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Human Resources

4 Things to Verify When Hiring Talent

Christine Batten, PHR
by Christine Batten, PHR on March 2, 2017

hiring talent.jpgWhen it comes to hiring and retaining top talent, it’s important to vet potential employees thoroughly. But what information should employers verify? Employers may check a potential employee’s criminal background, as long as it’s authorized ahead of time. And employers may require candidates to undergo a drug screening prior to their start date as part of their drug and alcohol policy. But you should consider a few more things.

Here are four things you should verify when hiring talent, and how to go about the process.

1. Past Employment

While there aren’t necessarily laws restricting what information can be asked when verifying past employment, there are privacy laws restricting the amount of information that can be provided.

Due to defamation laws (such as libel and slander), most companies are careful about what they disclose to hiring managers. This is why many past employers will only confirm dates of employment, position and salary. State labor laws vary, so be sure to check your state labor department website for information on laws that limit what employers can disclose about former employees.

2. Education and Licensing

For many positions, a certificate, course, license or degree is required. Sometimes, without these acquired items, the candidate would not have the expertise and training needed to perform the job safely and correctly.

Over the years, hiring managers and recruiters have found if a candidate is going to be dishonest about anything, it’s usually his or her education.

Once the candidate has provided the basics such as the name and location of the school, major and year of graduation, the school’s registrar office can confirm the degree, license or certification.

If you can’t verify a degree for whatever reason, you can always ask a candidate to supply a diploma or transcripts.

3. Criminal and Credit Background Checks

Before a background or credit check may be conducted, employers must receive written permission from the candidate. If anything in the report leads an employer to decide against hiring the person, the candidate must be informed of the reason and given a copy of the report.

In all cases, employers should make sure to treat everyone equally. For example, it’s illegal to ask only people of a certain race or gender about their financial histories or criminal records.

Additionally, some states and municipalities prohibit or limit the use of credit checks for hiring.

4. Drug Testing

As with all screenings, if employers require one candidate to undergo drug testing, all candidates must be required to do it. That is unless there’s a legitimate business reason to treat groups differently (for example safety-sensitive positions vs. positions that are not safety-sensitive).

Many companies have a drug policy in place. Each state has its own laws about employment drug testing, but generally, the laws allow for drug testing of applicants provided that the applicants understand the testing is part of the hiring process for all employees. Some states require a formal offer of employment be given first.

Keep the following things in mind when conducting the drug screening process:

  • Testing should be completed before you put the candidate to work.
  • Testing will need to take place at a licensed independent medical laboratory, at the employer’s cost.
  • Candidates who refuse to test or don’t show up to test should no longer be considered for employment.
  • If an employee tests positive, the offer for employment should be rescinded.

Now that you have an idea of what to verify, you’re well on your way to tackling the hiring process in an efficient way, while staying in compliance with the law.

Remember, as a client of FrankCrum, the onboarding process is streamlined for you. We can handle all employment verification and process new-hire paperwork, so you can focus on training and team-building to retain your most valued employees.

Navigating HR Roadblocks

Christine Batten, PHR
Christine Batten, PHR

Christine has over 20 years of HR related experience with a background in labor and employment law.