Comments Off on Misleading Background Checks Can Wreck Your Hiring Decision

If you want to hire the best Applicant you have to be careful. Sometimes what you see on paper will lead you to the wrong decision.

People Change Over Time

You might find a criminal report on an Applicant from years ago that no longer is manifested in the Applicant’s behavior. For example, many of us did things in College we now regard as stupid. These activities make us shake our heads and, sometimes, smile, but we won’t do them now.

Financially, past bad credit, bankruptcies and Judgments should be examined under the light of what caused them. Often unemployment or serious medical situations are the root cause and, if the Applicant is hired the first problem will be eliminated. You cannot ask about medical conditions but if the problem was some time ago it probably isn’t worth worrying about.

There are lots of errors

Criminal reports are generally entered by the convicted person’s name in the jurisdiction in which they were arrested. If your Applicant has the same name, John Washington for example, and lives in the same place he may wind up on a report even though he never committed the crime.

Credit Bureaus have records on about twice as many adults as there are in the country. These are not ghost reports but duplicates, often with different information. Many of the extra reports are intentional but more are accidental. Changes of address and middle initial may be enough to create a separate file.

It is also common for other people’s information to migrate to your Applicant’s report. My brothers entire file wound up on my report because we shared a last name, the first letter of our first name and lived (as children) in the same addresses for years.

The reverse is also true. Some crimes do not show

Up on criminal records because you are not looking in the right location or there is a typographical error in the data entry.

Who is John Smith?

Only public records are listed

You will never know if a person steals, only that an Application was convicted. Most robbers only get caught occasionally. This is true for most crimes that effect businesses.

In Credit, some businesses, even banks, may not report to all or even any Credit Bureau.

The problem is general and wide spread. The solution is to review all the reports with a critical eye. You can ask the Applicant about problems and you should listen to the answers and check them out. You don’t want to lose your best Applicant because information was incorrect or missing.