The Value of Background Checks for HR Management

Effective human resources (HR) management begins with refined recruiting and hiring processes. Background checks and other pre-employment screening practices are essential components, as they help HR professionals make sure they find the right individual for the job.

Coursework in Fitchburg State University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in HR Management examines current recruitment practices, like background checks. This degree program also explores legal issues and general studies essential for HR management.

What Are Background Checks Used For in HR?

HR departments conduct background checks to verify information about a job applicant’s history, credentials and experience. HireRight reports that HR background checks commonly include identity verification, job history, criminal history, motor vehicle records, educational attainment, certifications and licenses.

Much of this information is used to fact-check a job applicant’s resume. This review helps HR professionals ensure a job candidate has the skills, certifications and licenses needed for the job.

HR also uses this information to avoid legal liabilities like negligent hiring. The Balance Careers explains this using the example of employing a delivery driver with a DUI conviction. Hiring someone with a DUI on their record is not illegal, but a company could be liable if that driver hits another car because they were under the influence while driving.

What Other Types of Pre-Employment Screenings Do HR Departments Use?

According to the job website Indeed, HR professionals may use several pre-employment assessments to evaluate a job candidate’s skills and attributes. These can include tests that measure:

  • Personality
  • Skills
  • Aptitudes
  • Job knowledge
  • Emotional intelligence

HR will also check references provided by job candidates and may contact previous employers. Additionally, reviewing a candidate’s social media may be part of the screening process.

These practices can help HR with job placement, performance assessment and predicting if a candidate will align with the company’s culture. This process can also help HR select training to get a new hire up to speed.

How Are Pre-Employment Screening Practices Conducted?

Background checks and other screening processes can be time intensive. Verification of an applicant’s education, credentials and employment history can involve months of phone calls, information requests and in-person proceedings. HR departments may conduct these activities in-house or outsource them to companies providing background check services.

However, modern technologies have helped reshape these screening practices. Platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn help companies and job seekers streamline the application process, matching resumes to jobs and talent searches. Also, advanced AI-driven background check software and services vastly speed up verification processes. AI chatbots can conduct initial screening interviews.

Such technologies can perform many mundane administrative tasks that once filled HR personnel’s working hours. These tools allow hiring professionals to focus on the human side, like delving into an applicant’s personality traits, interpersonal skills and motivations.

These humanistic aspects of the hiring process give HR insight into performance potential and, importantly, culture fit. More than ever, companies focus on fostering corporate cultures that drive teamwork, cohesion, collaboration and innovation. Thus, HR technology integration’s most significant benefit may be helping HR concentrate on human factors, improving company culture outcomes substantially.

The Legal Side of Hiring

Through all processes, HR departments must protect the privacy of applicant data and information. HR professionals must ensure background checks and other screening processes comply with employment, labor, non-discrimination and privacy law. This step includes getting full consent from applicants for all background checks and other screening processes. The information gained must also be used lawfully and appropriately, as set forth by regulatory guidelines.

Violating related laws can result in myriad legal liabilities. It can also cause long-term damage to a company’s reputation. When used correctly, though, HR technologies can automate processes that ensure compliance. Plus, these services offer applicant data privacy protection beyond what many HR and IT departments can manage.

Still, final responsibility for compliance comes down to HR management, as does applying background checks to successful hiring. Through the advanced study of these practices, HR professionals can learn how to incorporate background checks effectively, efficiently and lawfully.

Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s online MBA in Human Resources Management program.

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