4 Common Myths about Background Screening

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4 Common Myths about Background Screening

Are you Gambling with your Hiring Process? 

Finding the ideal candidate to fill a position is one of the great accomplishments an HR professional can achieve.  We know that each new hire, we have a 50/50 chance of that person either adding to our company and helping us grow, or taking away from our company and costing us valuable time and resources.  Unfortunately, the hiring process requires a lot more than just luck.  Every hiring manager is looking for that “Ace” and in order to find that perfect individual, a hiring manager’s process list can be long and often includes each of the following:

  • Finalizing the job description
  • Promoting the positions
  • Filtering applications
  • Completing ATS requirements
  • Selecting candidates for interviews
  • Scheduling/carrying out interviews
  • Narrowing the list for the right person

There are times, however, when an important item gets left off the list, background screening.  A thorough background screening program can give an organization the advantage they need to vastly increase the odds of finding that “perfect fit” candidate.  So why do some hiring managers choose to either skip this critical step or not fully utilize the best background checks options?

Let’s look at some of the most common myths surrounding background screening:

Myth #1:  If someone were a problem, I would know.

This is particularly common myth in the small business crowd and it is particularly troubling because statistics show small businesses are hit much harder by poor hiring decisions than larger organizations.  In fact, employee theft leads to the failure of 30 percent of small businesses  Furthermore, due diligence doesn’t end after the hire date, and just because you have been working side by side with someone each day, doesn’t mean that you know what happens in their life after hours.  Depending on an individual’s job position, ongoing criminal record checks, MVR checks and drug screening help to add an additional layer of protection to your workplace.

The truth is: Don’t underestimate someone’s poker face.


Myth #2:   Doing a background check is risky legally; I might get sued.

With Ban the Box legislation increasing and FCRA Class Action lawsuits on the rise, it’s understandable that organizations are feeling a little jittery about their background screening processes.  The fact is that just because these types of lawsuits have gone up in recent years, doesn’t mean that negligence lawsuits have gone away.  The U.S. Department of Labor states that roughly 2 million American workers report workplace violence each year.  They best way for an organization to stay out of the courtroom is to develop a legally compliant program.  Fortunately the task is not as daunting as it seems.  To ensure that you stay compliant, ask your Background Screening Partner if they have an in house Compliance Department and whether or not they offer additional automated adverse action services to help protect your organization.

The truth: You can’t avoid the hassles of legislation, but partnering with the right Background Screening Company makes it a lot easier to play the hand your dealt.


Myth #3:  Background checks are too expensive for my organization.

Bad hires can cost employers much more than company morale and team productivity. A CareerBuilder.com survey states that nearly one-in-four employers reported a bad hire cost them more than $50,000.  Bad hires can lead to increased costs associated with recruiting and training, lower productivity and morale amongst current team members, and additional overtime/temporary worker costs. ( The Staggering Cost of a Bad Hire Infographic.)

Curious to find out how much bad hires are costing you? Use this handy Bad Hire Calculator to estimate the cost  of a bad hire. These bad hire’s hide between the balance sheets line items and can be a silent killer to bottom line.

The truth: The payoff for a good hire exceeds the cost of a background check


Myth #4: I run a national criminal check on all of my applicants, that gives me all the information I need instantly.

We all know that if something is instant and cheap, it is probably not high quality.  Unfortunately, many organizations still opt for the fastest, cheapest background screening option.  Let me tell you why that doesn’t work.  First of all, there is no such thing as a comprehensive nationwide criminal search.  National criminal database searches can be a very useful tool as a part of a criminal record check process; however they should never be used alone.  Databases are only as good as the information that is provided to them.  There are occasions where database information may be incomplete or outdated, adding additional searches such as a county criminal record check, helps to ensure that you are getting complete information.

Make sure you hedge your bets, a good background check is not instant nor is it one dimensional.  If you want a better candidate, expand your search.


By performing a due diligent background screening on your candidate, you are able to paint a picture of your candidate’s characteristics beyond resume and the ATS grading scale.   A thorough background check program delivers a higher quality candidate, that’s a sure win for your organization.

Hope you hit the jackpot with your next hire!

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