Many employers that are required by law to perform background screening on their employees employ either an in-house screening team or, in most cases, an outside screening company. Although partnering with a reputable outside screening service to handle their background check requirements is standard practice for many employers, still others, large and small, wonder if it’s a good idea.
Pre-employment screening can be expensive. For this reason, smaller employers wonder if they should handle their own background screening. For the most part, simple reference checks are easily handled by an organization’s HR department. However, more extensive screening may be best handled by a professional. Just as an employer won’t generally handle their own drug screening needs, they probably shouldn’t handle their own criminal records screening either.
There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to hire an outside screening company, not the least of which is the fact that a reputable screening service will be far more aware of the laws that govern pre-employment screening than the average employer.
So, what should employers look for in a screening partner?
• First, a screening agency should be reputable. Employers can check with the Better Business Bureau and ask for references from screening companies they are considering. It’s also a good idea to check with business associates and other reliable sources for recommendations.
• Second, a screening service should be experienced. Inexperienced screening services may include information that unfairly influences an employer’s decision or may fail to include pertinent information that an employer needs to know. Partnering with an experienced agency is a great way to ensure that information is complete.
• Third, a screening company should be thorough. A reputable agency assures an employer that they see the process through from start to finish. They not only guarantee that they comply with all state and federal laws but that they handle the administrative work involved in the process such as getting applicant permission, providing notices, and preparing reports.
• Fourth, a screening agency should provide information about their services. When considering any screening service, an employer should receive information about the company, the services it provides, how it complies with the legal aspects of the process, how it handles the administrative aspects of the process, and what guarantees it provides to the employer.
With workplace violence and the legal liabilities such incidents generate on the rise, employers can’t be too careful in making sure they make the best hiring decisions possible. Partnering with a reputable employment screening service can take a lot of the worry out of complying with state and federal laws, properly administering the process, and accessing a proper and thorough report. Even a small oversight in an employer’s do-it-yourself attempt at a criminal background check can leave that employer open to more legal liability than bargained for. In the long run, it may be wise to hire a reputable employment screening agency to reduce the risk of hiring the wrong person.