Background Screening: Do You Know What Applicants Might be Trying to Hide?

When it’s time to interview candidates for a job, you go to great lengths to select the right individual for the position. You carefully review their experience, education credentials … you check their references. It is important to make sure whoever you hire is a good fit for your organization.

But what if your carefully selected candidate is misrepresenting themselves, and their background? It happens. In a highly competitive job market, prospective employees have been found to have fabricated portions of work or education experience, created fake references and credentials, and even hidden past criminal acts. 

The only way to be sure about the people you are hiring is by applying a thorough pre-employment background screening process. Every company should require this method of due diligence as a matter of policy. It can help prevent fraud, corruption and other serious workplace problems before they even start.

The issues surrounding pre- and post-employment background screening will be topics of discussion at the NAPBS Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference this week (April 3-5, 2016) in Washington, D.C. CRI Group, a worldwide provider of background screening services, will be participating in the conference and meeting with professionals in the field to discuss challenges and innovations in the industry.

CRI Group’s experts know that the background screening process needs several key elements to be successful. These include:

  • Address checks and physical verifications
  • International criminal record checks
  • Credit, financial and litigation records checks
  • Employment, education, references and credential verifications
  • Local language media/public domain searches
  • Compliance and regulatory checks
  • Immigration status verifications
  • Bankruptcy research
  • and more

As detailed in a recent article from Smart Business, “Criminal background checks: A job applicant’s past can haunt you,” the criminal background portion of the screening process is critically important: “Criminal background checks are vital to the hiring process. If performed correctly, they can serve as a valuable tool to assess the suitability of current employees and job applicants.”

However, as the article points out, that part of the background screening process can also be a legal minefield for companies, as it “is often done improperly, which can lead to liability for the employer.” In the U.S., for example:

“’Federal, state and local laws place a variety of restrictions on an employer’s ability to gather and use information regarding an individual’s criminal background,’ says Stephen C. Goldblum, a member at Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC.”

And:

"It’s not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s criminal background or to require a criminal background check. However, any time an employer uses this information to make an employment decision it must comply with federal anti-discrimination and credit reporting laws as well as state and local restrictions. Two federal agencies that regulate criminal background checks are the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)."

Suffice to say, it is clear this aspect of the pre- and post employment background screening process is best left to the experts. Using a firm that has dedicated screening services will help companies ensure that they are following the law and avoiding possible liability/litigation issues for the future. 

And, it is such a crucially important part of the hiring process that it is best placed in the hands of professionals who conduct screening day-in and day-out as part of their core competency. This will provide the best line of defense against potential bad actors who might be incompetent, or worse, might commit fraud or corruption at the company’s expense.