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Making a bad hire is not uncommon in the United States. As a matter of fact, 74% of U.S. employers confess that at some point, they have hired the wrong applicant for a position. While it can happen to any company, if you are unable to avoid it you risk losing approximately $15,000 which is the average cost of hiring a job candidate that ends up being a mistake.

As a hiring officer or HR manager, you already know quite well that one of the major causes of a bad hire is faulty background check, and that it may lead to costly consequences. But removing background checks from your hiring process will only worsen the problem and may expose your organization to more risks which could include fraud, theft, lost wages and turnover costs among other things.

To avoid hiring mistakes, you can conduct your background check with extreme care or with the able assistance of a trusted pre-employment background check company. Fortunately, we have identified six common background checking mistakes for you to avoid. We have also determined the best possible solutions to each problem should you find yourself in need of them. 

Here are six most common background check mistakes and their possible solutions:

1. Absence of a Consistent Background Screening Policy 

Consistency is the strength of any policy – we all know that. If you don’t require a consistent pre-employment background check for all applicants, there’s a chance that your process may be interpreted as discriminatory.

Solution: Set a Standard and Adhere to It     

Determine what applicant background information is necessary for each position. For

example: Criminal background, character references, drug testing, etc.  

Set a policy for screening applicants. You may develop different policies and or procedures for different positions, but be sure to apply the same criteria to candidates for the same position every time.

2. Failure to Give Applicants a Chance to Know their Background Screening Results

When you’re in a hurry to fill a position, it’s easy to consider the results of a background check as an answer to a yes or no question and that’s a mistake. A blemish on the record of a candidate doesn’t tell the entire story. It’s one of the main reasons the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to notify applicants of the results of their pre-employment background checks if there is information found that matches them or if they, for instance, have selected to receive a copy of the background check itself. 

Solution: Let Candidates Know their Screening Results 

Most Job candidates choose to know their screening results, if available or given the opportunity. This typically also gives them a chance to explain what really happened behind that potential blemish or record when given the opportunity to do so.

When you see that a very promising applicant has blemish on his/her record, you may ask for an explanation for it to really make sure that you aren’t missing a potential good hire. As always, a candidate who sees that there’s some mistake in the process will certainly reach out to you to tell their story if they feel something is amiss.

3. Failure to Get the Candidate’s Permission      

Pursuant to the FCRA, employers who want to conduct pre-employment checks on job candidates are required to get a written permission from the applicant before conducting the process through a third party like a background screening company. Failure to do so constitutes a violation and could make your background screening problematic and cause exposure to risk. 

While a candidate’s permission is a standard procedure, we have to mention this mistake because it can and does happen more often than you might think.  

Solution: Use screening software that ensures background screening mistakes are avoided.

Large volumes of paperwork can sometimes be the culprit when disclosure and authorization mistakes happen. But with the help of intelligent screening programs, pitfalls like these can be avoided while also serving the purpose of streamlining your procedures and on-boarding timelines etc.

4. Basing a Hiring Decision on Inaccurate Records

This mistake may seem rare at first glance, but it can happen. Some employers that may be a bit overzealous may have the tendency to conduct background checks on parts of a candidate’s life that are not related to the position applied for or are inaccurate or outdated.

Can you imagine getting pulled over for speeding and the officer asks for your credit report in addition to your driver’s license?  Seems silly right?

The same can be said if you require a credit report from someone who applies for a position with no fiduciary responsibility or spend authority.  It’s typically no only a waste of resources but may be non-compliant as well as the information has no bearing on the applicant’s ability to perform their job. Moreover, running a background check that looks back 20 years may be compliant in your state or fair to the candidate etc. It’s critical for background checks to be accurate and applicable to the job being performed as well as compliant with all relevant federal, state and municipal mandates.

Solution: Screen only for information that’s relevant to the position

You can easily avoid these landmines by creating a standard screening policy that defines the specific background checks required for every position. Screen your applicants thoroughly but fairly to see whether your candidate’s criminal history, work history and character are aligned with your company’s values and objectives.  

5. Absence of a Mobile Background Check Program

Requesting permission from applicants for background checks the traditional way is time consuming. It requires candidates to go through a tedious process such as printing, filling out, signing, scanning and emailing of signed forms before you can start the credentialing process. It also requires additional time from applicants who might be busy with their current workload, or may not have access to any traditional office equipment for this purpose.

Because this process takes too much time, you run the risk of your best candidate getting swept away by another company that uses efficient onboarding and screening softwares that utilize more modern techniques such as electronic forms or even texting.     

Solution: Use an Effective Mobile Screening Solution

If your screening process is not backed by advanced hiring technology, you’ll likely fall behind in your quest for hiring the best job candidates quickly. For this reason, you should consider seeking assistance from Edge Information Management. We’re a pre-employment background screening company with technologically advanced pre-employment screening solutions to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of your hires.

6. Personally Conducting Background Checks on Social Media

Using social media to check the background of prospective employees and as the sole basis for making a hiring decision is not a prudent idea currently. It’s because a majority of information on a person’s social media account is not usually relevant to your hiring objective and may be considered discriminatory.  There may be exceptions based on certain types of jobs but if you are screening a candidate’s social media presence it should very likely be as a supplemental search to a consistent and traditional background screening policy and procedures.

Solution: Seek Help from a Professional Pre-employment Background Check Service 

A competent pre-employment screening company specializes in checking the background of your potential hires – legally, compliantly and objectively. It works to provide information that enables you to make intelligent hiring decisions which is a primary contributor of your company’s success.

Intelligent background screening of potential employees is a primary tool of getting the quality candidates you desire on-boarded within your organization. It is also a first line of defense against making hiring mistakes. It helps to spare your company from fraud, wasted training and turnover costs, workplace accidents, and legal liabilities. Make it work for you by partnering with Edge Information Management. We are a professional pre-employment background check company dedicated to assisting employers with hiring success and peace of mind. 

Call us at (800) 725-3343.