While it may seem obvious to some, if making the best hiring decision possible is important and, therefore, the employer plans to do a thorough and appropriate background and/or reference check, it’s critical to have every candidate sign a waiver which grants to the prospective employer or their agents express permission to contact previous employers, references, and anyone else familiar with the candidate’s work history.  Why is that so important?  Because without the candidate’s permission, the prospective employer could be facing an invasion of privacy charge.  Furthermore, failing to inform the candidate of his/her rights could also violate the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, (FCRA).

While some employers occasionally don’t want the person they’re most interested in to know he or she is a prospective candidate for employment, if any sort of pre-employment screening is done without the prospective candidate’s prior knowledge, the ice upon which the prospective employer is walking becomes extremely thin.  While it is understandable that a prospective employer might not want a current employer to know they’re going to try to lure a valuable employee away, the current employer’s permission isn’t required for anything associated with the attempt.  However, the prospective employee’s permission is required before doing any sort of background check.

Lots of information can be obtained from the candidate in informal ways – like taking the prospective candidate to lunch or having a meeting with him or her to talk about the level of interest the individual might have in making a career move.  Before any sort of background checks or reference checks are done, it’s sincerely to be hoped that the prospective employer will have reached the point in the selection process where the individual can be told he or she is being considered for employment and, hopefully, the individual will have expressed a mutual interest in making a career change.  It’s at that point that waivers and the FCRA Applicant Disclosure and Release of Information document should be signed – so both parties know what the next steps are.

Reaching this point in the process also accomplishes another important objective: It’s an ideal time to ask the candidate to provide the necessary information for a background check to be done and to supply the names of appropriate references to be contacted.  This puts the whole exercise clearly on top of the table.

To make the entire process easier, Barada Associates has samples of both documents available on our website.