Applicant Consent - Screening Potential Employees

by Joe Killinger

The first and most important step in employment screening is to obtain applicant or employee consent. You must make applicants aware that they will be subject to an employment background check, and the candidate/employee must sign a written consent form before you conduct the research. This must be a stand-alone document, separate from the actual tenant / employment application. An employer, landlord or creditor must let the applicant know the background checks will be used in the decision-making process and provide the applicant with a copy of their Summary of Rights under the FCRA. The FCRA requires consent so be sure to get started on the right foot, make sure  the form is filled out in its entirety. Keep the written authorization form within the applicant’s file. The applicant must also be provided a written form (separate from the application) with a space for them to include their personal information, name, address, date of birth and social security number if required for the type of background check you wish to obtain. Make sure to list the type of checks you will be doing and include a statement that the information you obtain from the results will be used in the decision-making process. Have the applicant sign and date the authorization form. This will ensure you have proper documentation showing you have authorization should the need arise later. Do not destroy this document. You may black out sensitive information such as the social security number if needed.

If you have a situation where you need to run a background report on a minor they will very often require a parent or legal guardian’s signature in order to initiate the background check. This is because many states have decided that minors are not capable of giving consent for background checks.

Besides state and county requirements, many juvenile detention centers also require consent from the minor’s parents as well. The same situation applies with abuse and neglect registries, though their information may not even be accessible.

The consent forms are easy to come by and only take a few minutes to complete, simply do an internet search for a form that you are comfortable with and tailor it to your company’s specific needs. Having each individual fill out this form can save our company.

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