One of the most common questions we get from hiring executives is, “When do I run the background check, before I hire the person or after?”. The paradigm has shifted to post-offer background check with the recent “ban the box” legislation and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement.

We will look at three reasons why background checks should be conducted post-offer:

    1. What Does the Policy State?
      Any employer who utilizes employment background checks as part of the hiring process should have a policy in place. If the policy states that employment background checks are conducted post-offer, the company should adhere to their own policy. If the employer deviates from their own policy for certain circumstances, they could open themselves up to a discrimination lawsuit.
    2. Potentially Discriminating Against Protected Classes
      Conducting the background check before offering employment could pose a discrimination risk due to not knowing the qualifications or experience of the new hire. By offering employment (based on favorable interview or review of qualifications), any claims of discrimination will be eliminated due to making the decision based on an adverse background check and not discriminating against a protected class.
    3. Screening a Pool of Applicants Could Be Costly
      The economy has improved since 2008 and the employment rate has slowly declined; however, employers are not hard press to find job applicants to fill their positions. It is not uncommon for an employer to interview up to 10 applicants for one open position. With that being said, it would not be cost effective for an organization to do a background checks on every single applicant that applies. Implementing a consistent interview process that may instead start with a phone interview and proceed to a face-to-face meeting. Once you have the right applicant in place, make the offer, and conduct the background check to save company both time and money.