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Public criminal records: What can you do as a recruiter?

There’s no doubt that the recruiting landscape has changed significantly over the last few years. Once upon a time it may have just been a batch of CVs being dumped on a hiring manager’s desk. Now, everything is mostly conducted online and the whole process has become very technical indeed.

One of the ways in which it has developed is through background checks. Whether it’s public criminal records, or even something like credit history (for certain jobs, at least), it can all help an employer to make the right decision.

Through the course of this guide we are going to hone in on public criminal records specifically, and highlight just what a potential employer is allowed to do. As you might imagine, there are a lot of legalities that protect those that are hiring, which we will now take a look at.

You have to notify the employee

First and foremost, you can’t commission this sort of background check without letting the person who is applying for the job know what is happening. They must be informed about the check in a written document. This document doesn’t just say that a background check is going to be conducted, but also that the results might impact their chances of being employed within your company.

Following on from this letter, there are further steps. It is then up to the employee to consent to the background check and again, this has to be done in writing.

The same rules apply with ongoing background checks

So far, this guide has looked at what happens in the process before a candidate is hired. This next point refers to existing employees, and what covers them in relation to ongoing background checks.

In other words, if background checks are routinely coordinated for existing employees. This is something that occurs a lot in some industries, although companies must stick to certain rules. For example, they must build it into their written policies, or in their contract of employment. Without this, it becomes very hard for a business to legally initiate them.

It’s not just about the “official” checks – interviews count as well

For the purposes of this article we have mainly honed in on official procedures; whether this be prior to an interview or what occurs during the time that a person is employed within a company.

However, what about the background checks that are more obvious? This time, we’re referring to the background checks that take place right in front of candidate’s eyes. Some companies like to interview their candidates to find more about their background and under the right rules at least, this is perfectly legal.

When we talk about these rules, the candidate needs to be informed about the nature of the interview before they are invited to it. This might include the type of questions that are going to be posed to them, just to provide them adequate preparation ahead of the big day.

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