Background Checks

Hiring in Healthcare Can Be Tricky

Many aspects of hiring someone to fill a position at an organization are daunting. Mess up one thing and you risk hiring the entirely wrong person for the job. But what if the signs were there but you were completely unaware of them? Background checks can help weed out people who are wrong for the job you are hiring for, but if done incorrectly, the company can face legal repercussions.

It goes without saying that jobs in healthcare, especially those involving the care of children, have strict regulations when it comes to hiring. Sex offenders and those with assault charges against them are not necessarily people that doctors and hospitals would like to have caring for patients by themselves. In instances like this, of course background checks are a legitimate way to filter applicants.

What if a candidate has a history of drug use 20 years ago? On one hand, past behaviors are often a good predictor of the future, but this does not leave room for a basic human attribute– people change. A 35 year old today is most likely vastly different from who they were at age 15.

Someone who divorced their abusive spouse in their twenties and fell deeply into debt as a result is not inherently bad, even though a credit check on them may say otherwise. Does this make them someone a job should pass over?

Those with a criminal background are protected under discrimination laws; not hiring a person because of their record can result in a legal battle that the hiring company cannot win (Batten & Holland, 2017). Checking a candidate’s credit report is often a way that employers get around this– if someone is in shady dealings or has a criminal history, there is a good chance that their credit score is not optimal. Hiring based on this sort of report is sort of a legal loophole that allows employers to predict whether an applicant is trustworthy or likely to steal and defraud the company (Nerdwallet, 2019).

As far as hiring goes, background checks do not seem to be going anywhere and (sometimes) rightfully so. It is important to screen people for jobs, as long as the information found in the screening is accurate and is not used to discriminate against the applicant. It is not a cut and dry issue, unfortunately, but a good HR company and lawyer can better navigate this legal jungle rather than a single office manager. Ultimately, remaining unbiased while holding true to a company’s priorities is the goal. Hiring fairly with all of the information provided from both the background checking and what the applicant provides is the best way to fill any positions within your company.

Batten, J. & Holland, R. (2017, October 20). FCRA 101: how to avoid risky background checks. Retrieved from
Nerdwallet. (2019, June 18). Why employers check credit– and what they see. Retrieved from

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