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Employment Background Checks

It’s been awhile since our last weekly wrap up, and we’ve posted quite a few stories on our blog the past couple of weeks. If you’ve been out of the loop, now is a great time to get plugged back in, and I’ll give you a jump start with four of our latest blogs.

Ban the Box Has Jumped the Shark- It’s Getting Ugly Employers

The talent management community needs to push back.  Employers can’t just sit back anymore and think that these background screening laws are benign. Read More

Integrating the Candidate Experience & Saving Time

Wondering about the benefits of integrating your background screening program with your ATS or is there something you can do better? Watch our video to learn more. Read More

Is Your Background Screening Program Missing a Piece of the Puzzle?

Is your company using resume verification in its background screening program? If not, your hiring decisions could come back to haunt you someday. Read More

San Francisco “Ban the Box” Effective on August 13, 2014

Employers beware: you will need to do a lot more than just take the check box off of the application. Removing the box is not enough. Read More



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Ban the Box- Criminal Background Checks

If you are in the talent management space, you know that there has been an explosion of “Ban the Box” laws that have popped up at the federal, state and local levels over the last few years.  These employment and labor laws generally prohibit employers from asking whether a job candidate has been convicted of criminal activity on the job application.  Sometimes, these laws only affect government workers, but more often they include private sector employers as well.

If you conduct employment background checks, you’ll want to read on to see why it’s time to take a harder stance on “ban the box”. [...]

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Background Check Delays

I think we can all agree that no one loves waiting for their employment background checks to be completed, especially when there are delays. It can throw a log jam into your hiring process, potentially delay your start dates and even spook your candidates. And nobody wants that to happen.

The natural tendency is to blame the background screening company, right? Surely, they’re too busy otherwise the work would be completed. That might be true with some providers, but for those of us that focus on delivering the most comprehensive and compliant background checks, these delays can be par for the course. In our case, volume has little to nothing to do with delays. For us, the two biggest contributors to delayed employee background checks is authenticating and confirming a criminal record and if a court mandates that a criminal record search can only be performed by one of their clerks.

Having said that, I wanted to share a story that one of our clients told us this past week at the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference. If you’re feeling the heat over delayed background checks, you should keep reading. [...]

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Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance, candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records and how they address adverse findings.

In the past few years, the EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from an assortment of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to learn about what their industry peers are doing.

Today, we’d like to analyze how employers are adapting to the 2012 EEOC guidance on employers’ use of criminal background checks. [...]

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Background Checks in Education

Nearly every week another news story pops up related to background checks in schools—particularly related to the need for improvement. While background checks in the education industry are standardized by state, the question is not whether or not background checks are in place, but rather how comprehensive they are.

Although each state has its own requirements for school background checks, there’s a false sense of security that comes with them. Many states require academic institutions—from preschools to universities (both public and private)—to only conduct a statewide or fingerprint background check. Because of this, many schools are making hiring decisions based on less-than-accurate results. [...]

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Airport Background Checks

It can be an uncomfortable feeling—laying down all of your personal items, removing items like belts and shoes, all to go through a scanner where a TSA agent will undoubtedly see all. And if that isn’t intimate enough, often we must walk through the full body scanner, where once again, a complete stranger can literally see it all. However, most of us shrug off these moments of vulnerability, because of course—it’s for our safety.

But even if you and your luggage make it through security unscathed, there’s still a chance someone else could be rummaging through your bag later. And hearing a story like this one might make you uncomfortable the next time you check baggage. While there have been headlines of TSA agents stealing from passenger’s luggage, in this instance, the luggage was out of the passenger’s hands and behind the scenes. [...]

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Trends Cover

Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance, candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records and how they address adverse findings.

In the past few years, the EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from an assortment of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to learn about what their industry peers are doing.

Today, we’d like to analyze one of our top findings: What Types of Conviction Records Might Disqualify a Candidate From Employment? [...]

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Rescreening Employees

Before hiring a candidate, you order an employment background check. Let’s say the results come back clean in every area—criminal background, resume verification, and drug screening. Your candidate also meets the requirements and skills needed for the position, so you decide to move forward. Now the question is…is a one-time background check enough? Maybe, maybe not.

