Posts

Ban the Box Updates: What Employers Need to Know

By now, most HR professionals and hiring managers have heard of Ban the Box and the legislation that is sweeping the nation. So, what are you doing to prepare for these changes? Are you confident that your onboarding process is up to date and compliant with the laws in place? Here we will help guide you in the direction to make sure your team is prepared for what is to come.

What are Ban-The-Box Laws?

In simplest terms, Ban the Box means that employers cannot ask on a job application or in certain parts of the hiring process about criminal history. For example, blanket statements like, “have you ever been convicted of a crime.”

These laws aim to put employers’ focus on applicants’ qualifications first, without blanket no-hire policies due to past criminal activity. In most cases, employers must wait until a conditional offer of employment is extended before asking about criminal history or conducting a background check.

On December 20, 2021, Congress enacted the Fair Chance Act. The purpose of the act is to give previous offenders a chance to find work in the United States Federal Government. The Fair Chance Act will “Ban the Box” asking about arrest and conviction history on job applicants for most Federal agencies and contractors. These questions and the background check cannot be started until the conditional job offer has been extended.

What steps can you take to be compliant?

Navigating Ban the Box laws can be confusing. We recommend, as a first step, consulting with your legal counsel. They’ll be able to look at your company profile, industry, and location to see what Ban the Box laws apply to you.

You’ll want to take that information and then review your job descriptions and applications. You’ll also want to be sure your hiring managers only ask about the criminal history during the correct time in the hiring process.

Whether these laws will apply to your organization depends on several factors:

  • Company size
  • Location(s) you hire in (city, county, and state)
  • Industry (different regulations can apply to education, childcare, health care, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Public vs private employer

Currently, 37 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted similar laws.

While public employers appear to be moving to Ban the Box quicker than private employers, the lists continue to grow.

Currently, 15 states have Ban the Box laws in place for private employers. These include:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Furthermore, 22 cities and counties have Ban the Box laws in place for private employers. These include:

Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Columbia, MO; DeSoto, TX; District of Columbia; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Montgomery County, MD; New York­, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Prince George’s County, MD; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; St. Louis, MO; Suffolk County, NY; Waterloo, IA; and Westchester County, NY.

Check out the National Employment Law Project’s (NELP) detailed chart to see whether your city, county, or state has a policy or law.

What’s next?

It’s important to remember that background checks are still a crucial part of the hiring process. Not even the Federal Government, which has adopted Ban the Box entirely, is removing background screening from their hiring process. The safety of your employees, customers, and your organization’s reputation is still essential.

As these laws continue to sweep the country, it’s always best practice to ensure that your background check process is updated. Then, when it’s time to run the background check after a conditional job offer, you can keep things moving quickly.

One Source always recommends reviewing these five areas:

  • Background Check Policy
  • Disclosure
  • Authorization
  • Quality of Data
  • Adverse Action

Reach out to our team if you have any questions on ways you can follow compliance laws and regulations. Or you can learn more about how to stay compliant through our blog, Blueprint to a Compliant Background Check Process.

 

What Non-profits can Benefit from a Reliable Background Check Provider

Non-profit organizations understand, now more than ever, that accomplishing their mission rests on the shoulders of the people they hire and the volunteers that serve. Gone are the days when anyone willing to show up qualifies to represent the organization and its mission.

To safeguard against risks posed by employees and volunteers, most non-profit organizations have implemented background screening in their onboarding programs. They may conduct background checks internally by accessing state criminal record repositories and/or inexpensive “instant” online background checks or partnering with a professional background check provider.

Though not all background check providers are created equal, there are some notable benefits for non-profits partnering with the right one.

So, what do nonprofits need to look for in a reliable screening provider?
We recommend the three E’s – Expertise, Efficiency, and Effectiveness

Expertise

A reliable background check provider is a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). To be accredited means they are an expert in the screening industry and the local, state, and federal laws that govern it. Be sure to partner with a background check company that follows the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA which includes numerous regulations that govern the onboarding practices for employers and non-profits included, across the United States.

Efficiency

Non-profits are tasked with being good stewards of their money and maximizing every dollar they receive. They want to devote their time, talent and treasure to their mission which may leave little to spend on other top priorities like quality staffing and onboarding procedures. While cost-efficiency in background screening is critical, “the cheaper the better” rarely rings true and may increase risk as the cost of the background check is not always indicative of its quality or accuracy.
An efficient background check provider should have these services to provide you with the answers you need to make an informed decision:

  • Automation Capabilities
  • Mobile-friendly Processes
  • Customizable Solutions
  • Real-time Data

Effectiveness

Non-profits need thorough background checks to maximize their recipients’ safety and fulfill their mission. The reports need to comply with FCRA and similar regulations. Above all, the reports should be fully customizable to serve the unique needs of every organization. The right background check provider aligns with the non-profit’s values and empowers its goal of onboarding volunteers and employees through informed decisions.

