Risks and benefits of pre- and post-offer screenings
Background screenings reveal critical information about a candidate's ability to perform a job. There are benefits and risks for organizations to consider when conducting either a pre- or post-offer background check.
Carrying out a background check after a job offer is a valuable money-saver, particularly for organizations with a high turnover rate. The cost of screening several candidates for the same job opening adds up quickly, as many people may apply for the same position.
Post-offer screenings can also save on multiple rounds of paperwork. Should a report contain a negative finding, businesses must follow Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements and allow the applicant an opportunity to dispute the findings uncovered in the background check.
Postponing a background check until after a job offer has its disadvantages. For example, a negative report on a top candidate may mean restarting the entire hiring process with the next applicant in line. If a negative report causes a business to withdraw an offer to an individual who already gave notice to their employer, then you've created a possibly stressful situation for that person.
What about pre-offer?
Performing a background check prior to a job offer cuts down the time between the actual job offer and employee start date, as screenings are ongoing while an organization compares candidates. While it may cost more initially to order background checks for multiple applicants, companies will save in the long-term should their principal pick for a position not pan out.
Employers should be aware of the legal risks of pre-offer background checks. Background screenings can disclose protected information not found on a job application, including a candidate's age, sex and race. Running a background check before denying someone a job offer could be deemed as discriminatory if an individual believes they were declined due to their race, religion or political affiliation.
However, employers can avoid this potential problem by having their background screening partner collect pertinent information directly from the applicant to initiate the background check.
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