In an age when the federal government can not monitor the status of millions of illegal immigrants, American businesses have no problem downloading the personal lives of its citizens.
Businesses today prefer to use the internet for easy access into the backgrounds of job applicants. Whether enlisting a consumer reporting agency or using in-house staff, prescreening of potential employees effectively eliminates many candidates at minimal cost.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs an applicant’s rights when scrutinized by a consumer reporting agency, but consumer reports generated by a company’s own staff are not. Individual states vary with regard to content that may be reported.
The result is a no-strike policy that prevents qualified, proven workers from gaining employment. The repercussions of this practice are rumbling just below the radar.
Consider these examples:
John crafted a stellar work record over 18 years in the service of two companies. He worked every day, qualified for bonuses, and received promotions. When his company was sold, John got a glowing letter of recommendation to go with his pink slip.
After several futile job inquiries, John realized a shocking truth. A mistake he had made six years earlier had rendered him unhirable. That misdemeanor conviction would haunt his future job searches.
Ellen worked full time and managed to take classes at the local community college. Three years ago she had been falsely arrested, but was exonerated in court. When she applied for a better job, she learned that “not guilty” does not mean innocent.
The arrest and court appearance were documented on her background check. The job went to a less qualified applicant with a “clean” record.
The business stance in conducting background checks is a legitimate one. The wrong hire can lead to lost revenue, decline in moral, even civil litigation. In some industries various checks are required by state and federal law, find more about this.
Furthermore, a background check is an effective and inexpensive way to sift through stacks of applications and saves valuable resource time spent poring over resumes that are often exaggerated. Credit history and driving records also can be obtained when appropriate to screen for pertinent positions.
These computer generated reports are outstanding at identifying any blemish in a person’s life. Therein lays the problem. Frequently these reports represent a dead end for an otherwise worthy candidate before the first interview has taken place, eliminating the human element from the hiring process, and any hope for second chances as well.