By entrusting their screening to a reliable background check provider nonprofit leaders can provide an additional layer of protection for their organizations and those they serve.

If you are interested in learning about best practices in volunteer screening, make sure to read our blog. Whether you’re considering volunteer screening for the first time or you’re a well-seasoned veteran, learn how to create an efficient screening process for your volunteers, here.

3 Background Check Budgeting Tips

Every organization’s budget is as unique and specialized as the organization itself. When determining the budget allotment for screening services, financial teams must consider the potential volume of screenings they will conduct and the specific checks they will require. Different industries have a wide variety of hiring and turnover expectations, and all of this must be accounted for in a background check budget.

When these expectations are measured and fine-tuned to each organization, they help maximize background checks while staying within financial margins. Even organizations that do not typically set aside funds for screenings should make a habit of budgeting for compliant background checks. The cost of making an uninformed hiring choice always exceeds the cost of screening an excellent hiring choice.

Here are 3 background check budgeting tips so an organization can keep security and informed hiring in mind while budgeting.

 

Tailor screenings to job descriptions

No matter how much room you have in your budget for hiring and recruitment, your HR department can keep background check costs low by carefully choosing what job titles require certain screenings. Some positions may not need screening beyond a basic background check, and others may need more in-depth checks based on the duties of the job.

For example, you could run a standard background check on every applicant but only perform driving record checks on applicants you are certain will drive for work. By performing an audit of your available positions and deciding the amount of screening each job needs, you can save money and only order specialized checks when they’re absolutely necessary.

 

Understand your industry’s workforce turnover

Hiring new team members can be exciting, but it includes extra—sometimes unexpected—costs. You have to consider the time and money it takes to recruit, hire, train. and screen applicants. By knowing the average turnover of your industry, you can better predict your hiring costs and avoid unforeseen expenses.

Some workforces can turn over more than 20 percent of their team each year, especially in times of growth. Base your turnover expectations on your previous year, then proactively set your screening budget to accommodate growth. As the year unfolds, keep track of your real turnover rate to make more accurate predictions for the next year. If you land on a relatively accurate estimate of your hiring costs, you can make better use of your background check provider’s services.

 

Manage your risks

The best thing your organization can do is save money, minimize risk and build a constructive culture. Background checks will help you make hiring choices that best align with your organization’s mission and values. When you budget for screening services, your investment is returned through a reliable, trustworthy workforce..

By properly screening each of your applicants, you’ll avoid the cost of negligent hiring and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) noncompliance lawsuits. If you would like to learn more about how background checks can fit into your organization’s budget, contact the One Source Client Relations Team.

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) Protocol Updates

Tightening access and privacy on personal identifiable information (PII) is always top of mind in the screening industry. In response to the national trend to increase PII privacy, adjustments are being made, implementing stricter PII protocols for their courthouses. Some are already in effect, and others start in January 2022. Learn what states are impacted and how this affects the screening industry.

Where will you find policy changes?

In September of 2021, California began redacting date of birth PII from their public access terminals in the courthouses. It is essential to know that this information is still on the hard copy court file. As for the online court records accessible to the public, those records have date of birth PII removed. 

Note: This rule is not new to California; it is now being complied with by the courts within the state.

In addition to California, Michigan will begin redacting the consumer’s date of birth from court records beginning January 2022. While the entire state is scheduled to redact the date of birth on records by January 2022, some Michigan counties have already started implementing this change.

How does this impact the screening industry?

With states redacting PII, this will cause inevitable delays and the potential for additional paperwork. The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) requires consumer reporting agencies to have more identifiers than just a name; this will add more time to reports when researching possible records in those states.

Suppose the court allows additional research to be conducted. In that case, this is usually completed by a record researcher with boots on the ground, meaning a physical person is going into the courthouse to request the records physically, causing a ripple effect of extended delays. Some cases in the court may require a signed release from the consumer.

Note: One Source will always communicate what is necessary from our clients to complete a search.

If you are interested in learning more about this ever-changing landscape, here are a few links to discussions within the industry.

  • Read about the Michigan redaction from the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) here.
  • Read about the California redaction from the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) here.
  • Listen to industry-recognized professional and host of the Background Check Radio, Kevin Bachman’s podcast here.

