Background checks might seem intimidating for prospective job candidates, but the process can also be daunting for employers who are new to the hiring process. Running a background check before hiring a new employee helps ensure that the candidate is responsible, truthful, and trustworthy. It helps protect your company, customers, and other employees from potential incidents in the workplace, not to mention the potential headaches of having to fire an employee you just hired.
This article will show you the step-by-step process of running a background check using GoodHire. We’ll also cover some potential challenges you might face along the way and how to overcome those obstacles. At the end of this guide, you’ll learn about some alternative background check companies that may be better suited for different scenarios.
Step-By-Step Guide to Background Checks Before Hiring
Step 1: Create a Company Background Check Policy
Before you can start running any background checks, you need to clearly establish a company policy for this process. Not only will this make things more efficient for your HR staff, but it also ensures fairness for all prospective hires.
Most company background check policies should contain the following major components:
- What type of background checks will be run?
- Who will background checks be run on?
- How will the results of a background check impact employment?
- When will background checks be run?
Background checks aren’t one-size-fits-all reports. So it’s important to identify the type of information you want to learn about prospective hires.
Popular examples include:
- Criminal Background Checks — Reviewing the criminal record of a candidate can help you determine whether or not they’ll pose a threat or create an unsafe work environment for your customers or employees. State, federal, and county criminal records would include charges like fraud, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, sex crimes, assault, and other criminal offenses.
- Civil Court Checks — Civil checks show background information on non-criminal claims, judgments, or lawsuits involving the candidate. This could include things like restraining orders, bankruptcies, or small claims.
- Credit Checks — Running a credit check is crucial for positions where the employee has access to financial assets. The report will include things like unpaid collections, tax liens, and payment histories but won’t include the person’s credit score.
- Driving Record Checks — Checking MVRs (motor vehicle reports) is necessary if the employee will be operating a vehicle for business use. The report will validate the person’s license and show their driving history for things like DUIs, moving violations, and suspensions.
- Drug Screening — Drug tests are self-explanatory and help determine if a candidate has recently used specific illegal drugs.
- Employment Verification — Verifying a candidate’s employment history can be a way to see if they were truthful on their resume and application. Job titles, work-related achievements, and responsibilities will be checked for accuracy.
- Education Verification — Education reports verify school attendance, diplomas, graduation years, degrees, and certifications. This can help reduce the risk of hiring someone with false credentials, as this creates problems for certain local, state, federal, and industry compliance rules.
- International Background Checks — An international background check may be required for candidates who lived and worked outside of the US for an extended period of time. These background checks can provide insight into criminal records, employment history, education credentials, and more.
GoodHire offers 100+ different background checks and screening services. So there’s a good chance they’ll have whatever your company policy calls for.
Once you’ve determined what background checks to include in your policy, then you have to decide who the checks will be run on.
Are you going to run background checks on all new hires? Just new hires in a specific department?
You should also set some concrete rules on which types of offenses or results on a report will impact the employment decision. For example, if a new hire has lots of speeding tickets and other moving violations, that probably shouldn’t impact the decision to hire them if they won’t be operating a vehicle at work.
Decide at which stage of the hiring and recruiting process you’re going to run the background checks, and finalize regular intervals for ongoing checks (if applicable).
Establishing a written background check policy helps prevent discrimination, litigation and provides transparency to prospects and employees alike.
Step 2: Choose a Background Check Company
As previously mentioned, the step-by-step process in this guide is going to focus on GoodHire. But there are other viable options to consider that we’ll cover later on.
The reason we’re recommending GoodHire is that the service is especially trustworthy and versatile. They’ve run background checks for over 80,000+ employers of all sizes across a wide range of different industries.
GoodHire boasts an impressive, industry-leading dispute rate of just 0.085%, so the results of their background checks are extremely reliable.
Signing up is fast and easy. To get started, just answer how many background checks you plan to run in a given year.
From here, GoodHire will verify a few details about your company. It usually takes less than one business day for GoodHire to verify your account, and you can get started running background checks immediately thereafter.
There are three different preset packages to choose from, depending on what type of information you’re seeking:
- Basic — $29.99 each
- Standard — $54.99 each
- Premium — $78.99 each
Most businesses opt for the Standard checks at a minimum. There are other add-ons for things like monthly monitoring, drug screenings, healthcare sanctions, and other specific needs.
For larger organizations running 25+ background checks per year, contact GoodHire for a custom quote.
Step 3: Communicate the Background Check Requirements to Your Candidates
You must disclose your background check process with new hires so they understand what to expect. Be as transparent as possible, and explain your reasoning for running the check.
Tell the candidate that they can review the results, add comments, and dispute inaccuracies. Give them an opportunity to explain anything that might come up on the report as well.
