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Feb 19, 2015

The scenario may seem familiar, whether through a real life experience or something you saw on TV.

You interview a candidate and it appears as if they would be perfect for a position with your company. But then, it’s revealed through their admission or a criminal background check that they had a past run-in with the law.

In every other way, the interviewee absolutely shines and would be a credit to your organization. You might be tempted to brush the information aside and hire him or her anyway.

5 reasons why you need to take precautions

However, there are several precautions you must consider when your candidate has a criminal record.

  1. You need to protect your entire workforce. Certain offenses, especially those involving violent acts, can affect the safety of your company’s personnel, so it’s wise to look carefully at criminal records. It’s not always the case that they will repeat violent behavior, but previous behavior could result in the person potentially causing harm to other employees.
  2. An employee’s criminal background can have an impact on your customers. Your business relies on customers to be successful, whether your company provides a product, a service, or both. Certain positions that require an employee to be in contact with your customers shouldn’t be filled by someone with a criminal background. Anyone who has been convicted of a crime involving violence, financial activity, or dishonesty might not be a great candidate for these customer-focused positions.
  3. A criminal background check is essential to safeguarding your business. In the event that an employee with a criminal background engages in illegal activity on the job, there is direct damage in the form of injuries or financial harm. However, you also open your company to lawsuits because you hired the candidate with knowledge of his or her past.
  4. A history of criminal convictions reveals the character of the candidate. Criminal records can be an indication of the personality and temperament of the person you’re considering. In some cases, the candidate’s past shows that he or she has no respect for authority or following rules. The employee may not resort to criminal behavior while on the job, affect the safety of your workforce or interfere with customer relationships; however, the person may be insubordinate, insolent or disrespectful. These character traits are signs that this particular job seeker isn’t the right fit for your company.
  5. Not all criminal records should disqualify a candidate. It’s certainly important to look into a candidate’s criminal past as part of the hiring process, but more importantly, remember that finding a criminal past doesn’t mean you should immediately disqualify your candidate. In particular, you must have the appropriate procedures in place to ensure your screening program is in compliance with state and federal laws.

At the end of the day, your candidate might be a great fit for a position with your company, but it’s essential to take every candidate’s situation on a case-by-case basis.

This was originally published on the EmployeeScreen IQ blog.