Finding a potential employee when you are running a small business can be challenging. Even scanning a resume or conducting an interview won't reveal all the hidden information you need about a candidate. A background check will provide you with important information on a candidate's character based on criminal and educational records, social media posts, credit history, and past employment. Despite this, if you intend to conduct a background check on a prospective employee, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
In conducting a background check, it is far too easy to make a mistake and come across information that violates a candidate's rights under federal and state rights. Additionally, the recruiter should not assume that a background check provides a comprehensive picture of a candidate. Before running a background check on an applicant, you should be aware of the following essential factors:
1. Understand the applicant’s privacy:
Checking the applicant’s background or police clearance would provide you with a brief picture about them. It doesn't mean you'll know everything. Make sure you comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) before conducting a background check. A police certificate should also be seen only by the hiring manager, to protect the candidate's privacy. After that, they will be able to accept or reject the applicant.
2. Should have authorization or permission to do so:
Before requesting a background check, organizations or employers should ensure the candidates have been informed firsthand and given their consent.
3. Authorized or accredited background check agency:
Conducting background check yourself can be time-consuming, risky, costly, and result in inappropriate background checks in some cases. Having an authorized and reliable third-party, such as a police detachment or accredited agency, conduct or initiate a background check is highly recommended.
4. Avoid discrimination based on candidate’s background:
Background information should only be used to determine if the candidate is a good fit for your organization. It cannot be used to judge or discriminate against others.
5. Store the background check at least five years in the candidate profile:
You can greatly benefit from having a reference not only today, but also in the future. According to best practices, background check results should be kept for at least five years. To prevent confusion, keep it separate from a candidate's file.
Performing a background check can help you learn more about a potential hire before you decide to hire them. Nevertheless, you do not have free rein when it comes to a person's confidential data or history. To profit from personal investigations without undermining anyone's privileges, make sure recruiters respect privacy protections and anti-discrimination laws.
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