How Background Checks Using Fingerprints Impact Hiring Decisions

Fingerprint background checks are essential to vetting, especially for jobs in some finance sectors or positions requiring security clearance. They help you create safer workplaces and protect your customers’ information from fraudsters. They reveal criminal arrest dates, charges and details relating to previous cases. But they also have their limitations. EEOC guidance states that an arrest alone should not be used to make a hiring decision.

Criminal Records

Fingerprints are unique and can easily identify an individual, which makes them a good choice for criminal record searches. These checks typically include a person’s rap sheet containing information regarding arrest dates, charges, and case outcomes. It also provides basic information like birth, name, and employment. Sometimes, a background check includes information related to vehicle accidents, insurance claims, and statements made. Employers may use fingerprint background checks when hiring for positions that require a high level of trust. These jobs could include working with children or older adults, for example. However, New York law prohibits employers from making decisions based on an applicant’s conviction history during the interview process, or once a job offer is made. It can hurt them because persons of color are more likely to be detained and found guilty of crimes. However, some states allow employers to consider an applicant’s criminal history if the charges are relevant to the position. Therefore, it is important to have a written policy on background checks and how they can affect your decision-making process. Then, you can avoid any legal issues down the road.

Education Records

Many employers require fingerprint background checks for candidates for positions that involve high levels of trust, such as those working with children or elderly citizens. Background checks using fingerprints can reveal details about a person’s education, including dates of attendance and degrees achieved, as well as their identification and criminal past. However, using fingerprint background checks alone can lead to inaccurate hiring decisions.  Despite the myths surrounding fingerprint background checks, they are still the most common type of screening companies conduct, according to a Professional Background Screening Association survey. While these checks have their place in the hiring process, businesses need to understand their limitations and why additional searches are required to find the most comprehensive results. It will help them create safer workplaces and better protect their reputations and data that customers entrust. The more thorough a background check is, the better your business can prevent fraud and other threats.

Driving Records

When hiring employees who will be driving company vehicles or may be responsible for customers’ safety, companies often conduct a driving record background check. It can reveal traffic violations, collisions, accidents and other incidents a person has had while behind the wheel. This information can help an employer determine if a candidate is the right fit for their team. These checks can be performed with electronic fingerprinting, live scans or traditional ink impressions. However, a live scan is the best option as it performs rigorous quality controls.

Moreover, this type of vetting allows for instant results so applicants can receive their reports immediately. A fingerprint background check uses an applicant’s fingerprint, name and date of birth to search for criminal records in the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). However, it is important to note that not all arrests are recorded in IAFIS and that the system may not provide a complete picture of an arrest. Additionally, an IAFIS background check cannot include deleted records, and the EEOC recommends that employers limit their use of arrest records to cases relevant to the job. Hiring decisions based on this information could lead to disparate impact discrimination, so ensuring that your process is fair and accurate should be one of the most important parts of your vetting strategy. A strong policy document that outlines the steps, procedures and final decisions based on a screening’s results can be invaluable in preventing mistakes and legal liability.

Contact Information

If your company requires fingerprint-based background checks, Idemia can help with the process. Our fingerprinting services are available for candidates across the country at convenient locations.  Fingerprint-based background checks require cross-referencing an applicant’s prints against the FBI Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) database for criminal records. It results in a quick review, but the retrieved information can be limited. Criminal records only show up if the crime was reported to law enforcement, and fingerprints don’t always get filed with that information.

Using fingerprints for a national background check also doesn’t allow you to look at all the accompanying information – including disposition, date of release from jail or prison and other relevant details – about a specific crime. It can be a significant drawback for organizations that need more comprehensive information on an employee’s background. Fingerprint-based background checks are a great option for employers who need to screen firearms purchasers or people who work with children in the education system. Still, they’re not a reliable choice for other types of screening. For the most thorough and timely results, a name-based background check from a PBSA-accredited provider should be used instead.