We are unsure if other states or municipalities will follow suit. Stay connected to One Source to stay up to date on the screening industry dynamic.

5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Personal Background Check

Aren’t we all looking for a leg up when on the job hunt? Simply knowing a little more about yourself might be the boost you need when walking into an interview.

Suppose you aren’t sure you know what is on your criminal record, motor vehicle record, and/or any other legal criteria. Whether you are new to the job market, diving back in after many years, or just curious, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what might show up on your background report.

Five reasons why you should get started with a personal background check:

  1. Avoid Surprises– When you run a personal background check on yourself, you eliminate the element of surprise when asked questions about your background.
  2. Check for Accuracy– Taking a deep dive into the internet won’t always give you accurate answers. Searching on public databases may give you some information about yourself, but the information has not been verified. We recommend working with a reliable background check company (like One Source) to receive accurate real-time, original source answers.
  3. Be Proactive– By running a personal search, you can check if the information on your report is correct and up to date. If you find inaccurate information, you can work to get things cleared up to ensure you are disclosing information to the potential employer accurately when asked.
  4. Get a Competitive Edge – In this day of age, you need any advantage you can get when searching for a job. Go above and beyond. Know what is on your background check to be prepared to answer any question that may come up during an interview.
  5. Peace of Mind– Job hunting is stressful enough. So, before you even start the interview process, choose to put your success first. Receive accurate answers from a reliable screening source.

Getting ahead of potential concerns and being proactive might make more of a positive impression on your potential employer. Overshadowing anything questionable in your past. Run a personal background check with One Source to know you’re receiving compliant and thorough reporting.

If you are interested in running a personal background check, start here!

Want to learn more about One Source? Check out our solutions page to see how we can help empower others with informed decisions. Connect with One Source on our social media LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

Blueprint to a Compliant Background Check Process

Conducting background checks is a simple way to help mitigate the risk of a bad hire, but they can add some trouble right back on your organization without being done correctly.

Background checks conducted by third-party background screening firms (like One Source) are considered ‘Consumer Reports’ by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). What does that mean? Simply put, you must adhere to their rules and regulations and ensure you comply with the plethora of federal, state, and local laws. Not complying with these rules and regulations could result in steep fines, lawsuits, and sometimes even class action settlements.

Using a Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) accredited background screening firm is an easy step to be sure you are building a team compliantly for your organization.

Here are Four Best Practices for Compliance to ensure you have a successful blueprint for compliant background screening:

  1. Background Check Policy

Before you start screening applicants for employment, it is crucial to have a policy in place. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Enforcement Guidance on the use of background screening in the employment hiring process. What should this Policy include?

  • Purpose – Identify the reason you are running the background check; for example pre-employment.
  • Scope – What types of background checks are you running? How often are you screening applicants, upon hire, annually?
    • Not sure where to start? The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides a great template to help you get started. Read more.
  • Process – How will you be reviewing offenses and determining what is acceptable or not? Onboarding should be consistent within position levels when making determinations. Onboarding managers need to assess the potential risks and liabilities related to the position’s requirements to determine whether you should onboard the applicant through individualized assessments if in the context of employment.
    • The EEOC recommends you consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought to ensure that the exclusion is essential for the position.
  1. Disclosure* and Authorization

Now that you have a screening policy in place, you are ready to begin the background screening process. The next thing you need to do is obtain Disclosure and Authorization from the applicant. The FCRA outlines this for employers, and the FTC has guidance available here. Disclosures* are only required under the permissible purpose of employment.

Be sure to:

  • Inform the applicant or employee that you may use the results of the consumer report for decisions related to their employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format.
  • Gather written consent from the applicant or employee. If you want to use this authorization throughout the duration of the individual’s employment, you must state that clearly and conspicuously.
  • Review federal, state, and local laws and include applicable notices. Your screening vendor should provide these to you.

One Source provides all clients a compliant Disclosure and Authorization form, which you can find here

  1. Quality of Data

In the background screening world, there are two main ways that Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) conduct criminal background searches. The first is by conducting real-time, original source record searches directly from the source. The second is utilizing a database or repository.

Database searches, while fast and inexpensive, provide non-compliant data. Record information is often not updated regularly and pulled from archived sources. These inconsistencies leave gaps and holes for outdated information and error galore. While these searches are often the most affordable solution, they can lead to costly lawsuits and ligation.

Be sure that your background checks include live, real-time court records. Original source records mean your vendor is going directly to the courthouse to obtain information that is up to date and as accurate as possible, eliminating errors caused by expungements, dismissed records, and recent convictions that may otherwise be missing.

