How Individualized Assessments Support Fair Chance Hiring

, , , | July 18, 2023 | By

A criminal background check involves searching for standard types of information, such as Social Security number traces, county court record searches, and registered sex offender registry searches. However, a screening process should also allow you to consider job seekers on their merits. Otherwise, you could miss out on some well-qualified employees.

Criminal background checks are essential to safe and secure hiring, but it’s also important to understand the search results in context. For instance, if a job seeker has a blemish on their record, how relevant is that finding to the position you’re trying to fill?

By using individualized assessments, you can balance keeping your work environment safe and being fair in your hiring practices. This practice helps you accomplish both objectives and supports fair chance hiring. Here are ways to supplement background checks with individual assessments:

Explain the Process to Candidates

Have a transparent individualized assessment process and explain it to your applicants in simple terms. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to identify the type of background check you need and clearly show how it’s relevant to the job.

When explaining the process to a prospective employee, differentiate the standard criminal background check components from more individualized assessments, such as personality measures, cognitive ability tests, and job simulations. Job seekers should also know how you’ll administer the tests, whether they’re in-person, online, or both.

Encourage HR Professionals and Managers to Work Together

Personnel in HR and hiring managers will have different ideas of what background information is necessary and relevant to a position. HR professionals typically manage the recruitment process and ensure it’s fair and consistent. Hiring managers usually have a better understanding of the job and the competencies and education it requires.

HR and management should collaborate to decide the best mix of standard and individually based assessments. With input from both parties, you’re more likely to have a consistent screening process that attracts the best applicants.

Allow Candidates to Explain their Backgrounds and Any Criminal Charges

Depending on your local laws, you might only be allowed to do a background check on an applicant once you give them a conditional job offer. This is an example of fair chance hiring, which expands job opportunities for people with arrest and conviction records.

Giving an interviewee with a criminal record a “fair chance” allows them the opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to their arrest or conviction. Perhaps the illegal activity occurred when they were under 18, suggesting they’ve learned their lesson and now make better decisions as an adult.

Consider All Options Before Taking Adverse Action

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has specific requirements for initiating an adverse action notification (AAN). If an applicant is highly qualified but has a negative result on a criminal background check, you may want to hold off before hastily taking adverse action.

You’re not required to continue with an AAN in every situation. Depending on the job’s requirements, you may want to review all the information about a candidate. If the applicant has the qualifications and their assessments appear to outweigh a negative search result, you could offer a conditional job offer or ask the applicant to work for a few months under probationary status.

Sound hiring decisions require more than interpreting standard criminal record search results. They also account for individual assessments and other background information that give a well-rounded representation of an applicant. At BIB, our team can provide guidance if you’re unsure how to incorporate personalized assessments into your screening process.

To learn more about our background screening services, visit us at or call 704-439-3900 today. We can help put together a pricing package that meets your hiring needs.