Do You Know What Employers Are Looking for with a Background Check?

We’ve all been there before. You think you’re a shoo-in for this incredible job opportunity or you finally get a call back after sending out so many resumes trying to get your foot in the door with a new career. You make an amazing impression at the first meeting with management, score well on all the aptitude tests and then, they ask you to submit to a background test.

For many people, this can be the roadblock that’s kept them from getting the job of their dreams. Maybe you never call back because you’re worried that one ticket is going to disqualify you for the position or you’re not sure what the background check will stir up.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to not only understand what employers are looking for when they ask for this but also to know your rights with employment background checks.

Many businesses have come under legal action due to improper, outdated or even incomplete information about prospective employers being used in their job consideration.

Here are a few of the main things potential employers will look into when they conduct a background check on you.

– Your credit history. This will provide them with information to show if you are in financial distress or if there’s a risk of theft or fraud for the company by hiring you.

– Your criminal history. Information about your past offenses from thefts or crime give employers a fair insight into hiring someone who could present a threat to the workplace or public.

Your driving record. Checking up on things such as your accident history, any speeding tickets or even violations or DUIs could show your responsibility or risk before choosing to hire you.

Here are some of the laws you should understand if you feel a background check was used improperly by an employer.

– The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that requires employers to be open and fair about the information they’ll be collecting about you. If you request a copy of any reports used in your hiring decisions they must be provided to you.

– It’s illegal for employers to check on an applicant’s background based their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, or age (40+).


Are you a business’s wanting to conduct compliant background checks to screen potential new hires? DataCheck can help!  Work with a professional company that can screen your potential employees with a thorough background check and prevents negligent hiring lawsuits as well as a safer work environment.

 

Adverse Action Compliance Is Trickier Than It Seems

Most companies today are familiar with adverse action notices, or notices that inform an applicant that he or she is being denied employment based on criteria such as criminal history or bad credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates how employers can use the results of background investigation in hiring, promotion, suspension or termination. Non-compliance can expose an employer to potential civil litigation.

At the same time, more employers are turning to credit checking and denying applicants based on the information. With the job market in favor of employers rather than employees today, companies are becoming choosier about who they hire, so they’re invoking adverse action more often.

What Does the FCRA Say About Adverse Actions?

Under the terms of the FCRA, “adverse action” is defined as “a denial of employment or any other decision for employment purposes based in whole or in part on a consumer report that adversely affects any current or prospective employee.” Before employers can deny an applicant employment, they must observe several rules:

They must provide the applicant with a copy of the report and a summary of his or her rights under the FCRA before taking any adverse action based on the report;

After issuing the adverse action notice, the employer must provide the applicant with the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that furnished the report and inform the applicant of his or her right to obtain a free copy of the report from the reporting agency within 60 days.

How Do Employers Remain Compliant?

Many employers simply don’t understand the rules laid down by the FCRA, or they feel intimidated by the many gray areas that are undefined by the language of the rules (how much time they have to issue adverse action reports, for example, or to follow up after the applicant is rejected). They also may not understand what obligations they have or actions they need to take if applicants file appeals to adverse action notices. There are also rules to ensure that employers don’t misuse any information in the report in violation of federal or state equal employment opportunity laws.

Third-party pre-employment screening helps employers understand what their obligations are under the FCRA. There are stiff legal consequences for employers who fail to get an applicant’s permission before requesting a consumer report, for example, or who fail to provide pre-adverse action disclosures and adverse action notices to unsuccessful job applicants. The FCRA allows individuals to sue employers for damages in federal court. It’s worthwhile, therefore, to consult with a professional organization that understands all the implications of the FCRA.

Get in touch with DataCheck today!

Could a Bad Credit Report Keep You from Your Dream Job?

So you’ve found your dream job, completed the interview process and now seem a shoo-in for the position. But there’s one more hurdle to clear: the company wants to conduct a credit check on you before they offer you the position. Is it possible those missed car payments from two years ago are going to prevent you from getting the job?

The answer is, “maybe.” While potential employers can’t see your credit score or account numbers, the inquiry allows them to see some of your financial information, provided the disclosure doesn’t violate equal employment regulations.

Why Are Employers Looking at My Credit?

Initially, it might seem unfair or even outrageous that employers want to conduct a credit check. For starters, not all companies do a check. A survey of human resources professionals conducted by HR.com and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners found that only about 25 percent of employers do credit checks, typically for jobs that involve handling money.

If you’re applying for a position that will require you to see customer bank accounts or credit cards, for example, a company might wish to know if you’ve got a handle on your own finances. Additionally, employees who are deeply in debt might be more likely to steal or mismanage their employer’s funds.

What Information Are Employers Seeking, and From Where?

