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Criminal and credit background checks declining20 Jul 2012 08:59 am

glass.jpgThere’s some good news for job seekers who have been faced with financial issues, or have had brushes with the law.

Fewer employers are snooping into your criminal or credit background today.

Criminal background checks have become increasingly popular partly because technology has made it easier to dig up dirt and partly because hiring managers want any tools to help them weed through the many applicants, given the tight labor market.

But such reviews had a tendency to disproportionately hurt African-Americans and Latinos, according to many labor advocates. Not to mention the fact that lots of other job seekers from all groups who’ve faced unemployment, or underemployment, have faced money woes and may have had their credit histories impacted as a result.

Steps by the federal government and states to crack down on the practice have gotten everyone looking more closely at the process.

“Some of the decline in the use of credit checks may be related to measures put in place by state governments and municipalities, as well as increased attention to the issue,” said Mike Aitken, vice president of government affairs at the Society of Human Resource Management.

The organization just released its figures on such background checks and found:

More than one-half (53 percent) of respondents to a SHRM survey said they don’t use credit background checks in hiring. That’s an increase from 2010, when 40 percent of organizations reported not using credit checks, and from 2004, when 39 percent did not.

“Employers – through their HR professionals – are continually evaluating practices and programs. And this is no different,” Aitken said.

“We think employers are looking more closely at these practices,” he continued. “They want to ensure that any screening or evaluation tool used during the hiring process is related to the duties of specific positions and consistent with federal law prohibiting job discrimination.”

Amen to that.

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