How Often Should You Review Your Background Screening Policy?

How Often Should You Review Your Background Screening Policy?

The year 2021 was unpredicted, reminding us of how quickly the workplace can change. Employers have found 2022 to be just as difficult. On the subject of an employment background screening, employers must ensure that these changes are reflected in their policies. A current company policy clarifies a background check and protects your company from potential responsibility associated with the usage of background screening information.

We asked participants how often they reviewed their background screening processes in its benchmark study, Our Insights: Talent Screening Trends 2022. The majority of respondents (44 percent) indicated they review their background screening policy every two to five years, and slightly more than a quarter said they review it annually. At least one-fifth of those polled indicated their company’s background screening policy isn’t reviewed more than once every five years.

Your background check policy not only outlines how your company conducts background checks but also serves as formal documentation that informs candidates and employees about your background screening policy, how frequently background checks are conducted, and the consequences of negative information discovered during a background check.

To help you minimize hiring risk and move candidates easily from application to hire, a well-designed policy integrates best practices and regulatory compliance updates. It also aids your company in improving the candidate and employee experience.

What is the purpose of a Background Screening Policy?

A Background Screening Policy for general businesses, as well as for hospitals and contractors, establishes standards for how an applicant’s history should be checked throughout the recruiting process for a particular company.

Some job candidates have a tendency to hide background information or exaggerate their achievements in order to look more qualified for the various positions for which they are competing.

A comprehensive Background Screening Policy can uncover important background information about candidates, allowing businesses to make educated hiring choices based on this information.

Employers that neglect to do Background Screening Policy may be held liable for negligent hiring if they recruit people who are not eligible for the position they are filling.

A strong background check policy enables employers and human resource experts in determining the processes to be followed during background checks, ensuring that pre-employment screening is both legal and successful for all parties involved.

In addition to providing a framework for how employment background checks will be conducted during the hiring process in a manner that is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other relevant laws, an employee background check policy also includes specific procedures for conducting background checks.

What are the benefits of having a Background Screening Policy?


It is important to have a well-written Background Screening Policy in place for the reasons listed below:

• Guidelines and procedures that are clear and consistent.

Background check policies can give organizations with standardized methods and clear recommendations for how pre-employment screenings should be completed, which can be beneficial to both employees and employers.

• Ensure that all applicable laws are followed.

Background check policies can assist companies in ensuring that they are in compliance with all relevant federal and state regulations when conducting employment background checks and relying on the information uncovered to make hiring choices.

• Specify a method for conducting role-specific background checks.

Good Background Screening Policy can assist organizations guarantee that candidates for positions needing increasing levels of responsibility get more thorough pre-employment checks, while those applying for entry-level positions receive thorough general pre-employment checks.

• Consistent Procedures for Reference and Background Checks

Finally, a Background Screening Policy provides human resources workers with standardized protocols to follow when checking references and background information for candidates, as well as when doing continuing background checks on existing employees, to ensure consistency.

-How Should You Review Your Background Screening Policy?

All of them, in a nutshell. Because background screening legislation varies greatly on a state and local level, as well as under new federal rules, every compliance of your background screening process should be analyzed, reviewed, and formally updated.

1. Different types of screening:

Your background screening policy should include everything from criminal background types to education and employment verification to drug screening and driving record checks. Which screening actions apply to specific job categories or descriptions should be included. For example, if allowed by applicable state legislation, background checks for employees with access to the company’s sensitive financial information may include a credit check, but such a search would not be necessary for employees in roles that do not have access to this information.

2. Consistency in screening:

Do you use the same screening process for similar job roles? Is every new employee subject to education and employment verification, as well as a drug test, or is there a policy that varies depending on location or other factors? Because differing screening actions could be regarded as discriminatory, consistency in screening for similar occupations is critical.

3. Compliance:

This should take into consideration changes in industry regulations as well as federal and state law. An approved Background Screening Policy partner can also give educational resources to keep you up to date on any regulatory, legal, or compliance standards that may apply to you. Employers should continue to work closely with their legal departments to ensure compliance with all policies.

