Background checks are performed for a variety of reasons by a variety of different types of people, from corporate managers to nervous parents hiring a new nanny. Usually, people conduct criminal background checks before making a hiring decision, while certain loans or jobs require a credit background check as well. Of course, a thorough background check isn’t free, which leaves many people wondering whether it is really necessary to run a search at all.
If you’re on the fence about conducting a background check, consider this: fully 70% of college students said they would lie to get a job, while an estimated 53% of resumes contain false information.
Still not convinced? Here are some frequently asked questions about the pros and cons of background checks:
How many companies run criminal background checks on applicants?
A 2012 study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 69% of organizations run criminal background checks on all job candidates. What’s more, one in two organizations said they ran background checks to both ensure a safe work environment and reduce their legal liability for negligent hiring.
What kind of information do criminal checks reveal?
A background check will usually show any charges or convictions for misdemeanor or felony crimes. Even cases that have been expunged or dismissed can appear in checks for many years, although convictions should always appear during a check.
What are the most common crimes employers find in background checks?
According to the 2012 SHRM study, the “top two convictions that are very influential in the decision not to extend a job offer are violent felonies (96%) and nonviolent felonies (74%),” although DUI and drug charges aren’t uncommon either.
What does “at will state” mean for employers?
In an “at will” state like Georgia, employers can choose not to hire—or fire—someone for no reason. So if you’re an employer in Atlanta and you see something on a background check that gives you pause, you have the right not to hire that individual.
That is just one reason we encourage people to hire experienced criminal defense attorneys after an arrest. Our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers know that a conviction could follow a person for the rest of their lives.
What happens if someone fails a background check?
There are certain no-brainer situations for employers, like an accountant with a conviction for fraud and embezzlement, or a pre-school teaching applicant with sex offender status. However, ultimately employers decide who “passes” and “fails” a background check.
It is important to remember that many employers do not have a zero tolerance policy, and often give applicants a chance to explain any information that appears during an investigation into their history.
Can I—as an employer—be held responsible for negligent hiring?
If you run a trucking company and you accidentally hire a driver with multiple DUI convictions, then yes, you could be legally responsible for negligent hiring in certain situations.
Are there situations when I shouldn’t do a background check?
According to the employment firm the Omnia Group, absolutely: “It’s unfortunate that in certain situations, especially those involving high-profile positions being filled by well-known industry insiders, it’s considered impolite and almost a breach of trust to conduct a background check.”
There are a number of reasons that criminal background checks have become a valuable resource, but ultimately that decision is up to the employer or individual.
If you have any further questions about background checks or criminal defense law, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Pak and McRae Law, LLC today.