How To Run Employee Background Checks: A Simple Guide

May 13, 2019 | Complete Employee Screening

How To Run Employee Background Checks: The Complete Guide

Most companies realize the importance of background checks and how much they can help or hurt a company. However, if you don’t have a proper process set up for your screening, it can add unnecessary cost and complexity for yourself and your company.

We’ve outlined some simple steps on how to get started with background checks and what the process looks like! Hopefully these steps help answer some of your questions.

1. Establish A Background Check & Drug Testing Policy

The first step to running background checks is establishing a clear and consistent policy on how your background checks (and/or drug testing) will be performed. This will not only help protect yourself and your company from discrimination/liability issues, but it will also help your entire screening process run more smoothly and efficiently.

Your screening policy should be drafted by both your HR department and legal counsel. Together, they should be able to create a policy that will work for your specific needs, industry, and location. We also have a generic policy that we can send you to help you get started with drafting your own screening policy. SHRM is also a great resource for generic policy outlines. But please remember! Employment laws differ in different states or counties as well as within different industries so please make sure you are familiar with laws that may apply specifically to you.

2. Consent Form

The next step is to provide your applicant with a consent form. They must sign this in order for you to be able to legally perform a background check or drug test. Once you have received the applicant’s consent, you can then move on to the next step.

3. Run The Background Check Through Our System

Now that you have consent, you can run your background check! We have multiple options or ways in which you can run the applicant’s information through our system.

ATS Integration: (integration option) Our system can easily integrate with a wide variety of applicant tracking systems and HR software. This means that you can easily access screening data about your applicant from within your system.
Quick App Pro: (link option) A lot of our clients feel that this is the easiest and best option. If you want to use QuickApp Pro, we will set up a customized link for your account. This can include your logo and custom verbiage for your clients. You can embed this link into your website or email it out—whatever is easiest for you! With this option, the applicant’s information will be sent electronically into our platform where we can process the background. We will then email you the results with a flag or not flagged status.
Quick App: (email option) This option is also a great way to save time and cut down on potential mistakes. You will need to login to our platform and input your applicant’s first and last name along with their email address. The platform will then send the applicant an email asking them to complete their background check. We can set this emailed link to expire in however many days you would prefer.
Manual Entry: (entry option) The entry option does require a little bit more work and review for you, but we still have a variety of clients that utilize this option. With this option, you have the applicant fill out a paper authorization form and then enter all of that information manually into our platform for us to process.

If you are not a client with Blueline Services, please ensure that your screening provider is a certified FCRA-compliant Credit Reporting Agency. The Fair Credit Reporting Act has established guidelines and regulations that screening providers must adhere to under federal law.

4. Receive Results & Make A Decision

Our system will help you stay up-to-date on any progress with your applicant’s screening. Once we have performed all of the checks and verifications you selected in your screening package, we will send you an email with a link to your applicant’s screening results.

After receiving the results, you are then able to make a more informed hiring decision!

(Please remember that in states where ban-the-box rules apply, you must make a hiring decision first before running a background check.)

4. Follow Pre-Adverse And Adverse Action Requirements

If you decide to hire the applicant that you ran the background check on, then you are good to go! The screening process for hiring that applicant ends here and you are able to send them an employment offer.

However, if you decide to deny an applicant based on findings from your screening report, you must send that applicant both a pre-adverse action letter and adverse action letter. This gives the applicant a chance to review and respond to the findings within their background check. Applicants are given 30 days to appeal if they feel a mistake has been made.

Within our screening system you are easily able to send out both automated pre-adverse and adverse action letters. They are available within a dropdown menu in our system.

After your decision has been made, send out the pre-adverse action letter in order to inform the applicant of your denial and give them a chance to appeal. Then, after a reasonable amount of time has passed for the applicant to be able to respond to the letter (around 3-6 days), you can send the adverse action letter. (please note: the applicant will have a total of 30 days from when the initial pre-adverse action letter was sent to appeal the findings)


Those outline the basic steps to running employment background checks. If you have any further questions about this process or need to get started with your own screening process, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Have questions about what’s included in an employment background check? Take a look at our post here about some basic employment background check options!