Reasons to Run a Background Check Before Hiring a Contractor
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Reasons to Run a Background Check Before Hiring a Contractor

The pandemic accelerated the changes that were expected to take place in the employment landscape. Demand for contractors has increased exponentially in many industries. Moreover, companies’ desire and need to cooperate with independent contractors will only keep growing. Both contractors and traditional payroll employees can generate value for a business. Making sure you’re hiring the right person for the job has become more important than ever.  

This guide on running contractor background checks will tell you all you need to know before hiring a contractor and how to screen them in compliance with the law.

The Check is Completely Legal

You’re allowed to perform background checks for all purposes related to employment, including employee reassignment and promotion. According to the FTC, this category includes independent contractors, and these background checks are protected under FCRA guidelines. This check is completely legal. Still, the screening landscape can be complex, and you might not be aware of the relevant and specific laws to obey.

It pays off to create a screening policy that clarifies your intentions to run a background check. You need to specify the reasons for performing the check, as well as any other recruitment-related procedures your business has in place because contract workers aren’t like payroll ones.

Protecting Your Reputation and Image

Contractor background checks help protect your business’ reputation and image. Independent contractors are associated with your company through their interaction with your clients, staff, and other contractors. They are part of what represents your business. A background check prior to hiring will provide reassurance that you’ll be working with an entity that will represent your brand and business in the best way possible.

Setting a Uniform Standard 

You set a uniform standard among all employees by subjecting independent contractors to the same check as your other employees. They will uphold the same standards and will have undergone the same screening.

Ensuring Safety

Contractor background checks help ensure the safety of employees, and they also prevent legal hassles. By running one, you reduce the risk of negligence claims, financial losses, and physical damage by learning about a contractor’s history.

What is a Background Check for Contractors?

Similar to conventional employee screening, contractor background checks look at and verify elements of a person’s history. The main component is identity verification. You might also choose to verify their education and employment. Running a criminal background check is very important. Most contractor background checks include the global terrorist watchlist.

You can ask an independent contractor to take a drug test as long as you state your intent of this clearly and well in advance. You must also provide information about when you intend to do the test and specify your policy on substance use in the workplace. The contractor must view and agree to this policy before being asked to take a drug test.

How to Run a Background Check

The easiest way to run a background check on an independent contractor is to partner with a reliable provider of the specialized service. The right screening provider will have in-depth knowledge and expertise when it comes to this unconventional type of employment. They will take care of the legwork, working out all of the details the background check involves and making sure you remain compliant throughout the process. They will also know the applicable federal, state, and local legislation governing contractor background checks.

Price of a Contractor Background Check

The price depends on how you go about obtaining the data you need. Most states make certain records public, but they always charge fees for access, which can add up. However, you should beware of background check companies that offer “free” services. They are neither compliant nor comprehensive in their searches in most cases.  

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