While some employers might be approaching the three credit agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – directly, others might be using a third-party screening tool to seek out your credit history, including your paying habits and any judgments, liens or bankruptcies. They may also be looking for previous addresses, prior employment information, aliases used and any variations in your social security number.

This information is useful in determining financial responsibility, money management, and the possibility of wage garnishment by state or federal tax authorities. This check before employment won’t affect your credit score the way applying for a new credit card might, and companies are engaging in these credit checks to protect themselves from financial risk.

What Are My Rights?

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an employer must notify you if it intends to do a pre-employment credit check and must get your permission in writing. The notification needs to be in clear and direct language and can’t be cloaked in “fine print.” Some states have laws that limit or prohibit pre-employment credit checks. (Employment law website NOLO has compiled a list of those states and their statutes here.)

You can, of course, refuse to give permission for the credit check, but this could lead to a company rescinding a job offer. HR professionals advise would-be employees with less-than-stellar credit to proactively explain the reasons why to the person making the hiring decision. By volunteering the information up front, you may be able to reduce the impression that you’ve got something to hide.

If you’re an employer in need of pre-employment screening services, rely on DataCheck to the information you need.

Why Lenders Should Conduct Background Checks on Mortgage Applicants

Owning a home is a dream for many adults all over the United States. Most people take out a loan in order to be able to afford the type of home they want. In addition to filling out a stack of paperwork, lenders generally require a background check to make sure they are loaning money to qualified and truthful applicants. A background check can help the lending institution decide whether or not to approve a loan and also what the interest rate will be.

The type of background check depends on the type of loan being sought. Someone applying for a jumbo loan will have to undergo a more rigorous screening process than someone applying for a smaller loan or one backed by the government.

What Do Lenders Look for in a Background Check?

One of the most important components of a background check for a mortgage is a check of the applicant’s credit history. Lenders want to make sure that their customers have a history of paying their bills on time and are not overwhelmed with debt. A lender will consider an applicant’s credit score, number and type of open accounts, and history of making payments on time. Lenders have strict requirements for minimum credit scores to get loans. An applicant’s approval and interest rate will be directly tied to a credit history check.

A lender also wants to make sure a mortgage applicant is employed and will be able to make payments on time. A bank, credit union, or loan company will verify an applicant’s employment, income, and tax return to make sure the person’s job and income match what was reported in the mortgage application.

A lender needs to verify a mortgage applicant’s identity. This is necessary to protect the lender from making a loan to someone who is committing fraud. It is also required by federal law to avoid inadvertently loaning money to criminals or terrorists. A mortgage applicant’s identity can be verified through a driver’s license and Social Security number verification.

DataCheck Can Help with Background Checks for Mortgage Applicants

Conducting background checks is essential before loaning money to homebuyers. Financial institutions want to know that applicants are who they say they are and that they are financially responsible and able to repay their debts.

DataCheck has helped businesses of all kinds conduct background checks. We can help your lending institution verify mortgage applicants’ identities, employment, and income so you can make informed decisions and only loan money to qualified buyers. Contact DataCheck today to get help with background checks for mortgage applicants.

Why You Should Conduct a Background Check before Hiring a Caregiver for an Elderly Family Member

As the American population gets older and more and more people enter retirement, families are concerned about caring for their loved ones. Many senior citizens want to continue living in their homes instead of moving to an assisted living facility or a nursing home. If family members are unable to provide care as often as it is needed, they may hire in-home help to care for their aging parents.

Why You Should Conduct a Background Check

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect, and they may be unable to effectively communicate about what is going on when family members are not around. Seniors can be victims of physical or sexual abuse, financial abuse or manipulation, or verbal abuse or threats. They may also be neglected by the people who are supposed to care for them.

If you are thinking about hiring a caregiver for your elderly parent and you would rather hire someone privately than go through an agency, you should conduct a background check before you extend an offer of employment. A background check on a prospective in-home caregiver should include several components.

What Should Be Included in a Background Check?

A thorough background check should include a review of criminal record databases in all states and counties where the applicant has lived to look for any history of violence, theft, or other criminal activity. It should include a verification of education, including any certifications listed on a resume, as well as previous employment. References should be verified to make sure the person actually did the work listed on a resume and to find out the circumstances under which the applicant’s employment ended.

If the caregiver will be driving your family member, the background check should include a check of the applicant’s driving records. You should also check a job applicant’s credit because someone with financial problems may be more likely to steal from an elderly person in his or her care. Using illegal drugs could put your family member at risk, so a background check should include drug testing.

DataCheck Can Help You Conduct a Background Check

DataCheck can help you conduct a pre-employment background check on someone you are thinking of hiring to care for your elderly parent. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in the care of someone who is responsible and reliable and will not put your family member in harm’s way. If you would like to conduct a background check on a potential caregiver for your parent, contact DataCheck today.