Preparing Your Candidate for the Background Check

June 25, 2021
Preparing the Candidate for the Background Check

Background checks can be intimidating, despite the fact that for the vast majority of candidates will move through the process in a matter of hours or at most, days. Many companies kickoff the process in a way that makes the candidate feel like the company is “trying to find something,” instead of simply protecting the business from risk. Read on to learn how and email or phone call preparing your candidate can help the process go more smoothly, and quickly, for both your recruiter and your candidate.

  • Explain why you’re doing a background check and provide the proper consent and disclosure documents

Even though it seems obvious to you, your candidate may not know what the purpose of a background check is, even if he or she knows it’s a common practice.

Inform him or her that you’re performing a background check to identify any elements of the candidate’s background that could put the business, or any of its employees, customers, or assets at risk. Reassure them that the process will be confidential and conducted by a professional screening company.

Provide the candidate with the FCRA required consent, making sure it’s a separate document, as well as a copy of the disclosure form.

  • Let them know what is going to happen and how to prepare

Some companies believe keeping what searches are being performed a secret can prevent the candidate from “cheating.” While hypothetically possible, you’d be making a process more difficult for the majority of candidates that have nothing to hide.

Letting the candidate know the general searches that will be performed will help them gather the data needed to make the process go smoothly. For example informing the candidate that you’ll be reviewing education and employment history can give them a chance to find the contact names at a former company that may be required.

  • Keep the candidate informed

Sometimes during the process, the screening company requires a little more information to proceed. Many screening companies will reach out directly to the candidate or provide an online or mobile portal for real-time updates. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to keep your candidate up-to-date on new requests such as for proof of employment or any delays that may have occurred due to court closures, holidays or other reasons.

  • Follow the laws

Being 100% compliant with federal, state, and local laws will help you in the eyes of the candidate. Starting with the early disclosures, and any other specific requirements for your job application (such as ban the box rules) and interview processes can reassure the candidate that your process is well managed

  • Be human

Remember that even if there’s something found in the background report, there’s a chance it’s a mistake, or explainable. It’s not just that the law generally requires you to provide pre-adverse and adverse action proceedings, and to take an individualized approach to reviewing the situation. During those steps, treat the candidate with respect and honesty, and not like a criminal. Even if you do decide to finally take adverse action, this was a person you intended to hire, so make sure the experience was as smooth as possible no matter what to generate good will for the future, and with other potential candidates.


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