4. Screening frequency:

This includes how frequently current employees are tested, or in the case of continuous monitoring, serves as a reference for your employees on what screening activities are conducted, as well as the consequences of screening reveals a new criminal charge, for example. Circumstantial screening policy could also be considered when determining frequency; for example, are employees engaged in a workplace accident drug tested within a particular time frame?

How to Develop an Effective Background Screening Policy

1. Gather all of the pertinent information:

Former addresses, dates of work, previous pay information, types of educational degrees, and other pertinent information that may be requested of a candidate. Having all of this information in one place can make the Background Screening Policy process run more smoothly and help to eliminate any inaccuracies that could slow the time it takes to conduct the background check.

2. Tell the truth right away:

When potentially harmful or contradictory information is presented. This quality assurance process can slow down the entire process, especially when combined with the process of giving the candidate the option to challenge inaccurate or incomplete information in the report, but it is legally needed for the Candidate’s protection.

3. Work with the screening provider:

Candidates can be contacted directly by screening providers to see if they can help with the process. This is especially typical when the provider comes across an unresponsive information source, such as a university, old employer, or professional reference.

The candidate’s participation – for example, providing additional ways of verification such as copies of diplomas or past pay stubs or W2s – can be quite helpful to the overall timetable. Furthermore, if a candidate lists someone as a reference, it’s critical to inform them of this and ask them to respond swiftly to help speed the process.

While the time it takes to affect a background check varies greatly based on the specific services that make up the check, we believe the broad recommendations above help both recruiters and candidates better understand how the final timeframe may be affected.

Reasons You Should Update Your Background Screening Policy Immediately

Regular reviewing Background Screening Policy ensures that you’re not over-screening (spending too much time or resources on checks), under-screening (spending too little time or resources on checks), or waiting on unduly long return times. Let’s Move Further.

1. Your company expands… or contracts

Significant changes in your company’s personnel count, whether heading upwards or downwards, indicate that it’s time for a thorough review of your Background Screening Policy.

As your company expands and new positions with new responsibilities are created, your screening packages will need to be updated to reflect these changes. Similarly, if your company needs to downsize and cut the number of employees, your HR budget and screening packages will be affected, so review and evaluate your packages. Keep in mind that adhering to EEOC requirements does not eliminate the necessity to screen everyone following fair hiring practices and the duties of their position.

2. Impact of New Regulations and Local Laws on Your Industry

New rules and regulations frequently affect whole industries. When a new law has an immediate impact on background screening, you must review and update your Background Screening Policy. Many states have unique background check requirements for certain industries, particularly those that employ industries that work with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable people.

Employees in some industries may be required to have a specialized professional license or certificate under new rules. As a result, you may want to include Professional License Verifications in your screening packages for certain positions to ensure that new hires have the requisite license and that it is genuine.

3. An incident involving workplace or customer safety occurs

It’s critical to screen employees more thoroughly and frequently in industries where employees interact with consumers, clients, and vulnerable populations, such as plumbers, contractors, in-home healthcare workers, and nurses, to build customer and employee relationships based on trust and safety. Regular tests also help in fostering a sense of trust and safety in the workplace.

Updating your Background Screening Policy to incorporate continuous criminal record checks and/or re-screening employees at regular intervals (such as every three or six months) provides you with information on important changes in your team’s Background Screening Policy and can help to reduce risk over time.

Your service provider should let you tailor your screening packages based on your industry and job duties. Regularly review your screening packages with your provider to ensure that you and your provider are both vigilant, compliant, and knowledgeable about new local and federal rules and regulations.

4. Your company’s screening policy is impacted by a new law

When laws and regulations governing Background Screening Policy change, you and your background check provider must take efforts to ensure that you and your provider remain compliant. If you hire in many states, this is very crucial. Unintentional gaps in compliance awareness don’t give you a pass, and non-compliance penalties can be costly.


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