There is no bigger issue for the background screening industry in 2013 than providing accurate employee background checks. This is a paradigm shift because the screening industry has historically provided low quality products and services. Sadly, low quality, cheap, incomplete criminal record checks continue to dominate the volunteer screening market. Organizations placing children and vulnerable populations at risk because they have been convinced by savvy sales reps that you can conduct a quality volunteer background check for under $10.
Sorry, can’t be done.
Well, that is another article.
The focus on speed and cheap background checks has now impacted the entire employment background screening community. I have been preaching against this horrible practice since the day I launched Safe Hiring Solutions. And I will continue to scream and demonstrate that quality volunteer and employee background checks can be done cost effectively.
Here is how the low quality standards that permeate the screening industry have had a negative impact:
- Greater scrutiny from the EEOC. The EEOC 2012-16 strategic plan targets background checks.
- More states passing legislation to restrict the use of criminal background checks.
- Proliferation in media coverage of cases where inaccurate background checks harmed people.
- Lawsuits alleging inaccuracies or not following the FCRA are increasing. The most recent is a case brought by the federal government against a large background screening firm for not following the requirements of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The screening firm settled for $2.6 million in 2012
- Greater risk to organizations because violent offenders are sneaking through the process.
Technology is a wonderful thing. It has contributed to quick and affordable quality background checks. However, no technology can provide an instant background check or a quality background search for $10.
So the key takeaway is accuracy is important. It should be the #1 question you ask. Not “how much does this cost.”
The responsible use of employee background checks is important (i.e. no zero tolerance policies).
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act exists to provide consumer protections. So it is critical that you understand your obligations under the FCRA.
One of the most important organizational decisions you will make is selecting a screening partner who:
- Provides the most accurate information available
- Provides the reports in a timely manner (remember instant is not quality)
- Is committed to the integrity of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Will help you understand your legal obligations
- Will help you navigate the myriad of ever-changing federal, state and local laws
If the don’t, you may find yourself in a legal hot seat.