Your Most Valuable Partner for Employment

By Todd Ruano

Background screening for employment can be an intimidating process for both the candidate and the employer. With numerous organizations regulating what information can and cannot be provided to employers, as well as policies that must be in place in order to use that information for employment, it can sometimes be difficult to tread the waters without having the right partner and the right tools.

Within the past few years, the human capital management industry has seen numerous class action lawsuits in regards to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and the consumer reports that they provide. With that in mind, it is imperative that your CRA is a “partner” and not just a “vendor.”

One of the most important factors to look for in a CRA is compliance with regulations set forth by the FCRA, FTC and EEOC. Each of these regulating bodies has a set standard for what personal background information CRAs can provide to clients and how the company receiving the consumer report can use that information.

Before choosing a CRA, research the companies that have been a part of current or past litigation. Most of these vendors are part of litigation due to their non-compliant investigative practices and reporting. Your company does not want to be vulnerable to a lawsuit due to the information provided from a CRA. Therefore, by first researching the CRAs you would like to consider, you will know that your chosen vendor is providing accurate information.

Using accurate, up-to-date and validated information is the most important aspect to a pre-employment background screening. You wouldn’t want your John Smith to be someone else’s John Smith. Therefore, it is imperative that your CRA provide you with information specific to your candidate. With that said, your CRA should validate the information with at least three identifiers (first name, last name, date of birth, social security number, etc.).

In addition, your CRA should only be providing convictions, not arrests, as set forth by the regulatory bodies of CRAs. With that in mind, your company, not your CRA, should be making hiring decisions based on the information provided. You should never receive a “hire” or “don’t hire” recommendation from your CRA. Instead, you should be provided with “hire” or “please review” recommendations.

The second thing every company should do before choosing a CRA is to research those companies that have been presented industry-leading awards for HR solutions, background screening and drug testing. HRO Today magazine provides an annual “Baker’s Dozen” list of the best background screening providers. This list of award-winning companies provided by HRO Today magazine is an evaluation of each CRA based on the consumer satisfaction ratings that are completed by each company’s clients. These lists will give you great recommendations of which companies to review during your evaluation process.

As previously mentioned, your CRA should be your partner in the employment process, not make it more difficult for you. By choosing a vendor based on the aforementioned pre-requisites, alongside your personal companywide evaluation, you can be confident in your CRA and the information that they are providing.

Essentially, your CRA is helping you build or expand the backbone of your company: your employees. By leaving your pre-hire education on candidates up to a CRA that you trust to do the right thing, you can be more confident in the people who you hire to help expand your business and push it forward to even further success.

Todd Ruano is a senior consultant for Global HR Research. He works with companies to find, select, assess, screen and hire quality candidates by providing the most advanced, intuitive and diagnostic technology in the human resource industry. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and a member of the national and local SHRM as well as the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Todd at



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