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The importance of employment screening

The importance of employment screening

Pre-employment screening has become a necessity for businesses as security concerns and cases of corporate fraud and misrepresentation increase. As companies can be held responsible for the actions of an employee, especially if they did not perform a background check, it is good business sense to screen all potential new hires.

Although small businesses may feel they can get away with a few simple reference checks and phones calls, it can be a costly mistake should your new employee turn out to be a company liability. Not only will you be saddled with an incompetent worker but your very business could be at risk of a costly and complex lawsuit.


Basic elements of pre-employment screening include checking references and qualifications but may also include psychometric testing, drug testing and a full criminal background check. Over 82% of HR professionals now use pre-employment screening services as an additional decision maker when hiring new staff.

In order to run a background check your company must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The FCRA states that employees agree in writing to a background check prior to its performance. State laws govern what information can and can’t be included in this check and it’s worth contacting local regulators or a lawyer before instigating the process.

The ADA restricts employers from using medical or disability information in the employment process for businesses with 15 or more employees. This means you can’t enquire about disabilities during a background check or an interview.

Background checks can include verification of personal references, academic records, social security number, credit records, driving and criminal records, and in some states instances of past claims for workers’ compensation.

Your HR department can carry out background checks themselves or you can hire a professional services company to undertake the task. Outsourcing your pre employment screening gives you access to more complete information and offers some protection against legal proceedings.

The information contained in your pre employment screening checks can be used for hiring, firing, promotion and reassignment decisions. If you’re new to the process it’s worth getting professional advice from small business agencies such as score.org or sba.gov.

They can help with choosing a reliable background checking company to work with, and should be able to tell you about legal restrictions in your state.

Your interview candidates will do their own research on your business; shouldn't you know who it is you’re planning to employ?