Secrets of the Job Hunt


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Background Checks Good for Mental Health

Conducting a background check on all of the applicants an employer considers hiring can save a company much heartache later on. Considering the fact that approximately 43 percent of all resumes contain significant falsehoods, many hiring mangers have learned, the hard way, that they simply can’t trust an applicant’s word.

As unemployment rises some individuals will become more desperate to find work, which means that they are more likely to gloss over or flat out lie about their past. This means that getting a background check on new hires is more important than ever.

Currently 85 percent of employers hire outside agencies to handle the background check process for them, according to a recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management. Doing this decreases the likelihood that they company itself will be sued by an applicant who feels their background check was inaccurate.

Nevertheless, employers must be careful when denying an applicant work based on the results of a background check, especially if they have previously offered the individual a position before the record search was conducted.

Withdrawing an offer of employment can be a risky move unless the employer has already covered all their bases. For starters applicants have a right to know what kind of background check they are going to be subjected to.

All of those who apply for a position should be given a written document explaining what type of background check will be conducted and at what stage of the employment process it will be made. Employers should not go ahead with their investigation without first getting applicants to sign this document.

If an employer is going to conduct a background check on one potential new hire, then they should do so for all. Not being consistent could not only cause the employer to accidentally hire an individual with an unsavory criminal record, but also, if found out, could expose the company to a lawsuit.

Although most companies are specifically interested in criminal records when conducting a background check, there is a growing number of businesses that are looking into civil court records such as those pertaining to civil lawsuits involving bankruptcy, divorce and discrimination charges against previous employers.

Hiring managers maybe able to learn a lot about applicants this way, but the information should be used with extreme caution because there are laws that forbid making a hiring decision based on certain elements of this information. The federal government has made it illegal to pass over an applicant for a position due to the fact that they are or have been bankrupt. Because of this, the information obtained during a background check into civil records should only be used as it pertains to the position in question.

Finally, all information obtained during a background check should remain confidential. Employees that are not in the loop as to making decisions about who to hire have no business knowing why or why not an applicant was passed over.

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