So, you’ve received a background check on an applicant for your business that has criminal records found on it, now what? How do you know if an applicant is a good or bad fit for your company based on their criminal record? You can’t discriminate, but you don’t know what crimes make a person a liability for your company. We recently had a client ask how to tell if an applicant is qualified for the job based on their background check. Here are a few ways to use a consumer report to judge if an applicant is a good candidate or not.
We recommend that companies hire for the strengths of an applicant rather than the weaknesses. Consider the severity of the crime and if a person’s past convictions make them a liability for the position they applied for. If you are hiring someone in a driving position, check for DUI related convictions; or if you are hiring an accountant, check for fraud and theft. Consider how long ago the offense happened. If sufficient time has passed and they have no crimes committed since then, they could still be a viable option for your company.
It’s important to give an applicant the opportunity to explain what’s on their record. This gives them the opportunity to show they are honest and can be trusted. Sometimes background checks can give an impression that’s not entirely accurate. Giving the applicant the chance to explain it themselves can give you more insight to the nature and severity of the crime. If you are on the fence on someone, this information can help you determine if they are the right fit for the job or not.
The number of Americans that have criminal records is substantial and keeps growing every day. There is no federal data on how many Americans have a criminal conviction. Therefore, most statistics are based off FBI records which only show felony arrests, convictions as well as non-convictions. From October 1, 2017 through today, SimpliVerified has performed background checks on 65,046 applicants; 7,933 of which had a hit. In other words, 12% or 1 out of every 9 applicants have a hit on their record. Keep in mind, this data is only for applicants that have a conviction for misdemeanors and felonies or have active cases. With this many people having some sort of record, companies must reexamine their hiring processes, and ensure they are acquiring the best of the applicant pool.
It’s important to remember that not all crimes are dangerous and therefore not all criminals are dangerous. Look for the best in people and remember that you can change someone’s life by helping them reenter society in a positive way. Avoiding an applicant for a weakness or a non-applicable mark on their background check does not benefit anyone. If the applicant is talented or has experience with the position, and you can tolerate and balance the other risk that they bring, then they are a good hiring option.