What Should an Employer Do if a Candidate Fails Their Background Check?

August 16, 2021

Human Resources Planning Background Check Failures and What Your Next Steps Should Be

Recruiting can be a challenge for any business owner or HR manager. The experience might feel disheartening when an HR manager is confident they have found the right person for the role, but they fail a background check.

It can come as a shock when a candidate fails a background check and puts a wrench in the hiring process. A candidate may have interviewed well and appeared to be the perfect fit for the available role, but a problematic history might have employers thinking twice. After months of hard work between phone calls and interviews, it’s frustrating when a background check raises red flags. An important decision lies ahead for senior leadership and HR managers; should the candidate be rejected, or should the candidate be offered the job despite a failed background check?

Truthfully, a background check might reveal key information about a candidate that can predict potentially poor performance or spot negligence and bad behavior in the workplace before it happens. Making an informed hiring decision is crucial, and background checks offer important information regarding a candidate’s criminal history, driving record, and credit history. Properly screening candidates can ensure that the work is completed to expected standards while creating a safe and productive work environment.

A business can still hire an employee despite a failed background check. The information obtained from a background check might be irrelevant to the role, and all factors will have to be considered when a candidate fails a background check.

Red X Common Reasons a Candidate Fails a Background Check

There are a number of ways that a background check can be considered a fail. There is a multitude of red flags that might have an employer thinking twice about hiring a candidate. Some information commonly found on a background check may prove to be more relevant than others, and the context of the position must be considered when reviewing a background check.

  • Criminal histories are a common reason for a failed background check. A candidate who has gone to jail because of violent or financial crimes signifies that further misconduct could arise in the workplace. Regulations and other legal requirements will quickly complicate hiring of candidate who has a criminal history, and employers will have to follow best practices to remain compliant throughout the process.
  • Education verification might reveal that a candidate has lied about their credentials, including professional designations and degrees.
  • Mis-matched professional experience is a sign that a candidate has been dishonest on their resume. Embellishments surrounding dates are extremely common among many candidates, and background checks can spot red flags that don’t add up.
  • Problematic financial credit history might be a reason not to hire a candidate into a key financial role. Financial crimes or other professional disciplines can be enough reason to pass on a candidate.
  • Driving histories that include drinking and driving charges are highly problematic for any role that includes driving a vehicle. Employers who are part of the delivery and logistics industry should be particularly interested in a candidate’s driving history.
  • Failed drug tests may have employers reconsidering applicants in safety-sensitive roles. The laws and regulations surrounding drug tests vary between jurisdictions.

Office Building Background Check Failures and Best Practices for Employers and Business Owners

What happens next when a candidate fails their background check? As an employer, you have the responsibility to ensure you remain compliant with any regulations and requirements.

Policy Considerations

First, consult any corporate hiring policies regarding a failed background check. A proper corporate policy should outline the specifics regarding every element of the background check and what information the employer will be collecting.

Pre-Adverse Notice

If an employer does not hire a candidate based on information obtained in a background check, applicants must be informed with a pre-adverse notice. Offer candidates a copy of the background check along with a link to the “A Summary of Your Rights” from the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Candidate Response

Offer the candidate ten days to respond to the pre-adverse notice and consider all possible options, along with whether the candidate wants to dispute the employer’s findings.

Decision on Hiring

Make a final decision and review the policies outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure compliance.

Sending an Adverse Action Notice

Inform the candidate with an adverse action notice detailing that the employer will pass on hiring the individual due to the information discovered in the background check. Explain the reasons for not hiring the candidate and keep a copy for HR’s records.

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Background checks help employers make informed decisions and ensure the quality of their workforces. HR managers and senior leadership need complete information to promote a healthy work environment while filling important positions in the company. A failed background check doesn't always mean you must pass on a candidate, but more information will help improve the hiring process. Completing proper due diligence for HR matters can be complicated, and background checks for employment can offer solutions to many common problems within the recruitment process.

Powered by ISB Global Services, OrderYourBackgroundCheck.com allows candidates to order their own criminal background checks so that HR managers can complete their due diligence without the cost of a background check. Now, you can request that a candidate order and provides their own background screening credentials as a condition of accepting a position.

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