  1. Adverse Action

Before making a final employment decision based in whole or in part on the background check results, the employer must provide a Pre-Adverse Action Notice, a copy of the background report, and their Summary of Rights Under the FCRA.

This process allows the applicant to review their report, and if necessary, dispute the accuracy of the findings. The timing and actions required during this process are crucial to staying compliant. You can learn more about how employers and applicants should handle adverse action here.

Don’t let the compliance of background screening seem daunting. The blueprint to a compliance screening process is simple; have a rock-solid background check policy, compliant disclosure and authorization forms, quality, real-time data in your reports, and follow the adverse action process.

The best part of it all is that One Source is here to help you through the process. Reach out at any time for a free review of your process from start to finish.

Reference Checks Made Easy

One of the most time-consuming pieces of onboarding can be the process of contacting an applicant’s references. Traditional phone-based reference checking requires finding time to learn more about an applicant. This can also cause delays on when an individual can start a position – leaving room for the possible loss of onboarding good, quality applicants for your organization.

One Source offers a leading reference checking solution to provide you with an online, automated process that delivers fast results. This streamlined process of conducting reference checks makes it easier for both the onboarding professional and the applicant.

How simple is it?

Once the account is set up and you select the questions you wish to ask. Which are either specific to your organization or standard approved questions, your account will be ready.

  1. The applicant and reference information are entered in the solution.
  2. Reference requests are then automatically sent via email or text. This makes it quick and easy for them to respond anytime, anyplace.
  3. The reference completes a short and confidential online questionnaire.
  4. Receive the reference response on a document that will be attached to the report to review.

The process is that simple.

A frequent complaint about reference checking is that applicants select references who will say only positive things about them. This is not the case because the survey allows contacts to respond freely and confidentially. Which encourages the reference to answer more honestly. 83% of all reference providers provide comments on an applicant’s areas of improvement.

Benefits of Reference Checks:

  • Reduce Turnover – Client research results show involuntary first-year turnover can be reduced by over 35%.
  • Increase Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness – Free up recruiting teams from time-consuming phone-tag, data collection, and reporting tasks – so they can focus on finding great candidates. The solution provides a significant return on investment when you add considerable staff time savings, lower potential turnover costs, and reduce third-party expenses.
  • Enhance Satisfaction of Onboarding Managers – Provide onboarding managers detailed reports showing feedback, candidate summaries, and behavioral interview guides.
  • Convenient, Cloud-based, and Mobile – Makes it easy to get started and for candidates and references to respond anytime, anywhere — even via text messages.

If this service sounds like something you would like to incorporate into your onboarding, watch our recorded webinar, “Reference Checks Made Easy.” We go in-depth on how the reference process works through a demo, along with information on how this service provides you with more data, time, and money compared to traditional references.

Sign up to watch our webinar here! You can also contact the One Source Client Relations Team to learn about our other services to help streamline your onboarding process.

How to Personalize Your Background Screening Process

Every organization is unique in their own way. Different organizations have different needs. And that’s no different when it comes to building and maintaining internal teams.

So, shouldn’t your background screening process be made to meet those unique needs? What if you want to screen one position level differently from another position? How do you go about this? The answer: Customizable background screening packages.

Many background check companies offer generic packages with no option to customize your solution. Here at One Source, there are many ways to tailor your screening to what works for you, and the different position levels you hire. Therefore, incorporating services such as drug screening, employment verification, social media searches, and many more make it simple to do so.  Let’s dig into what some of these services offer:

Drug Screening

Are you looking to maintain a drug-free workplace? Whether for safety reasons or something else, adding drug screening can help as you work to maintain a drug-free environment. Drug testing with One Source combines drug testing results into the background check, streamlining the entire employee screening process.

Employment Verification

Employment verification is one of the crucial keys to finding quality. One Source contacts previous employers to verify: dates of employment, wages/salary*, rehire status, and more. Previous employment is the largest source of falsification on applications. That’s why we recommend you utilize this robust service.
*There are some cities, municipalities, and states that do not allow salary verification and/or have strict restrictions that come into play when requesting it.

Social Media Records

Social media screening may seem like a task your HR department can do themselves. But reviewing an applicant’s online presence isn’t exactly the most reliable or ethical way to conduct a thorough and compliant search. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant social media hiring report involves a combination of technology and human expert analytics to correctly identify an applicant’s online presence on any publicly available website.

Motor Vehicle Record Search

If your business acquires drivers, a motor vehicle record search might be in your best interest. The information is obtained from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agency. The report shows information like the issue and expiration date of the license and if the applicant has committed any traffic violations, and if the license is current,  suspended, or revoked.

