Background Checks & Ethics For Employment Screening Processes
Background checks have ethical liabilities associated with them. Ethics for employment screening processes is something HR and other hiring professionals must consider during the vetting processes.
Benefits of Background Checks
Businesses have an obligation to their employees and customers to ensure, to the best of their ability, a safe and reliable working environment. Obviously, they want to hire employees who are trustworthy, who will not endanger the safety of others or compromise the integrity of their organization. One of the measures used to create a safe environment includes screening potential employees for criminal activity. Ethics for employment screening makes the background check process more reliable and authentic.
Potential Harms of not following ethical in background checks
While it might seem straightforward enough, the practice of subjecting individuals to background checks can cause problems. Even considering the prerequisite that an individual must give their consent to a background check, among the many issues involved are:
- Accuracy of automated searches
When employers rely on quick, automated checks, information such as names and birth dates are often mixed up, and the accuracy of the information cannot be verified. This could result in a qualified individual with a clean record being denied a job offer.
Even when the information unearthed in a background check is accurate, it is taken out of context and can be misleading or misrepresentative of the nature of the person’s criminal history.
Some companies can do more thorough and accurate investigations.
- Excessive screening unrelated to the job
Some employers search for potential candidates’ social media accounts and look at their ‘likes’ and who they follow. They might also look at credit reports, personal blogs, and involvement in political causes. While it might seem fine to know this much about a candidate, how much of this information is available to an employer—or potential employer—is a violation of privacy? How much of it is helpful in the hiring process?
- Effectiveness of background checks
The effectiveness of performing background checks about workplace safety has not been verified. In other words, there is insufficient evidence that performing background checks on job candidates increases the likelihood of a business employing trustworthy individuals and creating a safe and productive working environment. Those who argue that screenings are unnecessary during the hiring process claim that they unfairly disqualify individuals from job opportunities, and that the benefits do not compensate for that.
Ethics for employment screening are implemented to help you gain the trust of the applicant as well.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act limits the type of information that can be shared on a background check. Still, employers need to understand the ethics involved with even the information that can be legally disclosed and create policies that are beneficial for their businesses and potential employees.
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