How to Create a Post-Hire Background Check Policy

SVP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

Traditionally, the background check process is performed in tandem with skills assessments and final interviews during the hiring process. However, in 2021, about 19% of organizations conducted post-hire background checks, according to survey data from the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). That's up from 12% in 2020.

Some of the shift is because employers want to hire swiftly and extend hiring offers contingent upon a background check, but a growing number of employers are shifting to a formal annual or continuous screening process.

There are multiple benefits for employers who perform continuous post-employment screening, including maintaining a safe workplace, mitigating potential risk, and protecting your company from liability.

If you plan to implement post-hire background checks, your policy and notice to employees should reflect this – along with what happens if an employee does not pass a post-hire background check.

Your Post–Hire Background Check Policy

If possible, your employees should sign paperwork consenting to post-hire background checks when they are first hired. However, if you are beginning new post-hire policies you’ll want to ensure your current employees are informed and sign any legally necessary documents. There are several areas to consider when creating your post-hire policy.

Why does your company screen candidates and employees? This is an opportunity to explain the relevance and reason for your organization’s background screening, highlight the benefits of safety in the workplace, and cover specific types of screening that apply to your industry. For example: positions like delivery drivers require Department of Transportation (DOT) background checks while dispatchers do not. If screenings are random or not explained, it could feel invasive and negatively impact employee morale. Transparency, education, and open communication about how these screenings keep all employees safer can support your new post-hire policy. 

What is the scope of your screening process? This should include what kind of background screening will be conducted, when it will take place, and a comprehensive list of what could be contained in the background check. This is also where you will outline when the background screening or rescreening occurs, if it is pre-hire and post-hire and the frequency of screening (annual or continuous).

Will there be different screening processes for different roles? Not all job titles or all industries require the same type of background checks. Positions that involve activities like driving or operating heavy machinery may be subject to additional screening, as will roles that require a professional license or certification verification, such as in nursing or home health. 

What is the screening procedure? This should clearly state that your company is conducting post-hire continuous screening. It should include the process for initiating a background check, including adverse action notices, as well as the procedures for a third-party background screening vendor.

Have you covered all the legal bases? The information here could, for example, include a statement about how your organization complies with all laws governing any restrictions regarding background checks. An important note here: Regulations around background checks are complicated and they are evolving rapidly. The laws surrounding background checks differ greatly depending on a wide variety of factors, including which state your organization is operating in, which state your employee resides in, state legislation around background screening and even the industry you’re in.

As companies move toward more streamlined, post-hire strategies to accelerate onboarding and provide easier candidate experiences, working with an accredited vendor partner like Cisive can help you ensure that your background screening policy is current and mitigates any legal risk possible.