HR Management & Compliance

Hiring: What Sort of Screening Should We Do for Various Employees?

We want to standardize our procedures for doing pre-employment background checks. What guidelines should we set up for which applicants get which checks? For example, who gets a criminal background check? Motor vehicle? Credentials verification? What do you recommend? — Ronald L., Office Manager in Chico


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We turned this important question over to Jared Callahan.

Great question! The key to any background checking policy is to be consistent: you want to run the same type of background check on every candidate in a certain job class.

The type of check you run depends on the cost of the check and its relevance to the job you’re filling, although many employers run some type of criminal records check and address locator on each candidate as a starting point.

So ask yourself, for example, would a credit report be relevant to the job you’re filling? It certainly is for a cash management position, but not so much for a forklift driver, perhaps. Do you need to verify a college degree? If the position requires the degree, you probably should; however, if the position doesn’t require it, perhaps not.

I suggest that employers, in consultation with their background checking professionals, set up two, three or maybe more standard levels of background checks as options. Generally, you will need one for frontline staff, another for managers or supervisors, and yet another for positions having some type of financial responsibility. The specific requirements of your organization may dictate additional levels of screening as well. Then, assign one of the standard checks to each particular class of job, and you will have a consistent background-checking program.

Jared Callahan is director, client relations, for Employment Screening Resources in Novato.