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Question:Â I am finding an increasing number of small and medium size businesses conducting background checks as a condition of employment.Â I find this largely intrusive, especially the credit checks! What gives?
Answer:Â Yes, background checks may feel intrusive.Â Even the most honest, upstanding person might feel slightly paranoid â€“ which is a natural response - even when thereâ€™s nothing to hide.Â But, letâ€™s consider the possible reasons behind the investigative process.
Background checks cost very little time and money on an employerâ€™s part upfront.Â But, a lawsuit, down the road, due to a careless hire, could be far more costly!
Consider the nature of the position for which you are applying.Â Will you be driving a company vehicle, operating heavy machinery or handling money for your new employer?Â Â If so, then letâ€™s take it to the next level.
Employers pay hefty insurance premiums throughout the year to cover you in the event of a car accident in that company vehicle, an accidental injury from operating that heavy machinery or accidentally loosing the nightly deposit?Â Yes, accidents happen! Thatâ€™s what insurance is for.Â But, letâ€™s take it another step.
A law suit resulting from one of those accidents is far more costly when hindsight reveals that the accident involved an applicant with a poor driving record, drug abuse, or history of writing bad checks.Â
So, the next time you are required to submit to a background check, remember that even though it feels like an invasion, it is most likely just a preventative measure to protect against a costly accident (or even a crime).Â Businesses take precautions such as background investigations so that they can offer their employees a drug-free workplace, an end to workplace violence and even, a heftier paycheck once those insurance premiums come down!Â
Still, if you are completely convinced that a background investigation is just too invasive, then consider your options. Nick Corcodilos from Ask the Headhunter, suggests that you could try the following:
1.Â Respectfully request the reasoning for, letâ€™s say: a credit check, especially if you wonâ€™t be handling sensitive or financial information.Â
2.Â You may also respectfully request a written statement from the company stating that if your credit or personal information is compromised, the company agrees to accept full responsibility and remedy the damages.Â
Of course, either of these options may forfeit your job offer, so be willing to go out on a limb!