You can avoid the “Hire Then Fire” trap. Check a possible employee before you issue a paycheck.
“A background check can help reduce theft by insuring that the person you want to hire hasn’t committed similar acts in the past,” explained Stephanie Martinez-Kluga, a senior HR specialist at Administaff. “It can also limit exposure due to negligent hiring and help with retention. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.”
“However, the applicant must complete a consent form,” she said. “If not, it can be considered an invasion of privacy. And there are times where a case of mistaken identity happens. The applicant must be given a copy of the completed report.”
Costs vary from $15 to roughly $50-$100 for a professional pre-employment screening. Most third-party background checks are completed in three to five days via searches of computerized public records and personal databases. Even Notre Dame used a background check when it hired a football coach in 2001: George O'Leary lost the job five days after starting when his background check revealed he lied about his educational credentials.
If you hire an outside company to do a background check on a job applicant or current employee, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) requires that you:
• Get written permission from the individual for the background check.
• Get permission on a separate document.
• Get special permission if medical information is requested.
• Give notice of the individual’s right to ask about the nature and scope of the report if the report will include interviews with others.
• Give notice and a copy of the report before an adverse employment decision is made.
• Give notice of rights and procedures to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information
If you are a California employer, and whether you conduct the background check yourself or hire an outside company, you must also:
• Give notice to the individual of the right to ask for a copy of any background report.
• Give notice of the right to know the nature and scope of a background check.
• Give contact information for the screening company.
Small business owners that are “financial institutions” under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act may also be subject to proper disposal requirements under the FTC’s Safeguarding Rule.