You make a hiring decision based on the information you have at the time of hire, and as I’m sure you already know—people and circumstances change over time. That being said, it’s important to maintain a safe work environment by not only screening new employees, but current ones as well.

3 Reasons to Re-Screen Employees

[...]

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Compliance Criminal Background Check

To hire, or not to hire…that is indeed the question. Employers review qualifications, skills, and typically, the results of an employment background check to determine if a candidate is not only eligible for a position, but if they would be a good fit for the company.

For most companies, it goes without saying that you should conduct employment background checks to verify education and employment, confirm credentials, and search criminal history. However, when the background check results come in and a criminal record is found on your candidate’s background check—what steps should you take?

Our new guide, Keep It Legal: 5 Steps to Compliance When Your Candidate Has a Criminal Record, will help you to develop a policy designed to improve your hiring practices and keep legal peril at bay.

Download the article to learn more about:

  • EEOC and FCRA regulations and other legal considerations
  • Developing a hiring matrix with consistent guidelines
  • Navigating the ins and outs of individualized assessments
  • The two-step adverse action process
  • Handling candidates who dispute background check results





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Employment Background Checks in Illinois

I have a confession to make: I hate Chicago-style pizza and I don’t get Illinoisans fascination with it. I mean come on! It’s like a slab of concrete. And what’s with the sauce on top of the cheese? Really?

So maybe we don’t know pizza, but the state of Illinois has it going on when it comes to employment background checks. Unlike its border state Michigan, there are very few obstacles to conducting criminal background checks. There are no counties that mandate clerk research, and court access fees are few, inexpensive, and far between. So whether you’re in Chicago, Springfield, Aurora, Naperville, Waukegan, Peoria, Champagne–Urbana or Rockford–that equals lower background check costs and faster turnaround time for employers.

County Criminal Searches

There are 102 counties in the state and criminal records are available each county’s circuit court. It’s no surprise that the most frequently requested counties for research are the counties that encompass the Chicago-land area: Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Will and McHenry.

While Illinois has a state repository for criminal records, individual counties are not mandated to report all convictions. There also isn’t a unified mandate for frequency of reporting among the counties. The repository has a vast number of arrest records and because there is no standard for reporting identifiers, confirming possible records can be time consuming and cumbersome. However, as with any other state, the best practice for background checks is to conduct research at the county level.

Illinois-Specific Sentencing Guidelines

Like every state, Illinois has some interesting sentencing guidelines. In addition to guilty or not guilty, judges have the option to impose “Supervision”. In essence, Supervision means that the person was found or pled guilty, however the judge will assign a fixed time period in which the individual must meet specific criteria. If the individual successfully completes their Supervision criteria, the conviction is wiped away. During this time and upon successful completion, employers cannot treat the record as a conviction.

Consumer Laws and Regulations

There are no pre-emptions to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, so everything is straight forward there–standard release forms and consumer notification responsibilities apply.  Background screening companies must have an Illinois private investigation license to perform work in the state.

Employment Credit Checks Restrictions

The state of Illinois does impose restrictions on employers’ ability to conduct credit checks on prospective employees, however, there are reasonable exemptions for those that really need this information. See below.

  • State or federal law requires bonding or other security covering an individual holding the position.
  • The duties of the position include custody of or unsupervised access to cash or marketable assets valued at $2,500 or more.
  • The duties of the position include signatory power over business assets of $100 or more per transaction.
  • The position is a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of the business. (5) The position involves access to personal or confidential information, financial information, trade secrets, or State or national security information.
  • The position meets criteria in administrative rules, if any, that the U.S. Department of Labor or the Illinois Department of Labor has promulgated to establish the circumstances in which a credit history is a bona fide occupational requirement.
  • The employee’s or applicant’s credit history is otherwise required by or exempt under federal or State law.

And you want to talk about swift criminal justice? The last two Illinois governors are convicted felons. But don’t despair. The state still has its beloved 1985 Bears, Iron Mike Ditka, Da Bulls, the Chicawgo Blackhawks, Hot Dawgs and Brats and the perennial cellar-dweller Chicago Cubs. So employers, between this and employer-friendly background checks, what more could you ask for?



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