8 Misconceptions About Pre-Employment Background Screening

About a month ago we debunked the myth of the instant background check. In this post we will be addressing eight common misconceptions about pre-employment background screening and why they are wrong. Background screening can sometimes seem like an overwhelming project to tackle. However, employers and job seekers can take comfort in the fact that these eight misconceptions are in fact, just that.  After reading this you should have a better idea of how to better approach designing the right background screening program.

1. All Background Check Companies Provide the Same Information

It is a common misconception that every screening company is the same, and thus, the cheapest check is the best. There is no single database of criminal information available, and instant checks do not exist. There are FCRA guidelines in place that companies must follow; meaning every company should use the same standards. However, this is not the case.  If you are getting a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Approaching background screening in this fashion puts you at risk for an inaccurate check, a bad hire and even a lawsuit.

 2. Every Background Check is the Same

The type of check used should be determined by the job. A check can include a number of things from criminal checks and credit history to reference and credential checks. Not every company offers comprehensive checks. When choosing a CRA make sure the screening process includes what is important to you and your unique staffing needs.

 3. Employers are Looking for a Reason Not to Hire You

Many people believe background checks are used as a means to not hire someone. This is not the case. Background screening is merely a precaution to ensure employers are hiring who they think they are. If you are at the stage in the hiring process of a background check, your future employer has almost certainly chosen you already, and is waiting upon a final check before moving forward.

 4. You Won’t Get Hired with a Criminal Record

It is natural to worry about a criminal past getting in the way of your future but it is less likely in today’s workplace. Lots of factors are taken into consideration now including: the type of crime, how it relates to the job and the length of time passed since the crime was committed. Many employers are taking EEOC guidance on hiring those with arrests or convictions and looking further than just the scarlet letter. Chances are you will get to defend your actions and hopefully land the job.

 5. Poor Credit will Disqualify a Candidate

It has been in the news lately, can bad credit cost you a job? Most likely no, credit usually is used for identity purposes. This means most employers don’t take your personal financial situation into consideration; rather, they are more concerned with your past lining up with what you’ve told them.

 6. Applicants Can’t Dispute Findings

 It is rare but occasionally, with common last names, the wrong ‘John Smith’ is found and reported. Under law, applicants are allowed to obtain a copy of their report and can even dispute findings. No employer may deny a candidate of that.

 7. All the Information you need is Online

It is believed that background checks are unnecessary due to the vast information available on the internet. Using online and social media searches can be tricky and pose certain risks to a company. There is a good chance that with an online search you will not find all the information you need and open yourself up to a discrimination suit.

 8. Only Large Companies need to Screen Candidates

Many small businesses believe background checks are only necessary for larger companies but that truth is smaller companies have more to lose. A bad hire can cost over $25,000, money most small businesses don’t have to spare. It is better to pay the small fee for a background check than risk thousands in damages, and months or years of invaluable time.

Let us know in the comments below of any other background screening myths or misconceptions you’ve stumbled across. We’d love to hear from you!

 For other best practices subscribe to our blog here, and download our free 23 page guide to Applicant Background Screening in 2014.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Identity & Credit, Industry Solutions, References & Credentialing by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

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Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

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Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

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Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

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