3 Reasons Why All Companies Should Conduct Criminal Background Checks

We've been writing a series of blog posts about criminal record checks. Here are links in case you missed our earlier installments:

Now let's talk about why ALL companies, large and small, should run criminal history checks on job candidates.

1. Consider this stat: 70 million Americans have a criminal record.

That's one in three adults. Keep in mind that this number is based on the FBI's definition of a criminal record.

criminal-record-quote[Source: Politifact]

We can quibble on the definition, but our point is still apt: chances are if you're an employer, you will have job candidates who have criminal records.

As an employer, you'll want to make an informed decision on every hire. Among other things, a criminal background check can help you gauge whether previous behavior could negatively affect an applicant's ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the position and/or pose a potential risk to clients and co-workers. While not foolproof, past behavior is often indicative of future behavior. (See further discussion on our Screening Continuum page.)

2. Ban-the-box legislation increases the necessity for criminal background checks.

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Currently, 33 states and over 150 cities and counties have ban-the-box legislation. According to Fast Company, "While criminal records may be uncovered in background checks, ensuring that people have a clean slate when applying initially allows them to present themselves to employers as qualified workers, not just a checked box on an application."

Banning the box creates a level playing field for job applicants—and this is a good thing. But it's still smart to conduct criminal history checks on job candidates after extending a conditional employment offer. And then, of course, if you decide to reject the candidate because of information you learn from the background check, you must conduct an individualized assessment and issue a compliant pre-adverse action notice, followed by an adverse action notice.

3. A quality criminal record check can reduce the risk of hiring a bad employee.

Think of all the costs associated with bad hires—recruitment costs, onboarding/training costs, "disruption" costs, severance, the cost of replacing the bad hire, the potential plummeting of workplace morale—the list is seemingly endless. Search "cost of a bad hire" in Google, and you'll find countless articles, all of which offer startling stats.

Even if you take the most modest money numbers cited in these articles, the bottom line is this: a bad hire WILL cost your organization. So if you can avoid a potential bad hire through a criminal background check, you'll likely save your company money and aggravation—not to mention potential lawsuits and brand damage that could result from ongoing criminal activity (for example, if your employee steals your customers' credit card numbers).

Remember, you use criminal background checks to inform your hiring decisions. If you're considering a job applicant for an online customer service position, it might not matter as much to discover the applicant was convicted of a DUI three years ago. But if you were considering the same applicant for a delivery position, that information would likely matter very much.

Let us help you hire more good eggs.
We know how important it is to hire well—and to hire fast. We can deliver both. (Check out this case study where we reduced time-to-hire by 44 percent—not a typo!) Then, let's talk about your employee screening needs.

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Madge Patterson

Posted by Madge Patterson

Madge is the Director of Operations at Good Egg. A self-described “operations maven” she has spent the past 15+ years applying her passion for process improvement and optimization to various operations and program management roles in the background screening industry. She is an avid baker who often shares her creations with her Good Egg colleagues.

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