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Majority of employers background check employees … Here’s why

Ever wonder why companies often take so long in deciding which candidate to hire for a particular position? Consider this: According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 75 percent of employers said they have hired the wrong person for a position, and of those who had a bad hire affect their business in the last year, one bad hire costs them nearly $17,000 on average.

To prevent this, the majority of employers (72 percent) background check every new employee before they're hired. Those who do background check are analyzing these aspects:

  • Criminal background: 82 percent
  • Confirm employment: 62 percent
  • Confirm identity: 60 percent
  • Confirm education: 50 percent
  • Check for illegal drug use: 44 percent
  • Check licensing: 38 percent
  • Credit check: 29 percent

This means prospective employers have access to a treasure trove of personal information, online and offline, which may factor into their hiring decisions.

What does this mean for applicants?

Here are a few things you should know:

  • Unless the employer is asking for medical or genetic information, it's not illegal to ask you questions about your background, or to require a background check.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that a person cannot be denied employment based on a criminal record alone. Instead, the decision to hire or not must be based on a "business necessity," which requires the employer to consider: the nature and gravity of the offense or offenses; the time that has passed since the conviction and or completion of the sentence; the nature of the job held or sought.
  • Some states specifically prohibit the use of pre-employment credit checks unless the employer can prove its relevance to the job. Applicants turned down for a job on the basis of a credit check are entitled to a copy of the credit report used in the decision, in addition to an explanation of the right to challenge it.
  • If the employer thinks it might not hire or retain you because of something in the report, they must give you a copy of the report and a "notice of rights" that tells you how to contact the company that made the report. This gives you the opportunity to make sure you don't miss out on a job because of an error in the background report.
  • If there is something negative in your background, be prepared to explain it and why it shouldn't affect your ability to do the job.

Overall, a background check not only helps to protect the company, its employees, and customers, but also ensures that the prospective employee is who she says she is. Quality job seekers understand this need and comply. The key to dealing with background check challenges is to be proactive rather than allowing the background check to derail your efforts to land the job you want, or worse, to catch you off guard and completely unaware.

Ben Goldberg is the Chief Executive Officer of Aurico. Ben owned a payroll, HRIS and HR consulting company prior to joining the executive team at Aurico. He spent ten years in senior management with a Fortune 50 company expanding the international sales division. He holds an MBA from Colorado State University. He is FCRA certified through the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) and is a licensed private investigator.

Check out: 4 things to watch out for in an employment contract.