These are just a few of the many a la carte services we offer to enhance your screening. If you are interested in learning more about other services, check out more on our Solutions Page or reach out to our Client Relations Team.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

Should you continuously monitor your staff?

When you are in the process of onboarding an employee or volunteer, it is routine to run a background check to help you make an informed decision. What about later down the road, though? What about criminal offenses following the initial background check? Continuous monitoring is a way to automatically screen your workers to make sure they continue to uphold the same standards you set when they first joined your organization.

What many employers may not realize is that it is good practice to run continuous background checks even after the job offer. Continuously monitoring helps protect your organization, employees, and customers, as well as prevent noncompliance that occurs after the hiring process has been completed.

Let’s take a closer look at continuous monitoring and how it works.

What is continuous monitoring?

Continuous monitoring is an automated search of over 650 million records, including a Global Report, Multi-Court Jurisdictional Database, and National Sex Offender Registry.* The individual’s names you choose to provide will be rerun each month to check for new records. If flagged, an additional county criminal, statewide if available, the search will be added to verify the accuracy of the flag.

While most organizations try and hire individuals who seem trustworthy, at the end of the day, there is no way to predict what the future holds when it comes to criminal activity. The concept of adding a monitoring service is to stay on alert to new criminal offenses and changes in sex offender registration to better inform you of the individuals working for your business.

*Specific to continuous monitoring with One Source.

How does the process work?

  1. Establish a continuous monitoring policy that is compliant with state and federal employment laws and regulations.
  2. Enroll in continuous monitoring service(s).
    – Monitoring searches can be customized based on your needs.
  3. Provide a roster of individuals you would like included in your continuous monitoring.
  4. One Source uploads the orders.
    – We will run an initial search to verify the names on the list.
  5.  Now the monthly monitoring process begins.
    – This will be rerun on the 1st of every month.

To stay compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), verified records will always be provided.

Ready to get started?

Incorporating continuous monitoring into your screening process could be the difference in creating a safer environment for your organization. To keep the trust between you and your employees, make sure your continuous monitoring policy is clearly stated when they are hired and then reminded on an annual basis. You want to have shared expectations between you and your employees when you start your continuous monitoring. If you are interested in learning more or like to add this service to your process, contact us here.

For more information on background screening, check out our blog or get in touch today.

Connect with us through social media LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

How to maximize your investment in quality background checks

Nearly every organization hiring or recruiting volunteers utilizes background checks in some way. Applicants and employers alike often see screening as another box to check as they work toward a hiring decision. 

While the ubiquity of background checks is a great sign, many organizations don’t realize their screening process has untapped potential. Background checks drive success when done right and lead to serious difficulties when done insufficiently. 

That’s why background checks should be viewed as an investment in the future of your organization. Thorough, accurate background screenings can help you hire the best candidates with confidence—building your team with people you can trust.

Here we’ll talk about how making the most of your investment in background checks strengthens your company and how you can avoid the hidden costs of inadequate screenings.

Tailor background checks to each job description.

Background checks are an investment in your organization’s growth, so it’s worth it to put thought into how each candidate is screened. Each job description is different with varying expectations—one-size-fits-all screening just isn’t efficient for finding the best candidates.

Go through each department in your organization and determine their screening needs. Some departments may need team members to have clear driving records, while some may need certifications of specific degrees. You can then work with your background check agency to tailor screening protocols to each job opening. At One Source, we offer driving record checks, education verification and more to meet the specific needs of each of your teams. 

By putting careful thought into what each screening includes, you use your resources efficiently and cover all your bases while finding the best candidates.

Work with a screening partner.

Background check agencies offer expertise and assistance you can’t find anywhere else. If your company runs a lot of background checks, you can maximize your time and resources by hiring an agency to help you.

When you work with a partner like One Source, you get background check experts working with you to create a tailored screening policy. You’ll also get reports delivered in a clear layout that makes important information clear. To take tedious tasks like sifting through reports off your hiring team’s plate and make the most of the dollars you put toward background checks, find a screening partner.

Avoid the consequences of inadequate screening.

Organizations invest in high-quality background screenings to ensure they make positive hiring choices for the future. By finding a reputable screening partner and planning an efficient hiring process, you greatly decrease the chance of making a poor hiring choice. Hires who don’t contribute to your organization’s mission increase turnover and hinder your goals. 

The costs of a bad hire outweigh the costs of a well-planned hiring process. Your investment in screenings will ripple across your whole organization and reflect in your dedicated team. To learn more about how quality background checks can help your company, contact One Source’s Client Relations team.