie on their resumes or about having a criminal history. (In fact, recent research by RAND, Inc. found that 64% percent of unemployed men in their 30s have a criminal record.) Whatever red flags a background check reveals, getting as many specifics as possible is critical.

Consult Your Policies – and the Law

Once you’ve gathered as much information as possible about a candidate’s past indiscretions, you need to review your company’s hiring policies. Are there prescribed offenses that are deal breakers (for instance, a conviction for a violent crime)? Does your personnel manual provide specific guidance on responding to background check failures? And are there laws and regulations you need to consider, like Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidelines?

Communicate with the Candidate

At this point, you are obligated to inform the candidate that you’ve found negative information that could affect their hirability. Be sure to include a statement of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Then, give them time to respond to your findings. There may be extenuating circumstances that at least partially explain the red flag. (For instance, a failed drug test may indicate the candidate is using marijuana legally as prescribed by a physician.)

Make Your Decision and Inform the Candidate

Now comes the hard part. Analyze the issues that you’ve discovered and determine if they disqualify an otherwise worthy candidate. For instance, a candidate who has traffic violations in their motor vehicle record may still be a good fit if their job does not involve driving, and they can demonstrate they have reliable transportation.

On the other hand, if you decide a candidate’s background history is too problematic, federal law requires you to send them a final adverse action letter explaining that the findings of the check have led to your rejection of their application.

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Mega Force is dedicated to helping employers across North Carolina with staffing solutions. Contact us to learn more about what we offer.


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