Approximately 65 million Americans searching for jobs have a criminal record. While the type of personal history that’s acceptable to an employer certainly depends on the position being filled, there are some red flags that you cannot afford to ignore, no matter what the circumstances. Here are three reasons why conducting a background check on job applicants is critical for IT hiring managers.
1) Corroborating Applicant Claims: Even if a basic background check turns up no criminal or civil charges, employers can use standard information like former residences to verify key claims on a job candidate’s resume. For example, if a potential programmer says that he worked at Google’s main office, but the background check shows no past addresses anywhere in that area, a deeper look at the resume might be in order.
2) Avoiding Liability: Employers can be sued for having a hostile or unsafe workplace, so a background check that indicates stalking, sexual harassment or anger management problems like assault should be cause for pause. Even if you are a one-man IT shop or the employee will work from home, you could be responsible if the employee were to cause a problem while on-site at a client.
3) Safeguarding Your Organization’s Assets: This concern covers everything from outright embezzlement to property theft to the sale of trade secrets or sensitive data. For IT departments, data integrity is an area of particular concern – an employee with a history of drug or financial offenses like fraud could decide to fund themselves by selling confidential data to the highest bidder. Such a breach can result in lawsuits as well as lost business. Keep in mind, too, that an entry-level employee who is in a “low-risk” position now could eventually advance to a job where they have deeper access to finances or proprietary technology and data.
It’s important to remember that computers are only as foolproof as those entering the data; many people have similar names, birth dates, etc., that can cause mistaken identity. And as with any HR policy, background checks must be carefully conducted to avoid running afoul of employment laws. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently adjusted federal hiring guidelines to help prevent unreasonable screening of job seekers with records. However, the new guidelines apply only to old arrest records or convictions that are totally unrelated to the line of work being applied for. Since most IT jobs require working with both people and confidential data, the range of charges that could be considered relevant is quite large – making the information obtained in a background check particularly useful.
If your organization needs help finding quality IT professionals that you can rely on, consult the specialized staffing experts at Bayside Solutions. We carefully vet all candidates while maintaining full compliance with EEOC regulations, so you can be confident that our professionals are top-notch in both skills and background. Contact us today to learn more!