Conducting background checks on candidates you are considering hiring is part of a four-part screening process that Brotherhood Mutual recommends for all faith-based organizations.
Generally, candidates should be screened with the following four tools:
A criminal record check (as permitted by applicable law).
An application that asks about a person’s sexual misconduct, criminal history, and traits or tendencies that could pose a threat to vulnerable individuals (as allowed by law).
A personal interview.
Professional references that are checked by your organization.
Screening applicants can help organizations make informed decisions about the people they choose. Plus, it can reduce the risk of being accused of negligent hiring or selection.
Timing is a factor to consider. State laws may dictate when employers may conduct criminal background checks on job candidates. Some states may not allow background checks until after interviews are completed and an offer is extended. Other states are silent on the issue. You are encouraged to check with a local attorney to understand what guidance your state provides on performing background checks on prospective employees.
Accuracy can vary. Criminal background checks can vary in both depth and accuracy. It is a good idea to have a reputable background screening company conduct your criminal records check. There are many reputable vendors available, including several listed as Background Screening Options in Brotherhood Mutual’s Safety Library.
It’s important to include local criminal records as part of your review. Some state and counties do not report convictions to national databases, which leaves national background checks with invisible gaps, regardless of who does the screening. It’s a good risk management practice to review criminal records from counties where an applicant currently lives or has lived for a significant period of time.
For more about conducting criminal background checks, see these articles: