If you think conducting background checks means calling a few former employers and cross-referencing a date of birth with an application and a driver’s license, you probably haven’t yet experienced an employee with criminal intent or a negligent hiring lawsuit. In recruiting and technology staffing, hiring the wrong person without the due diligence of proper background checking exposes your company, your employees, and your customers to possible violent or criminal behavior from uninvestigated candidates and negligent hiring lawsuits.

Advances in technology have made it easier, faster, and cheaper for employers to check everything from a candidate’s criminal history to credit reports to education. Technology staffing professionals and IT employers should get to know as much as possible about top candidates before extending a job offer, to protect their businesses, their current employees, and their customers. Be sure not to overlook or shortchange the following areas during background checks on prospective employees.

Be Aware of Rules, Regulations, and Legislation Regarding Credit Checks

Technology staffing professionals and employers must be careful to use credit checks in compliance with all local and federal laws to know how they can legally use this kind of background checking, on which candidates, and for which positions. Some states restrict employer credit check to only positions like accounting or financially sensitive roles and FCRA, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, requires employers to get a candidate’s written permission to run a credit check and inform them of their rights if denied employment because of it. Lawmakers are considering legislation to limit the use of employer credit checks because of the economy, making it more important than ever to use credit checks carefully and legally. The Bureau of Consumer Protection’s “Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know” provides clear information and resources about credit checks, and an experienced employment lawyer can help hiring managers and human resources staff understand their legal obligations regarding credit checks during background checking.

Apply Background Checks Consistently

One of the most important practices for background checking in technology staffing and recruiting is developing a consistent process. Avoid treating applicants differently during background checking, for instance, conducting a thorough background check on one management candidate but only checking identification and former employers of another candidate because he’s the vice president’s nephew. A consistent technology staffing background check process protects the company and the candidates by applying the same standards in a fair manner that avoids discrimination and illegal treatment.

Patterns of Bad Behavior

Patterns of bad behavior should carry more weight than isolated incidents of bad behavior. For example, an outstanding speeding ticket that is in the process of being resolved and about which the candidate is forthcoming is not as much of a reason to pass on hiring as a history of speeding tickets and serious traffic offenses in a motor vehicle report from background checking. Repetitive bad behavior revealed during background checks should be a red flag, indicating a careless or reckless attitude or a problem with authority or following rules.

Verify Education Information

A seven-year history is part of best practices in background checking for employment, and that should include verifying education credentials for candidates. Even candidates who are well past their college years or who are not looking at upper management or executive positions should have verifiable school records. There is value in verifying education records even for candidates without higher education, especially for technology staffing in companies with continuous learning initiatives and training programs. Employers should recall some of the more newsworthy stories of executives lying about their educations, including RadioShack’s CEO David Edmondson and Bausch & Lomb’s former CEO Ronald Zarrella. For very high-level candidates in financially sensitive roles, employers may want to consider background checking through the FBI.

Always Follow Up on Background Checking

Technology staffing professionals should make it part of their background check process to always follow up with the candidate on negative information they may uncover. It’s professional and courteous to have a conversation about the results of a background check and give the candidate a chance to explain or document corrected information. You may still decide not to hire the candidate, but you will have been fair and thorough, both very important aspects of a consistent process for technology staffing.

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