Getting Started with a Background Check Policy

It’s not unusual for small businesses to have HR policies that grow and evolve as the business does the same. What worked when the business had two employees based out of the garage doesn’t always work when there are 20 emplo yees working in an actual office. 

One aspect of smart hiring that all small businesses need to add is pre-employment background checks. Small company background checks are critical; they serve to verify the information provided by the applicant and reveal risks they might pose to the organization. Professional background vendors provide background check services tailored specifically to small businesses, offering pricing packages and screening options small businesses can afford. 

But a screening program requires more than just the screens themselves; your small business needs a solid background check policy that will guide your efforts going forward. What does your policy need to include?


Your background check policy begins with a clear statement of why your organization conducts background screenings. This is where you outline the benefits of screening, including workplace safety, industry compliance, and more. 

What is the most common background check for employment?

The most common types of background checks search for criminal activity, verify employment and education, including identity verification, and request driving records. Some employers also review credit, and social media, and conducted drug tests.


This section is where you give a comprehensive overview of what your screening program looks like. When presenting the scope of your program, you can answer questions such as the following:

  • Do you only conduct pre-employment screens, or will your program also include continuous employee monitoring? 
  • What positions will require background checks and why?
  • What checks will be required for those positions and why?
  • Why might some positions require rescreening, and what will that involve?


For applicants:

  • Define the process of initiating a background check. For example, your policy may state that a background check will be started once a job offer has been made and accepted and that the offer is conditional upon passing the screen. 
  • Communicate the adverse action process, how long the candidate has to make corrections or provide explanations, and details about how they can go about addressing these issues. 

For employees:

  • Define what triggers a rescreen.
  • Communicate the rescreening process and the adverse action process as well.

If you are working with a professional screening vendor, this section is where you can share relevant information about how that works. 


The final section addresses compliance and what your organization does to guarantee compliance with all background checks laws and regulations

The Bottom Line

If you want to have a smart, safe hiring practice, you need to conduct pre-employment background checks, and if you want to conduct background checks, you need a solid background check policy. Your background check vendor can help. Give them a call today to start defining your policy. 


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