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Accurate Background Records Are Worth the Wait

Many dealership owners and management staff understand background screening is a necessity, but sometimes a misunderstood service. Most dealerships want to hire qualified applicants quickly before the applicant has an opportunity to move onto a competitor. Although there can be frustrating delays, it’s important to understand that obtaining accurate records is vital to both your dealership and the applicant.

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Andrew Scott is an owner and principal of Scott-Roberts and Associates, LLC, which is an accredited background screening company awarded by the Background Screening Credentialing Council of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Many dealership owners and management staff understand background screening is a necessity, but sometimes is a misunderstood service. Most dealerships want to hire qualified applicants quickly before the applicant has an opportunity to move onto a competitor dealership. To that end, sometimes the background screening service does not come back with the completed report results for several more days than expected. 

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This can be due to difficulty accessing the records electronically because some counties have not digitized their respective records, requiring a court “runner” to physically respond to the courthouse to pull the records. Sometimes, a particular county or state is so bogged down with background screening record requests there’s a backlog of searches to be conducted and therefore a delay. Although this is frustrating to you, it’s important to understand that obtaining accurate records is vital to both your dealership and the applicant.

Initially bringing on board the services of a background screening company may seem to be somewhat of a maze of administrivia and paperwork. Unfortunately, the various documents needed to be reviewed and signed are necessary, as required by law, and a matter of good business practice. 

A dealership should never sign a contract from a screening provider that compels them to remain with the vendor for a certain period of time. The vendor should be confident enough to maintain its business relationship with your dealership based upon its quality of service, customer service and pricing without mandating a time constriction.

Keep in mind, once the initial set of paperwork is reviewed and signed, there is little other paperwork to be completed, other than ensuring each new applicant signs an authorization form to have a background check completed, which is separate from the employment application, and acknowledges via signature he/she has received a stand-alone disclosure form explaining the nature of the search. 

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Also, after a report has been completed and if there is adverse information on the report that may preclude the applicant from getting hired, a pre-adverse action letter must be sent to the applicant. Within five to seven business days, if the applicant does not contact your dealership to dispute the information on the background report, you must send an adverse action letter explaining that the person did not get hired.

The human resources department should consider its background screening vendor as an asset and a business partner interested in making sure you are following the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and keeping you abreast of changing background screening state laws that impact your business and hiring process. The relationship between HR and the screening vendor should allow for easy communication, quick resolution of real or perceived concerns or problems, and ongoing dialogue as to your specific needs and requirements. You should be able to reach out to your vendor 24/7 and speak to a real person, not wait until the next day or, in many cases, several days, before speaking to someone.

Your background screening vendor provides value to your operation by providing educational programs to you and your staff about its software platform, which is used to enter applicant information and retrieve completed reports; recent developments that are occurring in the background screening arena and various important requirements an employer must be aware of when conducting background checks. The one thing your background screening provider cannot, or should not, engage in is making a hiring decision for your dealership. However, you should be able to contact your provider to inquire about a report and obtain clarity as to what the report means, when needed, but ultimately the hiring decision falls upon the dealership. 

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The author of this article is not an attorney and offers no legal advice. The contents of this article should be reviewed by your corporate attorney before taking any action based on its content.

Click here to view more solutions from Andrew Scott and Scott-Roberts & Associates.

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