Selective Hiring - Conducting Background Checks


Most staffing companies use some degree of employee screening whenever prospective applicants call or walk-in inquiring about job opportunities. These may include statements such as “You must have two forms of identification,” or “Have you applied with our service before?”  


To further strengthen the screen and to specifically target predators, a staffing firm must introduce risk management into the hiring process early. This is accomplished by making statements regarding two particular conditions of employment that must be addressed with applicants at the beginning of the employer/employee relationship. The first condition is: “Our company has a substance abuse policy. All employees are required to comply with this policy and must consent to drug testing.” The second condition is: “All employees must give authorization for background history inclusive of criminal records.”

A staffing firm may choose not to check the criminal background of applicants. The condition of employment is not that a staffing company will check criminal backgrounds, rather that the applicant gives authorization to the staffing firm to check. This is a strong deterrent and predators recognize its implications. A staffing service must establish a policy regarding reference, background, and criminal records checks and communicate this to full-time staff so it can be consistently applied with every applicant and employee.  


Often, the success of this screening tool may not be apparent because the intent is to eliminate any predator applicants through the use of telephone or walk-in screening. Therefore, an individual may not apply in person at the staffing company after hearing these conditions of employment over the phone and deciding they are unwilling to comply. This screening tool reduces time that may be spent unnecessarily with predatory applicants.  


If an applicant answers “no,” that they will not comply with the release of background information inclusive of criminal records, they have then disqualified themselves from the application process. It is necessary to explain to the applicant that these are conditions of employment and are required of all employees. The application process ends at phase one, the Applicant Questionnaire, if the applicant does not agree to comply with conditions of employment. To make an exception to these conditions of employment opens the door for complaints of discriminatory hiring practices, and undermines the intent of this screening concept.  

Information taken from the RCS Manual.

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