Myth #1) Social Media Can Be Used To Screen Applicants
Many employers assume it’s okay to snoop through a job applicant’s social media accounts to determine whether or not they are the right choice for the position. Sites like Facebook contain a treasure trove of personal information, such as the individual’s photos, relationship status, previous employment, “friends,” and interests. However, employers must tread lightly when using social media to ensure they aren’t breaking any laws. As mentioned in our previous blog post, the Online Privacy Act prohibits employers from requiring applicants or existing employees to provide them with access to their personal social media accounts.
Myth #2) Applicants With a Criminal History Should Be Denied
Just because a job applicant has a criminal history doesn’t necessarily mean they should be denied the position. It’s estimated that over 65 million people in the U.S. have some type of criminal record. When deciding whether to hire an applicant with a criminal history, the employer should consider the nature of the crime, when the crime occurred, and how (or if) it relates to the business. Also you must consider state and federal law (FCRA). An applicant who was arrested and charged with felony theft, for instance, probably wouldn’t be a good fit for a retail store. But an applicant with minor traffic violations or a DUI on his or her record could well be.
Myth #3) Employers Aren’t Required To Provide a Copy of Report To Applicants
If an employer runs an employment screening on a job applicant, he or she must provide the applicant with a copy of the report in the event adverse action is taken. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states the following: “Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment – or to take another adverse action against you – must tell you, and must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information, .” A specific procedure must be followed and surprisingly there are many companies, big and small who have been sued for failures to take these steps.
Myth #4) All Screening Services Are The Same
Don’t assume that all employment screening services are the same. Some services pull data from just a few sources, while others use dozens if not hundreds of sources such as a national criminal search. Many states don’t provide criminal history information to state databases so in this case a county search MUST be used. If you’re going to run employment background checks on applicants (which you should!), find an established, reliable screening company with a proven track record.
Myth #5) Applicants With Bad Credit History Should Be Denied
In addition to checking applicants’ criminal history, many employers also look at their credit. It’s important to note, however, that an applicant may experience a credit score drop due to circumstances like divorce, death of a family member, or even if they were the victim of identify fraud. Many states forbid (with exceptions ) the use of a credit report.