Hiring Toolkit: Background Checks and Drug Testing

Today, more than ever, it seems that finding the right candidates for important positions in your company is unattainable. There are overall fewer applications, and after interviewing and thinking that you finally found the right people, they fail to pass the background checks or drug tests, or worse, you hire them, only to spend thousands to replace them a short time later.

Don’t leave it up to chance; take a look at our hiring toolkit to ensure you understand everything about background checks and pre-employment drug testing for hiring. It may be the difference between hiring studs versus duds. Let’s dive in!

Employment background checks

As a business leader, you want the best talent on your team. Whether that’s the best educated, best experienced, best leaders, or best citizens, you want people who will elevate your company with their hard work and positive representation of your values and vision. Employment background checks help you to make the right choice.

What is an employment background check?

An employment background check is a process of gathering information about an applicant to inform an HR professional or hiring manager about the character, experience, education, and criminal history of the applicant as well as other factors that demonstrate whether the applicant would fit the role or position.

It is common for employers to conduct background checks once they have narrowed the pool of applicants or have decided on a particular one.

What shows up in a background check?

The purpose of an employment background check is for you to find out as much information as you can about an applicant before hiring because the cost to replace a single employee can range from one-half to two times their annual salary, usually costing companies upwards of $2 million a year.

For this reason and the issue of safety, employers should conduct thorough background checks that include a variety of inquiries. Here are a few of the factors that should be included in a thorough background check:

  • Employment verification – Be sure to check with previous employers on the nature of the applicants’ roles, their responsibilities, and any awards or accomplishments that made the company better. Also, look for gaps in employment that you can ask about later—they may be a red flag or there may be a reasonable explanation.
  • Education and degree verification – There’s only one way to know if that science degree from Harvard is legitimate. If it is pertinent to the position, you can also get official transcripts that will tell you how well they did in physics and biology—even if they graduated summa cum laude or “thank-you laude.”
  • Criminal history – An applicant’s criminal history is of utmost importance when ensuring a safe and secure workplace environment. Aim to conduct a thorough background investigation that includes information from both a national and local level. The typical National Criminal Search is limited to only uncovering those criminal offenses where the local jurisdiction pushes the information up to that National Search, leaving holes in the areas that don’t report up. Hence the need to include more local searches so there’s complete coverage of all the areas in the applicant’s address history.
  • Professional reference checks – Make sure that the applicant’s references are legitimate, including their employers, titles, and contact details. References alone have the power to eliminate or highlight an applicant for your position, so be sure that the process is meticulous.
  • And even more for thorough background checks!

How to conduct a background check

You may decide to conduct an employment background check on your own, but you must understand the process before embarking on your mission to hire top talent. Let’s break down the steps to conducting a complete background check.

1. Step one – Review state and federal laws – Conduct research or speak with a professional regarding all local and national laws about how you can obtain information for background checks. There are national standards, but there are also specific laws for your state.

2. Step two – Create a background check policy – Like so many aspects of running a business, having a clear and detailed background check policy is essential to ensuring a fair and lawful process.

3. Step three – Consult a professional provider – Providers with years of experience in background checks as well as extensive knowledge of your discipline are your best bet for giving advice and administering background checks that are thorough, accurate, and impactful to your staff. Vet out providers in the areas of compliance to keep your business safe. If possible, a provider who also uses a convenient online platform should be your go-to for ease of use and staying up to date.

4. Step four – Let the applicant know – Allow the applicant to express any concerns they may have with their background screen as you’d likely want to know in advance and address before uncovering the information. You want to come across as direct and forthcoming about your current policy, so be sure to tell the applicant by interview, phone, or email that you will be conducting a full background investigation.

5. Step five – Review and document – Review the results of the background check to determine an applicant’s viability and then keep track of all the results by documenting—most effectively, online. If any adverse action is taken based on the information uncovered in the background screen, you are required to follow the FCRA guidelines. Ask your provider for any tools that can help you easily stay in compliance with the law.

Pre-employment drug testing

Background checks are not enough when it comes to ensuring a safe and secure workplace. Drug testing should also be a key component of the hiring process, but what drugs, which tests, and what provider? No need to worry. Let’s discuss the importance of pre-employment drug testing and the steps you need to take to pull it off without a hitch.

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What do pre-employment drug tests look for?

Pre-employment drug tests look for a variety of drugs and medications, some legal, but most are illicit drugs that cannot be used legally in any form. Some of these drugs include:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Fentanyl
  • Benzos
  • Methamphetamines
  • And more!

Depending on your state and industry, the type of drug test may vary. It may be best for you to conduct urine, hair follicle, nail, or blood testing for your pre-employment drug testing. The most common type of drug test for employment, however, is the urine test (urinalysis). It can reveal metabolites (small molecules in metabolism) of a drug long after the effects have worn off as they usually stay in the system for weeks if not months after use. Consult a licensed provider to discuss your options.

How long does it take to get drug test results for employment?

Several factors affect how soon you can review the results of a drug test, including the type of drug test requested, the specific drugs being screened, your lab provider, and whether the initial results were negative or positive.

Generally, it takes a couple of business days, but it could take only 24 hours or as long as a couple of weeks to receive results.

What is the cost of pre-employment drug tests?

The cost of pre-employment drug tests will vary but usually costs between a few dollars to under $100 per applicant, depending on the type of test and the number of drugs/drug metabolites analyzed. It is best to look for a provider that can offer multiple packages based on your unique needs.

Employment background checks and pre-employment drug testing in one?

When you decide to hire new employees, the top two priorities should be background checks and drug testing. You could go it alone, or you could consult an experienced provider that offers expert direction and a myriad of packages including ones that combine both background checks and pre-employment drug testing in one convenient platform.

The benefits of having one platform to order, access, review, and manage your background checks and your drug testing programs are many. Some of the benefits include:

  • Convenience
  • Efficiency
  • Automation
  • Streamlined process
  • Accuracy and compliance
  • And so much more!

Hiring Toolkit Checklist

  • Review state and federal laws to ensure an accurate and lawful policy and procedure.
  • Consult a professional provider to administer your background check and/or drug testing.
  • Inform the applicant that he or she must undergo a background check and drug testing.
  • Review and document all your applicants’ information and all results—ideally, in one convenient platform.
  • Based on your background checks, drug testing, and overall reason and discernment, choose the candidate that best fits the position, company, and vision.
  • Repeat for the next role!

Total Reporting

You can reference our Hiring Toolkit for the steps you need to take to both start and complete the hiring process. Similarly, you can speak with one of our professionals about the benefits of utilizing Total Reporting. Total Reporting is the ultimate hiring toolkit. On this one convenient online platform, you can order both background checks and drug tests and manage your results and forms. Some of the advantages you’ll receive with Total Reporting are as follows:

  • Consultation on what will meet your needs
  • Quick turnaround on background checks and drug tests
  • Custom packages
  • Quality customer service
  • Full FCRA compliance

Contact your local ARCpoint Labs or visit https://www.arcpointlabs.com/our-solutions/business-solutions/total-reporting-/ to get more information. We have been providing accurate, reliable, and confidential solutions for over 20 years, and we would love to help you and your business. Call us today!