Reviewing Your Screening Policy: Is it up to date?

Unless you’re in human resources or the background industry, you may not a have clue what a ‘screening policy’ is. But if you’re serious about hiring good people, building a consistent workplace culture, and staying on the right side of the law, you really need to know what your screening policy is and if it’s up to date. Here’s a step-by-step tool to help you examine your policy and determine if any changes are needed.

Know what a background check is and what it isn’t

So you’re thinking about hiring Joe Schmoe to run the front line in your local taco shop franchise. You check out his Facebook page. Seems harmless enough. His Twitter account has some juvenile humor, but nothing too offensive. You ask him if he’s ever had any run-ins with the law and he mentions a couple of speeding tickets. So far, so good, right? This background check stuff is easy.


What you’re doing is what every employer should do before they hire someone, but none of what you did qualifies as a background check. Why? A couple of reasons. One, it blurs the line between recruitment and hiring discrimination (this post explains the difference). Two, a background check should verify a person’s qualifications. Just because Joe’s LinkedIn profile says he’s a Horned Frog, doesn’t mean he knows TCU from this (NSFW) TCU. Three, you want to know if you’re hiring someone who tells the truth and who has a criminal-free history. Those so-called speeding tickets? Did Joe forget to mention that one of them also resulted in a drunken driving arrest?

True, a proper screening can be done in-house, but more and more businesses are turning to external screening companies like us. Our screening process is already thorough, follows the law, and provides the necessary information for you to make a qualified decision about Joe Schmoe’s employability with your taco shop. In other words, we’ll find out that Joe was drunk when he was pulled over for speeding because he was late to his last job as a BMX bike salesman.

Understand the roles of compliance

Are you familiar with the terms FCRA, furnisher, CRA, adverse action? What about EEOC and discrimination? No? Yikes. You definitely need us.

These crucial components are the building blocks toward a structured and consistent screening policy that keep you within the confines of the law. Compliance is a big deal in the screening industry. One national screening industry leader reports that consumer protection penalties can run upward of $2,500 per violation for each employee affected. A handful of violations could easily put your little taco shop in the red.

When you outsource your screening needs to a company like Active Screening, you can rest assured that employee background checks will follow the letter of the law. But if you decide to keep your screening needs in house, you’ll need to (at the very least) follow these FCRA compliance guidelines:

  • only order background checks for employment reasons
  • tell your candidate in writing that you will be running a background check on them
  • have the candidate sign off on that
  • know your limitations as an ‘end user’
  • understand the delicate nature of adverse action

Are you a ‘builder’ or a ‘buyer’?

Deciding whether to run background checks yourselves, or to farm out the procedures, can be a tough decision. Ask yourself these questions before making your decision:

Is my HR department already overworked?

Would they need any additional training to learn how to complete a background check?

Do you need to know who will be investigating job candidates?

Do you like to keep all work-related projects and task in-house?

Are you comfortable with outsourcing?

Do you have the resources to build and maintain a screening policy and procedure?

Collaborate with the professionals to create or update your policy

In most cases, we recommend outsourcing your screening needs to the experts. There are so many reasons why (scrolling through our blog will give you a ton of them), but one of our favorites is that our products are totally customizable so you only need to sign on for services you’re willing to pay for. In other words, if you’re not willing to pay for all the extra toppings on the taco, you can just order the meat, cheese and salsa.

Think of Active Screening as your a la cart screening agency. We have a range of options that you tailor to your needs and our background checks are available for a wide range of industries from transportation to education to healthcare.

Even if you’re not ready to commit to our services, we have a skilled staff who is willing to examine your current screening policy and offer recommendations on how you can improve it. That sounds pretty appetizing to us!

So, give us a call today to talk shop about screening. 1-800-319-5580. Tell ‘em Joe Schmoe sent you.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , , , , 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."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

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.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

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

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.