What it’s about
Most recruiters and HR professionals know that pre-employment background screening is a must-have step in any interview process. But what about after the candidate gets the job, how long is the background check valid for?
After the candidate becomes an employee, and depending on the size of the company, they will fall under a different faction of the HR department. One that probably isn’t as fluent in background checks as the recruitment team. Should that impact whether the company has a policy to re-screen employees?
We sat down with Kevin McCrann, President of Accurate Information Systems, to ask him these questions and get his thoughts on re-screening employees.
Let’s start with the most obvious question: How long is a background check valid for?
A background check is only valid up until the writing of the report.
As an example, imagine your candidate has a clean record, you offer them the job, they accept and go out to celebrate. One thing leads to another, they make a bad decision and end up being arrested. Even if that arrest would have impacted your offer, you may never know about it unless you have a policy to re-screen your employees.
How often do you recommend companies re-screen?
It would depend on the job the employee is doing, but ideally, we recommend re-screening employees every 6 months as a part of your due diligence process.
Background checks are like insurance; you don’t need it until you need it. Re-screening employees can limit any liability if an incident does occur.
In your experience, do companies re-screen employees?
In my experience, companies hardly ever re-screen their employees. What we usually see is a clause in the employment contract that states the employee must tell their employer if they are arrested or convicted of a crime. As you can imagine, this doesn’t always work.
Cost is usually the top excuse that stops a company from re-screening their employees.
If cost saving is your company’s priority then your policy could be to use a spot check approach. For example, rather than running a background check on each employee every 6 months, run a check on a group of randomly selected individuals. If you choose this approach, ensure the process is fair and unbiased across the company.
One last thing to keep in mind regarding cost: to re-screen an employee you only need a fraction of the information as a pre-employment background check. For instance, work history and education will probably have remained the same. Reducing the amount of information you need also reduces the cost.
It is worth it to inquire with your background-checking agency what the true cost of a re-screening policy would be.
What’s the best way to implement a policy around re-screening employees?
We recommend building out a very well defined policy and putting it in a place accessible to all employees, such as in the employee manual. The policy should explain clearly what the process is for re-screening, what you are looking for in the checks, and how you will deal with criminal convictions if they occur for current employees.
Legally speaking, you still need to get consent from the individual before performing the background check. You must also provide a pre-adverse action letter if you decide to terminate them because of the new information.
The investigative professionals at AIS can work with you to put a re-screening policy in place.
Yes, companies need to re-screen employees
It’s recommended to have a clear employee policy in place to re-screen your employees every 6 months. Kevin and his team at AIS can help you follow through with this policy. Contact them today to learn more.