What CAN’T you do when conducting free people searches for job interviews?

If one were to analyse the recruitment industry now, and compare it to the state that it was in twenty years ago, the difference is like chalk and cheese. It’s something that has completely turned on its head and mostly, this is for the better.

One area in which it has really changed is with background checks. Now, conducting free people searches is seen as completely normal by companies who are looking to recruit. In fact, if they don’t follow these principles, many feel as though they are just asking for trouble.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as straightforward as some sources would like you to hear. There are some obstacles, and through the course of today’s post we will take a look at some of the things employers can’t do as they bid to gather information on an applicant ahead of making a decision.

Credit history

The first “don’t” that we will cover comes courtesy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. As the name, and the sub-title for that matter covers, this is all about whether or not employers can delve into your credit history to make a decision on your application.

As it turns out, they can’t in most cases. In every case, they will need your consent before obtaining information, and even then they will need to tell you exactly how they are going to use it. Once they have received the information, they will also need to pass it on to you and allow you to dispute any information which might be presented in the report.

State laws

One of the most interesting areas is state law. It has become very common for employers over the years to tap into criminal records, and this is for good reason. After all, most organizations don’t want to be associated with an employee who has had a chequered history.

However, this isn’t entirely legal in all states. For example, in California, any criminal conviction which is more than even years old cannot be used in the decision-making process.

If we stay on the topic of California, the state also doesn’t allow applicant to pay for their own drug tests. Additionally, and this relates to the credit history check that we have already covered, the uses for these checks are very limited.

Current employment status

This next point might raise a few eyebrows, but while it is legal for an employer to find out whether a person is already in a job, it’s not legal for them to use this information.

Of course, this is where things start to blur together. After all, even if an employer was to find this out, due to the legal implications they wouldn’t have to explicitly reveal that a person’s employment status was the reason behind their rejection.

The chances of an applicant being rejected due this are of course slim, unless the company need to fill the vacancy as a matter of urgency.

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