Conducting background checks can reveal key information about employees that strongly indicates how they may perform on the job. However, the timing of when to take this step isn't always clear. While some employers might think that it’s a good idea to request a background check for every candidate that submits a job application, it’s really not to the employer’s advantage.
Consider these 3 factors when conducting background checks on your potential candidates.
An article published recently by the National Law Review explains that most companies have made it a policy to wait until after offering a job to perform background checks. Not following this best practice policy could spark legal issues and cost millions of dollars in potential lawsuits. If employers conduct background checks on all applicants before an offer is made and filter out their candidates because of the results, this can be viewed as discrimination. This take away from candidates' chances even if they have the proper qualifications for the desired position.
Conducting background checks is a cost-effective strategy because it prevents businesses from investing in an employee who is not a good fit for the job. However, performing this step before an offer does not have the same cost-benefits and can actually serve as a financial nightmare. There's no way to budget costs if companies screen every applicant because there's no telling how many people will apply for the position. As operating costs continue to increase, establishing a best practice policy as to how many final candidates you'll opt for to conduct the background checks on can save you valuable time and money in the hiring process.
Conducting background checks pre-offer can set employers up for potential discrimination cases, but that's just one of many ways pre-offer background checks can spell out potential lawsuits. While gaining information from a person's criminal record may help to determine whether or not they're the right fit for the job, background checks can reveal additional information that you cannot legally take into consideration when making a hiring decision. For example, the candidate's age, sex and race, which employers are often better off not knowing until post-offer. Otherwise, there's potential for a candidate to argue that he or she didn't get the job based on that personal information. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOO), it's illegal for companies to decide to conduct a background check based on a candidate's age, sex, race, color, family medical history, national origin, disability or religion.
Interested in learning more about background screening policies? Download our guide Background Checks: The First Step to Smart Business Hiring.