5 Types of Background Checks You Should Perform on Any Prospective New Hire

A Glassdoor survey reports that small businesses that take the time to invest in a good candidate screening process improve the quality of their hires by 70 percent. Small Business Trends spoke with  Leah Machado  the senior director of HR services at Paychex about the 5 background checks small business should perform on any new hire.

According to Machado, small businesses need to refine their hiring processes like never before.

“As the labor market has tightened and unemployment has gone down over the past several months, hiring has become a challenge for businesses of every size,” she says. “There are simply not enough qualified employees for the number of open positions.

She says that following background checks save businesses time, streamline and simplify complex activities, and allow these enterprises to compete against bigger companies for talent. She also notes the ones that work the best have a few layers.

“Employment screenings happen in a couple of phases and much of the difference has to do with compliance,” Machado says.

Types of Background Checks

Pre-offer screenings offer a first look and kind of higher level overview. These include:

Reference Checks 

This is one of the biggest foundations of the background screening process. Reference checks give small businesses a good idea of who they are considering since past performance often dictates future expectations.

Red flags include a reference the candidate asks you not to contact. Most states have laws governing what can and can’t be disclosed but job performance is on the table in many.

Machado says these checks serve an important social purpose.

“For industries like healthcare, education and childcare, home care, and fields that take on so much responsibility with vulnerable populations, these background checks can – and should – be stringent,” she says. 

Work and Education Verification 

Business owners want to be sure the information provided is truthful here, but they also need to be aware of the law. Small businesses need to be familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other laws at the local, state or federal level that are designed to protect candidates.

The FCRA has a number of requirements including getting a signed consent from the candidate.

As far as education verification, contacting an Admissions and Records Office is a common route. Social media audits can also be included.

Pre-employment screenings drill down deeper into a candidate’s information.

Criminal Records 

There are a variety of circumstances where these are mandatory. They include past arrests as well as warrants and even pending charges. Medical organizations and government agencies as well as any business that handles lots of money will ask for one of these.

A criminal record check can also include identifying marks like tattoos.

Driver’s License Verification

If you’re a small business with employees that will be delivering or driving on business, verifying their driver’s license is valid is important. There’s a simple way to do just that– E-verify is a government agency that uses two part authentication.

Drug Testing  

Timing and sequence is everything when it comes to a complete background check.

“Employers can make an offer contingent on passing a drug test,” Machado says. “However, they can’t issue a request for that drug test until a conditional offer is actually made.”

Here’s an updated list of the labs that work specifically with drug testing that will be able to help you out.

Photo via Shutterstock

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