8 of the Biggest Background Screening Myths

Posted: June 27, 2018

Background screening myths debunked for both hiring companies and candidates.

Whether you’re an individual who’s in the market for a new job or an organization hiring candidates, background screening is a topic that’s probably on your mind. But there are many different background screening myths that may be keeping you from becoming knowledgeable on the subject. Even the most well-informed individuals still have questions. In this blog post, we’ll cover eight of the most common background screening myths and provide some clarity around this important process. We’ll also point out if the background screening myths apply to hiring companies, applicants, or both.

8 Common Background Screening Myths:

HIRING COMPANIES: Myth #1: Only Enterprises Need to Screen Potential Employees

Background screenings are designed to help employers feel confident when making their hiring decisions—regardless of business size. It’s not true that only large enterprises should run background checks on potential employees; all companies are at risk of hiring the wrong applicants. Smaller companies can even see more difficult challenges from poor hiring choices because the fines they experience can have a higher impact on their operating budget. By spending a little bit of money on background checks for all employees, you can save thousands of dollars and free up months of valuable time.

HIRING COMPANIES: Myth #2: All Background Checks are the Same

Perhaps the biggest background screening myth is that they are all the same. In reality, there are many sub-par background screening firms that provide employers with inadequate or inaccurate information. This leads to poor hiring decisions, resulting in poor employees. Make sure the background screening provider you choose is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). And, ensure all candidates are informed about background check requirements and supported throughout the process.

BOTH: Myth #3: A Criminal Record Automatically Equals a No-Hire

Both candidates and organizations often believe that positive criminal record checks automatically make a candidate ineligible for a job. But that isn’t always (and shouldn’t always) be the case. For example, while an applicant with a past DUI should be denied a position as a truck driver, they may still be a great fit for a store clerk or accountant. You must take many factors into consideration when a criminal record check comes back positive, including how long ago the crime was committed, the type of crime, and how the crime relates to the intended job.

BOTH: Myth #4: Background Checks Are Only About Criminal History

Some applicants believe criminal history checks are the only part of background checks that employers care about. However, a comprehensive background screening includes so much more. Background checks may include a look at civil law suits, credit history, education, licensing credentials, substance use history, and many other elements.

BOTH: Myth #5: Criminal Records Last Forever

Not true. A criminal record could be absent from crime databases for a variety of reasons. If there was a misdemeanor that happened more than 10 years ago, for example, many states will have already destroyed that record. Or, perhaps the conviction has been expunged or vacated by a local court. Juvenile arrests, especially, may be sealed and inaccessible, or a felony may have been reduced to a misdemeanor and is no longer available. And, of course, the government sometimes makes mistakes. Not all records are accurate.

APPLICANTS: Myth #6: Estimating My Time of Employment on an Application is Good Enough

Estimating employment dates can be a dangerous business. If an applicant’s resume is flagged due to inaccurate dates of employment, this could cause delays. Or, it could even mean they won’t be considered for the position. After all, if an applicant lies about dates (purposely or by accident), what else might they lie about? As an applicant, make sure every date is accurate, whether it’s education, employment, qualifications, etc.

HIRING COMPANIES: Myth #7: Background Checks Usually Last 1-2 Weeks

When you’re hiring candidates, time is of the essence. You don’t want them to get tired of waiting and accept another offer. Typically, background check requests should come back in fewer than five business days. But, most checks take between 24-72 business hours.

APPLICANTS: Myth #8: You Don’t Need to Tell People You Put Them Down as a Reference

Actually, applicants should always ask before they put anyone down as a reference on anything. It’s part of professional courtesy. Then, that person will know that they will be receiving a call in the near future. If you don’t warn them and they seem confused or surprised, it gives the hiring company the impression that the applicant is disorganized and even unprofessional.

Still have questions about background screening myths you’ve heard? The experts at Info Cubic will be happy to assist. Contact us today.

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