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Jun 27
Navigating New Hire Background Checks

​Once you've found a good candidate for your open position, it is time to run a background check. Background checks should be tailored for the position and handled consistently for all applicants.

Like other aspects of employment, background checks fall under Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations, which prohibit discrimination or unfair treatment based on a protected status. As a result, you must apply the same standards to each applicant or new hire for the same type of position.

Consider the following forms of background checks:

  • Criminal background checks, such as sex offender registry; national, state, and county criminal records; and terrorist watch lists
  • Credit history
  • Driver's license verification and driving records
  • Social Security number verification
  • Reference checks
  • Education verification
  • Medical history and physical—only in very specific situations

When deciding which checks to run, consider job duties and requirements. For example, while you may choose to only run a criminal history for an entry-level receptionist, you should add a driving record check for a delivery driver, or check credit history for a new hire in the accounting department.

Consider running some level of criminal history checks on all new hires, and seriously evaluate violent offenses prior to hiring. But consider other results differently based on position. For example, a DUI may not matter for an office worker, but may exclude a driver. Additionally, depending on state law, you may not consider old misdemeanors in some areas.

Even if you do not hire the applicant, you must keep all background check records for at least one year—sometimes up to two—along with the job application and other related forms. Once the required retention period expires, you must dispose of background reports securely, via shredding, pulverizing or burning.

Note, too, that all background checks you obtain through a third party fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Requirements include:

  • Obtaining signed consent from the applicant, new hire or employee prior to running the background check reports.
  • Providing a copy of the “Summary of Rights under the FCRA" and proper adverse action letters if you take negative employment action based on the results of a background check.

For assistance navigating background checks for applicants or new hires or to learn more about discounted rates on background checks for Big “I" members, visit Affinity HR Group online. 


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