3 Reasons to Conduct Background Checks Post-Offer
Conducting background checks can reveal key information about employees that strongly indicates how they may perform on the job. However, the timing of when to take this step isn't always clear. While most companies wait until making a contingent offer, others perform background checks even before extending an invitation to join the business. While the former route admittedly may mean letting someone go before they begin, acting too early comes with its own negative consequences. Here is why many organizations wait post-offer to conduct background checks:
As The National Law Review explained, most companies have made it policy to wait until after offering a job to perform background checks. Going against this rule could spark legal issues. If employers conduct background checks on all applicants before an offer is made and filter out their candidates because of the results, this can be viewed as discrimination. This takes away from candidates chances even if they have the proper qualifications for the desired position.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal for companies to decide to conduct a background check based on a candidate's age, race, sex, color, family medical history, national origin, disability or religion. If an employer conducts an early background check on a candidate when the company typically waits until later, what happens when that person doesn't get the job? The individual might cite discrimination because he or she was singled out for an unclear reason.
Generally speaking, conducting background checks is a cost-effective strategy, as it prevents businesses from investing in an employee who is unfit for the job. However, performing this step pre-offer does not have the same budget benefits and can actually serve as a financial setback. There is no way to plan for cost if companies screen every applicant because there is no telling how many people will apply for the position. Businesses can save this step for the final two or three candidate, but this is still more costly than waiting until having a single person for the job.
As previously mentioned, breaking policy can set businesses up for potential discrimination cases, but that is only one of many ways pre-offer background checks spell legal trouble. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, while gaining information from a person's criminal record may help determine if they are fit for a job, background checks can reveal other information that you cannot legally take into consideration when making a hiring decision.
For example, background checks can disclose age, sex and race, which employers are often better off not knowing until post-offer. Otherwise, there is potential for a candidate to argue that he or she didn't get the job based on that personal information.
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