What Do You Need to Know About Background Checks?


When you are thinking about hiring staff for your company, it is natural for you to want to ensure that potential staff members will be trustworthy and reliable if you bring them on board. You likely do not want to hire someone with a lengthy criminal history, especially someone who has repeatedly committed fraud or violent acts. Depending upon your industry, you may also be concerned about hiring someone who has bad credit or a history of mishandling money.

To get insight into your potential new staff member and avoid hiring someone who would not be a good fit for your organization, many employers are interested in doing background checks and are also interested in asking their employees about their criminal history. However, if you are going to conduct background checks or make inquiries about an employee’s criminal past, you have to comply with the law. You should be aware:

  • Employers may need to get consent. While employers can do some of their own investigating without disclosing the background check to employees, employees do have the right to know if information is being obtained from a consumer reporting agency. If an employer takes adverse action against an employee (or potential employee) based on a background check, the employee must also be notified.
  • Pre-employment background checks are discouraged, but allowed. Employers can ask about arrests, pending charges, dismissed cases and even sealed cases of crimes committed as a juvenile. However, employers should investigate whether a potential employee actually committed the crime. Employers should ask about whether charges have been dismissed or led to a conviction.
  • There are restrictions on how employers can use information. Employers should focus only on crimes that involve behavior that would affect job performance. Employers should also restrict inquiries into criminal convictions that occurred within the past 10 years.

SmartTalent helps employers to find qualified workers with the right backgrounds and temperament who will be good additions to the team. If you are looking for workers in Kirkland, Fife, Renton, Lacey, Lynwood, Everett and surrounding areas, give us a call to find out how we can help you find great job seekers to work for your organization.

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