Question: Why must I have the candidate’s permission to do pre-employment screening? The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates that certain forms and procedures be followed in order to preserve the rights and privacy of applicants. The FCRA governs pre-employment screening and violations of this act can have serious legal ramifications. In this situation, the FCRA was designed to protect the individual consumer and his/her privacy. The Act defines permissible purposes, how the information is handled, what procedures and documentation must be followed, and even defines the procedures for when an applicant is denied a job based on the results. There is a great deal more to know about the FCRA and we recommend all HR personnel be aware of the impact this act has on your employment decisions.

Question: If I do not intend to hire an candidate, do I have an obligation to that individual? It all depends on why you are not hiring them. If the background search revealed information that caused this adverse action, then you are required by the FCRA to notify the candidate of your intent not to hire them and then follow the procedures spelled out in the act.

Question: What is an instant criminal search? An instant criminal search is one that accesses a database which is comprised of data provided by various county, state, and federal agencies. It is important to note that the data may not be current due to the lag between the time a suspect is charged or a case has been concluded and the time the data is actually reported to county, state, and federal agencies. Due to these inherent delays, SureHire 360 recommends performing a real time search at the county level, in addition to the instant search, to ensure that the data collected and reported is complete and up-to-date.

Question: How many criminal history searches should I do on any one individual to be sure I have done my due diligence? There is no set limit. At the very least, determine where the applicant has lived and worked in the last 7 years and make this the basis for your searches. Also, be sure and search using all the names that they have used. If someone has a record, they may very well move to get a fresh start in a state or county where they have no records, so don’t limit your search to where they have lived the longest or most recently.