Important Information on Pre-employment Screening That Will Save you Time and Money.

Updated: December 22, 2010

Employers typically engage in pre-employment screening to:

  • Discourage applicants with something to hide such as a criminal history or violent civil record.
  • Discourages applicants from falsifying their personal information or credentials.
  • Demonstrate due diligence. Employers have a duty to take reasonable steps in the hiring process to determine if the applicant is fit for a particular job.
  • Eliminate uncertainty in the hiring process. Hard information and facts are vital to hire the right person.
  • Save money. The cost of a pre-employment screening is far less that the cost to train and equip a new employee only to find that he/she is not right for the job. It is certainly less than the cost to litigate a negligent hiring or retention suit.
  • Increase productivity. Employees who feel secure in the work place tend to be more productive.

It is important to note that pre-employment screening is not an invasion of a person's privacy or civil rights when done properly and with in the confines of the Fair Credit Reporting (FCRA), the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), and Health Information Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA)

Should your business conduct the pre-employment screening in-house or outsource, and if the decision to outsource is made, how do you find the right source? First let's look at the problems of in-house. Once upon a time, a few phone calls were enough to complete the hiring process, but no more. Hiring has become a specialized field requiring resources and knowledge. Firms risk legal liability if the procedures utilized to gather data on the applicant infringe on legally protected civil rights and privacy. Another draw back is a great deal of time and energy, which equates to money, must be spent to learn the laws and to keep current. On your own, you do not have access to FCRA and DPPA databases to conduct the criminal background check. Let me say, there are dozens of web sites on the Internet that claim to do background checks, and the only requirement is a credit card. The problem is these sites may not be compliant and the information tends to be inaccurate or incomplete. More time and energy must be spent contacting current and past employers, references, and education institutions often being frustrated by the game of phone tag. What is the solution? Outsource to a licensed private investigator who specializes in pre-employment screening thus is a consumer reporting agency (CRA)

Forget the persona of the typical PI as seen of television. In reality we are held to a higher standard set by the laws of the state where we hold our license. We are aware that violation of these laws will result in the loss of our license. The fact that we are a CRA means we have met all legal requirements, and have the necessary release and information forms required by the FCRA. As a licensed professional, we have access to FCRA and DPPA approved database to verify the personal information and conduct a criminal and civil record search. Frequently just the database search is not enough. The private investigator is aware of this and knows how to search court records to verify the information. Just what is that information, what records are searched, what should you look for?

The completed file should contain:

  • Verification of personal information such as name, date of birth, and social security number.
  • Nationwide criminal and registered sex offender.
  • Civil records.
  • Professional license
  • Driving record
  • Military status ( if applicable)
  • Results from contacting current or past employers and references.
  • Financial information.

Once the screening is complete, the investigator will put the findings in a report that you can easily understand to make an informed hiring decision. If you decide not to hire this person, your investigator should have a Notice of Adverse Action form explaining the applicants rights.

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