Background Screening Must be Thorough to be Effective
Posted: January 07, 2016
The Boston Globe published an interesting article late last month that We fear was missed by many people due to the holidays. The article, “Background Check Failed to Find Nanny’s Record” was written by Shelly Murphy and published on December 29th. We urge you to read this interesting, albeit depressing, article that calls attention to the deficiencies associated with conducting limited background checks. The article mentioned “a preferred plus background check priced at $79 is more comprehensive than two other checks that it offers and includes a search of criminal records in the states and/or counties the candidate has resided over the last seven years.” Worse yet, this check appears to be based solely on the jurisdictions that the nanny provided on her application. A background check must be thorough to be effective. Criminals are not as dumb as many would like to think they are. If your applicant has been convicted of a crime, do you think that they will readily provide you with this information? Do you think that they may even consider leaving out that that information or previous address in hopes that you won’t find out about it? The possibility exhists for sure. Don’t misinterpret me, not all criminals are as conniving, many are forthright and honest about unfortunate situations that have occurred in their past. It’s a leading practice to review each applicant individually and specifically for the position to which they are applying. In many cases it would be perfectly acceptable to hire a person with a previous criminal conviction – they may even turn out to be your most prized employee down the road. My advice, it you want to be thorough (and especially when hiring people who have access to vulnerable populations -i.e. children and seniors) is that you should conduct a search based on where your applicant has lived, worked and went to school over a 7 year time period. It’s also important to consider using another tool like a Social Security Number Search as a means to discover any alias’s and possibly other jurisdictions where you applicant may have lived, worked or went to school that were not provided on the job application. In addition you should probably consider running a national criminal search to turn up additional jurisdictions outside of where the applicant has lived, worked and went to school where a crime may have occurred, and then investigate that record directly at the source. Not all background checks are designed the same, you may need several different predefined packages based on the positions your hiring for, but don’t simply assume that since you conducted a background check that it’s a thorough one. Take the time to work with a provider that understands your specific needs, your budget and your business requirements. A provider that takes a consultative approach to building a custom screening program that is compliant but perhaps even more importantly, one that protects your employer brand and helps provide a safe and health working environment.