Is salary history part of your screening process

Do you as an employer ask for salary history as part of your hiring process? If so, do you use that information to make your decision on whether or not to hire someone? It seems like such a small detail, but could bring problems for an employer depending on how such information is gathered and used.

Asking for salary history is well within an employer’s legal rights, and most job applicants are happy to provide such information. If you are using a third party employment screening service to gather such information, however, you must have written pre-approval by the applicant. And if the figures you find come into play when deciding not to hire that person, you are required to let them know, as according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act they have a legal right to explain or correct any errors or information you’ve found.

While a job applicant is not required to share salary history, some employers have found that asking for it ends up serving as one way to judge character, because lying about one’s salary history is an easy one to catch.

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Know when to disclose background check policy to potential hires

When should you bring up the background check process?  When you make initial contact with a job applicant? After you have a successful interview? If you do it too soon will you appear to be distrusting and defensive, turning off potentially great employees? If you do it too late will you have wasted precious time considering someone whose background poses too many risks for your company to take?

Background checks are clearly a good business decision, but you need to know how and when to disclose and initiate them, as well as when and how to show the results. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that an employer must notify an applicant or employee in writing and get written authorization before any pre-employment screening is done.

Other regulations vary from state to state, so make sure you review your company’s policy with a lawyer and follow the letter of the law when it comes to best practices, to avoid any discrimination suits brought on by applicants who were turned down for a job after a background check.

Above all, be open and honest about your policy and the process, and make sure each applicant is given the opportunity to dispute and/or discuss the background check findings before a decision about their employment is made.

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FTC warns background check mobile apps makers they must comply with FCRA

With the ever-increasing trend of conducting background checks on job applicants, there has been a glut of new employment screening services and mobile apps that advertise the ability to quickly and inexpensively produce a criminal record on your would-be employee, blind date or new nanny. But one thing we’ve known in the industry for years is that there are no short cuts to proper pre-employment screening. Now the Federal Trade Commission is demonstrating their agreement, issuing letters to the makers of six such mobile applications, warning them that the apps must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FTC warned the apps marketers that if they believe the background reports they provide are being used for employment screening, housing, credit, or other similar purposes, they must comply with the FCRA.

Some of the apps include criminal record histories, which could be used in employment and tenant screening. According to the letters, the agency has made no determination whether the companies are violating the FCRA, but encourages them to review their apps and their policies and procedures to be sure they comply with the law.

Don’t trust your business to any mobile app created by anyone other than a trusted employment screening service provider. The last thing an employer needs is to be inadvertently accused of wrongdoing, when they were just trying to do the right thing.


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Is the Use of a Credit Check Always Legal?

More and more employers are choosing to use credit checks on employees as part of their pre-employment screening process. The thought is that looking at a person’s credit report is a pretty good indicator of whether that person is fiscally responsible and, therefore, possesses at least some of the traits that make up a good solid employee.

But it’s important for an employer to tread lightly and be careful in regards to credit checks, as some laws regarding the use of credit checks are different from state to state. For instance, some states, including Oregon and Washington, only allow an employer to use a credit check on an employee if it’s truly applicable to the job, such as an accounting position. If you want to use a credit check on someone applying for a position in, say, sales or marketing, then a credit check would be illegal. And according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you always have to ask an applicant’s permission to run a credit check.

Credit checks can be a great resource to use when deciding who is right for a particular job. But keep in mind that laws are being changed and fine-tuned regarding their use in the private sector. Some state lawmakers and in Congress are mulling over bills that would limit the usage of credit checks for employers. So keep up on the laws that apply to your business in your state, and make sure the employment screening service you hire is on top of things too.

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Follow Protocol to Avoid Mistakes in Background Check Process

There’s a reason the Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the way employers use professional third-party background check companies, and that’s to ensure everyone is treated fairly and mistakes aren’t made. Consider the 53-year-old man in Michigan who recently was stripped of his new job because of a felony conviction found in the background check process — a conviction that belonged to another man with the same name.

The man who lost his new job has now filed several federal lawsuits, including one against the background check company that allegedly compiled the report. He claims the background check company didn’t follow FCRA regulations when handling his background report.

It’s not uncommon for is why FCRA regulations must be strictly adhered to, to make sure an applicant is informed of the background check is being done, and is notified if something is found on the report that could have a negative impact on the applicant’s chances for the job. Then the applicant should be given the chance to dispute errors in the background check, although the employer is not required to hold the job open during that process.

Besides being sure to follow proper protocol during the background check process, do some quality research to make sure you’ve hired a reputable, accredited background check firm that has checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy in its reports.

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Use Credit Reports Wisely and Legally When Vetting Applicants

There has been much controversy and buzz surrounding the use of credit reports during the process of conducting background checks for potential hires. Many job applicants are confused about what exactly their credit history has to do with their ability to perform a specified job. Others are wary of too many people knowing their credit score. Still others think that the pre-employment screening process of obtaining a credit report will lower their overall credit score.

Employers need to be clear about why they’re preparing to do a credit check, and they need to get Volume Pills the applicant’s permission to do so, according to the rules of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. If the results of the credit report adversely affect the employer’s decision to hire, the applicant is entitled to obtain a copy of their credit report and to challenge anything they see in it that they deem to be false.

Before conducting a credit report, or even asking for permission to do so, employers should ask themselves whether the information contained therein is really necessary for the applicant’s success in that particular job.

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Common Background Screening Mistakes

More and more employers are using background screening to help them find just the right person to fill their vacancies, but how can they be sure their check is giving them exactly what they need? What are some common background check mistakes?

First, it’s important that employers ensure they’re in compliance with federal and state laws.

In New York, for example, employers must comply with both the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act – the state act is stricter in some areas. While both acts seem to apply only to credit reports, they actually cover much a wide range of reports, and if the report vendor is from another state, there is no reason to assume they’re in compliance with your state’s laws.

For best results, start a pre-employment background screening as soon as possible, so you aren’t left with a vacancy – or worse, an unqualified employee – when the report arrives.

Another legal issue arises when a company doesn’t have a clear set of written background screening guidelines that are consistently applied to all applicants. Performing checks on some applicants and not on others opens employers to claims of discrimination.

And remember that it’s best to have applicants sign a separate form assenting to any background checks rather than a single line on the employment application form, and give the applicants sufficient time to read through the information.

Finally, employers often perform excessive screening for lower-level employees. There’s no need to pay for an education verification or deep credit report on a low-level or temporary employee – instead focus your resources where they’ll do the most good for your company.

Background checks can be a valuable tool in any employer’s arsenal, and keeping these tips in mind will give you the right information to recruit the right candidate.

Why You Need to Know about H.R. 3149

There’s a bill in the House of Representatives that has been introduced and referred to committee and if you’re an employer, you need to know about it.

H. R. 3149:  Equal Employment for All Act would have a definite impact on companies that conduct background checks on their potential employees (and, let’s face it, that should be done by all organizations with more than 1 or 2 people.)

This bill hopes to “amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.”  Thus, a bad credit score could not be used as reason to deny employment.

Without knowing the exact reasons for this bill, it’s likely that it stems from the fact that so many Americans are dealing with low credit scores.  Consequently, H.R. 3149 would be a way for them to still snag jobs even if their credit scores are terrible.

Of course, many employers are likely to be taken aback by this bill, especially since it prohibits them from using bad credit as a way to weed out the proverbial “wheat from the chaff” when it comes to making hiring decisions.

What is your thought about H.R. 3149? 

Do you feel it would affect you positively, negatively or neutrally if it’s passed?  Let us know by answering the poll below.