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Can a Background Check Be Done Without Consent?

The average hiring manager is privy to a candidate’s personal information. And that’s why hiring managers and candidates wonder, can a background check be done without consent? Here’s everything you need to know to answer that question honestly. 

Are Background Checks Done Before or After a Job Offer?

Background checks are typically done before a job offer is given. However, there is a critical exception to this rule. Fair chance hiring practices mandate that criminal background checks can only be done after an official job offer. 

What Background Check Do Most Employers Use?

The average employer uses the following types of background.

Criminal Background: Criminal background checks show up to seven years of criminal history. 

Identity Verification: ID verification confirms personal information such as name, SSN, age, etc. Identity checks also uncover identity theft and fraud. It’s an essential background check that every business should utilize.

Education Verification: Education history ensures qualifications, including degrees and licenses, are up to date and accurate. 

Types of Background Checks

There are a few other types of background checks in addition to those covered above. That includes;

Fingerprinting: Fingerprints are often combined with criminal background checks to uncover candidate history. 

Motor Vehicle Record: Also known as MVR, a motor vehicle record history is essential for roles that involve company vehicles. 

Credit History: Credit history, much like an MVR, is a niche background check often used for jobs requiring cash handling.

Is It Legal to Run a Background Check on Someone Without Consent?

The deciding factor in whether or not a background check is illegal is how it’s processed. Any time a 3rd party company conducts a background check, the candidate must sign a consent form. In comparison, if the business personally conducts the background check, then no consent is required. The distinction lies in the fact that a person has to permit their private information to be given to someone outside of their potential employer. 

Can someone run a background check without my permission is one of the most commonly asked questions. And the answer isn’t just about legality. Morals and ethics play a factor too. In the right circumstances, an employer can run a background check without consent. However, whether or not an employer should run a check without consent is a resounding no. Consider every hire a potential relationship, and starting any relationship off by violating the other party’s trust is no way to begin. If potential candidates find out background checks have been run without their consent, even if done in-house, it can tarnish your company’s reputation. As mentioned, hiring managers are privy to tons of countless personally identifying info, and betraying that trust is a big no-no. Collecting data for each report type is more challenging than it may seem. That’s why partnering with KarmaCheck to get access to reliable data saves you time.

Don’t waste countless hours trying to manually run a background check when KarmaCheck has the experience and know-how to do it much faster. 

Can Employers Pull an Applicant's Credit Report?

Employers can run a credit history on any candidate. A credit history report shows scores, debts, etc. It’s often used in jobs that involve cash handling, expensive merchandise, or executive-level positions. In addition, employers use credit reports to see how candidates handle responsibilities and manage long-term financial endeavors. It’s worth mentioning that running a credit history won’t negatively impact a candidate’s credit score.

How Should a Background Check Consent Form Be Made?

Background check consent forms are legal paperwork and should be made by a business’ legal or HR departments. There are shortcuts to creating background check consent forms, including finding free versions online. Cutting corners can open up legal setbacks. Any forms for the hiring process should be reviewed and updated annually.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that any company should use background consent forms, even when they aren’t required. Protect your business’ reputation, improve client experience, and do it all by asking permission before digging into a candidate’s history. As a hiring manager, it’s a good idea to contact KarmaCheck to get background checks you can rely on. Get started by contacting us today.


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