Should a Background Check Be Based on Job Type?
An organization can have many different job types. For example, a hospital has executives, office and administrative staff, doctors, nurses, technicians, and volunteers. They may have one employer in common, but do they all need the same kind of background check? No, they don’t. Because of the nature of their roles, a background screening for a nurse who has regular access to medications and patients, for example, would be different from a background check for a hospital custodian.
Similar distinctions can be made across a range of industries. Individuals who are employed as drivers should have driving history and driver license checks, but non-driver employees wouldn’t need a background check that includes driving or license history. Certain job types, such as truck and taxi drivers, positions working with children or the elderly, and government positions have federal and state requirements for conducting background checks. Other job types have no requirements at all, for example, some kinds of independent contractors and telemarketers.
It may not always be a clear-cut decision when it comes to determining what kind of background screening to do for which kinds of jobs. However, one thing is for sure: there must be consistency within the same job type. All nurses should be screened the same, all volunteers the same, and so on. Without consistency of background checks in a particular job type, checks could be deemed as discriminatory. In addition, inconsistently applied background checks could result in missing important aspects of an individual’s background and possibly opening the organization to fines or lawsuits down the road.
Here are some key considerations for determining which kind of background check to conduct for different job types:
Have a Background Screening Partner Who Can Advise You
An experienced background screening company often has the benefit of understanding the background check products and services that are most appropriate for different job types across a range of industries. Your background screening partner can help you determine which roles, both employee and non-employee, should have which kind of background screening. For example, federal and state exclusion and debarment list checks should be a part of screening for anyone who works in a hospital or healthcare environment. Your background screening provider can advise on the ideal healthcare background check program for employees and non-employee staff, such as visiting nurses, volunteers, and interns.
A background screening partner can also help to identify inefficiencies in how background checks are conducted across all the different job types within your organization, maximizing cost and time savings. For example, instead of having internal departments track professional licenses manually, your screening partner can handle all professional license verifications for a particular job type, enabling you to receive automatic alerts prior to license expiration. This automated process improvement not only increases efficiency, but also reduces compliance risk by flagging licenses for renewal before they expire.
Conduct Thorough Due Diligence
Due diligence can help you understand the types of potential hiring and employment risks related to each job type, as well as the different options for addressing those risks. Working with a screening partner who can help you develop a risk mitigation strategy can be a good place to start. Key factors to examine include the kinds of security or patient access the job type has, the type of work performed, and the kinds of customers, patients, or members of the public that routinely come in contact with jobholders.
Due diligence should also include balancing budget parameters with risk management. After all, you want to maximize the value of your investment in background screening without unnecessarily spending money where you don’t have to. Varying the type of background check by job type helps to make the most of your background screening investment. For example, some job types may require a criminal background check using candidates’ name and current address, whereas others may require an additional service such as a social security number (SSN) trace, which can facilitate screening on multiple historical addresses for a candidate.
Involve Internal Legal and Risk Management Stakeholders
Background checks for prospective or existing employees are often seen as the sole responsibility of HR, but other internal stakeholders likely have insights that can help determine which job types may require certain kinds of background checks. Healthcare, financial services, and education are all examples of industries that are subject to a range of federal and state laws on background checks. As a result, it makes sense to liaise with internal legal and compliance departments to be sure background checks for each job category meet legal requirements.
In many organizations, decisions about background screening are made jointly by HR and compliance officers. The reason for this comes down to the many regulations governing how background checks are conducted. Those regulations can include the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as well as employment exclusion and debarment restrictions set by the DHHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), the General Services Administration (GSA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and other bodies. The penalties for noncompliance can be considerable, and having more than one organizational function with oversight of the background check program can help you better identify and manage potential risks.
Use Job Requirements as a Guide
Given that specific job types require certain levels of education, licensing, and other credentials, background screening should include all necessary education and license verifications. For example, many nursing positions require a nursing degree and license. For those roles, it makes sense to conduct education and licensure verifications for those two credentials, but not necessarily for other less relevant degrees like an MBA. Similarly, it may not be necessary for certain job types to have reference interviews as part of each background check. For other job types, it may be more beneficial to conduct reference interviews, as they can shed more light on candidate employment history.
Background Checks: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
A background check is an excellent tool for managing hiring risk and verifying candidate skills and education. However, a background check that makes sense for one job type may be a poor fit for another job type. Thankfully, background screening services are customizable and can be configured to meet your budget and goals for both the organization and its various job functions. When you work with a reputable background screening provider, instead of settling for one size fits all, you get the benefit of years of experience across a variety of industries and job types.