The labor shortage in construction over the past few years has created quite an aggressive hiring environment. Job-sites need workers, and when someone shows up and has a relevant work history, companies often jump to secure the labor. But other than the experience listed on the application, what do you really know about that person you’re bringing onto your site and into your team?

According to risk management expert Sean Purcell, it’s vital for employers to perform background checks for every new team member. Plus, for many contracts—like government or hospital work—background checks are required. In this article, he elaborates on the importance of this hiring practice.

History matters

Regardless of the position, general background checks lead to smart hiring decisions. This information not only reveals the character and past behavior of a potential employee, but it also helps ensure a safe workplace for coworkers, subs, and customers. Intellicorp, the background screening service relied upon by Builders Mutual, emphasizes that making the wrong hire can also jeopardize revenue and increase liability risk.

Learning about past mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean a potential employer must exclude a person from being hired. It can give an employer the context to make a good decision, especially relative to the role of the prospective employee. Moreover, the level of screening done is also determined by position. For example, if the job entails going into occupied homes or driving a company vehicle, a more advanced background check is necessary, because the liability risk is much higher. Screening may include a DMV history, drug testing, and a multi-state check. A general laborer, however, may only require a criminal history.

Top 5 screening tips

Intellicorp has provided these key best practices to help improve job-site safety and efficiency and to ensure employers are compliant with hiring laws.

  1. Have a screening policy, and put it in writing.

Be sure your background screening policy is well-written and comprehensive to standardize procedures.

  1. Comply with legal guidelines.

There are federal, state, and local laws that impact the employment screening process, including those from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  1. Apply consistent screening methods for each job position.

Different jobs may require different levels of background screening, so position-specific standards should be developed. Refer to the EEOC guidance and its recommended “targeted screen” when conducting background checks.

  1. Establish criteria to evaluate background check results.

Determine the standards that will either qualify or disqualify an applicant, and be consistent. The EEOC recommends considering the nature of the job, the amount of time since the offense occurred, and the type of gravity or conduct of the offense.

  1. Conduct regular background screening program audits.

Laws change frequently, so regularly review your background check program. Also be sure to keep information about job applicants and employees confidential.

It’s who you know

In addition to official screenings like those facilitated by Intellicorp, a personal recommendation can speak volumes to the character of a potential employee. If you already work with someone who has proven himself or herself to be valuable and trustworthy, their connections are likely a great place to start. Word-of-mouth hires have been a standard well before online information access was a thing. Give it credence, for sure—and do a background check.

Don’t forget, too, that you can do background checks on the companies with which you’re doing business—not just individuals. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and OSHA are great places to start. Personal recommendations work here as well, and there are numerous online recommendation resources like Angie’s List, Google, and Yelp.

Every person you hire has the potential to be a superstar or a liability. Be sure to do your due diligence with appropriate background screening, so, ultimately, you build a winning team.

Since Builders Mutual partners with Intellicorp, our customers receive a discount for using Intellicorp’s services. For more information, contact Intellicorp today.