By Omar Dek Aden
So, you’re in charge of running or researching program for your company?
Well, before you get too far there’s one thing you absolutely, positively must know:
There is a difference – and we’re talking a big difference – between ordering an “instant” criminal background check and ordering reports though a professional employment screening company.
Now you might be thinking, “sure, the difference is that working with a company is going to be more complex, more money, more work for me!” in reality, background screening is an affordable investment any company can make to decrease their exposure to hiring risks and improve the quality of their employees if done right.
Actually, we would argue that if you’re going to spend the $9.95 on an instant background check you might as well not do any type of check at all because more than likely, you’ll set yourself up for consequences that could cost you more time and money than you would ever save in the process.
Let’s back up for a minute: Employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment. This includes appropriate due diligence measures in the hiring process to bring in people who are adequately qualified to serve in their assigned role. In doing so, employment background checks play an important role. Background checks can offer concrete information about an individual to help employers make informed predictions about how a person will perform in their organizations.
Importantly, employment screening has proven to offer protection for employers against negligent hiring lawsuits, and while certainly not the only means of gathering information, background screening is often considered among the most objective means of evaluating an applicant’s suitability for entry into your workforce.
Employment screening gone wrong so, what coula possibly go wrong when ordering an instant criminal background check.
First consider this: many employers are presented with the idea that a reliable comprehensive criminal records database actually exist from which “instant” records can be pulled. Such a database does not exist.
Consider what could go wrong if you where to rely on such information:
You could be making critical hiring decisions based on incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated information.
If you use inaccurate or outdated information to make an adverse decision, you could potentially force serious legal action relating to unfair hiring practices.
To further explain, there are 3 major shortcomings of criminal history databases:
The underlying database most frequently used in this type of an instant search are very likely not complete sources of information. The database may not certain information from all jurisdiction; the report may lack of sufficient detail about the actual outcome of the criminal offense or the subject of the offense; some databases only contain felonies or offenses where a state corrections department was involved, thus leaving out many other potentially very serious criminal act; and the database may not reflect the end result of criminal matter.
Lack of name or personal identifying information:
An electronic search filters data from a database that may or may not recognize variations in an individual’s name and may not include references for the maiden name of a female applicant. Data of birth is another filtering mechanism that may not be present and could result in same name records that do not belong to your applicant.