Under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act), employee background checks are classified as “consumer reports.” This means that you must do the following to remain compliant:
- Give the applicant notice that you’ll be performing a background check
- Obtain consent from the applicant to run the check
- Provide a “Summary of Rights” copy to the applicant
- Make sure the application includes the name, address, and phone number of the agency conducting the report
GoodHire makes this step really easy, as they have a wide range of consent forms and notices that you can use.
Step 4: Run the Background Check
Once you’ve obtained consent from your candidate, it’s time to officially run the background check.
You’ll have the ability to do this directly from your GoodHire dashboard without worrying about faxing documents or printing anything. The entire process is digital, and you can even obtain electronic signatures from your candidates.
Just click Run a New Background Check from your admin dashboard to continue. Select the types of checks you want to run and finalize any add-ons to the report.
Then it’s just a matter of sitting back and waiting for the results. Basic background checks from GoodHire typically come back within one business day. Standard and Premium background checks take two to four business days.
Step 5: Read the Results and Make Your Hiring Decision
Once the results come back, you’ll need to review the report to see the candidate’s history. Based on your findings, refer back to the company policy you created in the first step to see whether or not something flagged would be grounds for not hiring the person.
FCRA allows candidates to file a dispute if they see an inaccuracy on the report. This can be initiated with a single click on their end once the results have been delivered.
In the event that a dispute has been filed, you may need to hold off on making a final hiring decision pending the new results.
Assuming everything looks good and you’re satisfied with the background check, you can proceed and move the new hire through your employee onboarding process.
3 Top Benefits of Background Checks Before Hiring
On the fence about running a background check for new hires? Here’s a brief overview of the top benefits you’ll gain from this process.
Enhanced Workplace Safety and Security
Hiring an employee without checking their background could result in severe consequences, depending on the person’s history.
For example, if they have a history of theft, assault, public intoxication, or other criminal offenses, you can be putting your staff and employees at risk. The small fee of a background check is well worth it when you consider the potential damages of a workplace incident.
There are certain industry, state, federal, and local regulations for different businesses. Your company could be faced with fines and legal issues if you hire someone without properly screening their credentials.
Reduce Employee Turnover Rates
Running a background check helps you hire with confidence. You’ll know that you’re hiring someone who is a good fit for the position, as opposed to finding out months down the road that they aren’t qualified or have conflicting problems causing issues in the workplace.
This ultimately improves your hiring process and reduces the amount of time and money associated with employee turnover.
3 Biggest Challenges With Background Checks & How to Troubleshoot Them
There are a few common challenges that businesses are faced with when running background checks. Fortunately, troubleshooting them is fairly simple with GoodHire.
In addition to FCRA and federal law, you’ll need to ensure your background check process complies with all state and local laws as well. For example, some states don’t allow you to run credit checks as part of the employee background screening.
Keeping pace with these different compliance laws can be challenging, especially if you’re operating in multiple jurisdictions.
GoodHire has built-in compliance features that simplify this process.
Even if there are conflicting laws between local and state guidelines, GoodHire will ensure your process meets the necessary requirements. They also allow you to apply adverse actions equally to all candidates, so hiring efforts will be fair and transparent.
Your new hire might pass a background check today, but what if they commit a crime in six months? You won’t know this unless you’re constantly running new background checks, which can be a serious pain and expense.
To avoid this problem, GoodHire offers monthly monitoring services for all of your employees. Just select the add-on to get this service.
If anything changes, you’ll automatically get notified with an alert. This makes it easy for you to make a timely decision.
Ongoing monitoring from GoodHire costs $2.50 per employee per month.
Using multiple platforms different for HR functions can be inefficient. It also increases the chances of human error as you’re manually inputting information from one system to another.
Fortunately, GoodHire’s employment screening seamlessly integrates with the HR tools that you’re already using.
It’s pre-integrated with BambooHR, Workday, Paycor, ADP, Greenhouse, Breezy HR, and other popular solutions in this space. If the HR software or ATS solution you’re using isn’t on the list, you can use the GoodHire API to connect the platforms.
Other Options For Background Checks Before Hiring
For example, large organizations and enterprises might find GoodHire a bit limiting. In this scenario, Checkr would be a better solution. It’s trusted by 15,000+ enterprises like Netflix, Airbnb, Instacart, and Papa Johns.
If you need deep assurances of the quality of people you’re hiring, try TruthFinder. It runs detailed, in-depth checks that will show everything from location history and known associates to criminal background and assets.
- TruthFinder — Best For In-Depth Searches and Finding Criminal Records
- Intelius — Best For Running Instant Checks
- Instant Checkmate — Best For Social Media Background Checks
- Checkr — Best For Running Bulk Background Checks
- GoodHire — Best For Businesses That Want to Pay Per Report