Background Check Errors: Why They Happen and What Job Seekers Can Do About Them
We have an awesomely good customer retention rate – 97%. That’s partly because we offer exceptional service and reliable tools like our ACTivate Platform. But it’s also because we rarely make mistakes, and if an error occurs on a background report, we work diligently to discover its root, correct the information, and communicate with all parties involved in the screening process.
Being transparent about the screening process is important to us at Active Screening for many reasons:
- Boost general knowledge about background checks for employers, employees and other curious people
- Increase use of background checks as a necessary employment tool
- Inform companies about the many reasons to incorporate background checks into their hiring processes and explain the increased risks associated with not using them
- Demystify the methodology behind background checks and tools used to collect the information
- Showcase our responsibility toward delivering best-in-class background checks as a nationally-accredited screening agency, and our commitment to correcting errors so they don’t happen again
- Explain the laws associated with hiring, screening and on-boarding
- Show the good and the bad of the background check industry so employers and employees can make better decisions
As much as we try to mitigate the chances of errors happening, the fact is that mistakes DO occur in the background check process. What’s important is that if an error is uncovered everyone works together to correct the information and not get caught in the blame game. Let’s examine why some errors might happen and what job seekers can do to correct them.
Misinformation – We’re talking about basic information like your name or birthdate or Social Security Number
getting misread, misreported, or misinterpreted from the get-go. This can happen because of sloppy handwriting, number transposition, or any other honest human mistake. That’s the point to remember with this mistake – it’s human in its origin and a machine (computer databases) will only turn out the information that humans put in it. If it’s incorrect from the start, the results will be wrong, too.
Common Name – John Smith. Dave Johnson. Mary David. If you have a common name, a search will turn up tons of results and only one of them will actually be you. It’s easy to see how mistakes happen here. That’s why it’s imperative if you have a common name, you give as much specific information as possible if you have authorized an employer to run a background check. Yes, in a perfect world, the screening agencies would be able to rifle through all the results and find the one that fits ‘you.’ But to save yourself the heartache if an identity error is turned up, provide more specific details like an SSN up front.
Identity Theft – Sometimes you won’t even know you’re a victim until the search results come back with unfavorable information. It stinks but it happens. Just ask Jason Bateman.
Law Mixups – Every state is entitled to enact laws to protect job seekers beyond the federal statutes already in place. Problems arise when the folks conducting the background checks (this could be anyone from off-shored screening agencies to in-house Human Resources departments) aren’t familiar with each state’s laws and end up looking at information they shouldn’t be privy to.
If any of these scenarios happen to you, don’t fret. There are steps you can take to correct the information:
- If you are denied a job because of a background report, the employer has to tell you that the results were the reason. This is called Adverse Action. You should also be given a copy of the report. If the employer fails to tell you any of this and fails to give you a copy of the results, they are violating federal law and you can sue them.
- You can request that the information be corrected, but you must do this within 60 days of getting the results. It’s best to notify the employer straightaway and provide evidence to prove the information is wrong, then, together, you can move forward to get the background check results corrected. Don’t wait on this part, though, because the employer is under no obligation during the 60-day period to hold the job open for you.
Has a background check ever turned up erroneous information on you? How did you discover the problem? What did you do to resolve it? We’d like to hear your story. Leave a comment below.
This entry was posted in Applicant-Entry Solutions, Background Screening, Criminal Records, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, References & Credentialing and tagged adverse action, background checks, Background Screening, Criminal Records, FCRA, Hiring, Hiring Law, Human Resources, Identity, Identity Theft, Legislation, NAPBS, off shoring, PII by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.
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