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With its colorful culture, rich history, and diverse communities – New Jersey is the only place many business owners want to call home. NJ offers significant opportunities for employers and volunteer recruiters alike. Additionally, the state enjoys a healthy population that is willing and ready to work. While New Jersey certainly has its upside to finding quality employees, it’s not always sunny in The Garden State. We’re talking about the sometimes harrowing process of staying compliant when getting background checks in New Jersey. To help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls of obtaining a NJ background check, here are some details every employer or volunteer organization in The Garden State should know.
What is a Background Check
As might expect, the purpose of an NJ background check is meant to verify a pre-hire is who she or he says they are on their application. Background checks play a huge role in confirming essential information such as criminal history, education history, and employment history. Essentially, getting a background check in NJ ensures the candidate in front of you is a) who they claim to be and b) validates that individual’s identity.
Importance of Background Checks in New Jersey
When you recognize that all you have to assess a candidate’s value or identity is what they provide on an application – then you’ll quickly realize the gravity of getting a background check. An NJ background check provides hiring managers and volunteer recruiters with the critical information required to determine if a candidate is trustworthy as well as amply qualified to perform the functions required for the job position.
Background checks are also important because they keep your business, your current employees, and your customers safe from potential threats. How so? Well, hiring blind (granting employment to someone without a comprehensive background check) means you might be opening up your organization to devastating scenarios such as theft, litigation, or other negative effects. In other words, a general or in-depth NJ criminal background check helps you make the best-informed decision about whether or not a candidate is a good fit for your business.
Types of Background Checks in New Jersey
Garden State employers and volunteer administrators have many options when getting the right NJ background check for their pre-hires. From conducting a New Jersey criminal record check to fact-check a candidate’s employment history – the types of background checks are mostly contingent upon what you, as the hiring manager, deem necessary. Here are a few common checks that most employers in NJ prefer when screening applicants.
Criminal Background Checks
A New Jersey criminal background check is not only a smart move, it may be required depending on the position offered to a candidate. For instance, if the potential pre-hire will be working with vulnerable individuals in the community (such as the elderly or youths), a criminal background check can determine if the candidate is either an appropriate or inappropriate fit for that position. Furthermore, potential employees who will be working in executive or managerial positions with access to security clearances, financial information, etc, should undergo trusted employee background checks and an NJ criminal background check to ensure your business remains safe and secure.
Employment Background Checks
While criminal record checks are an added layer of security for employers, an employing entity might not always require them. In some cases, a general background check might be sufficient, depending on the position offered. At the minimum, an NJ background check should verify an applicant’s employment history, educational background, and in some cases, follow-up on personal references to confirm the applicant has the character, qualities, and experience necessary to perform in the position.
How to Get a Background Check in NJ
As a hiring manager or volunteer administrator, you have various options when obtaining background checks in New Jersey. You can opt to submit a request for a criminal history report from the New Jersey State Police for pre-hires. You can also submit a request to the NJ Dept. of Education’s Office of Student Protection. These two state agencies will provide you with passable information, but they will lack the robust information you have available to you when you defer to a professional service such as PreSearch for background check services.
To explain, New Jersey state agencies will only provide history and activity that occurred in the state of NJ. This leaves employers with only a portion of the big picture – particularly if a candidate has criminal activity in other states or countries. Furthermore, many NJ employers need more details that are tailored to the position they are offering to pre-hires. That is why partnering with a qualified, high-integrity service such as PreSearch is invaluable for getting all the facts you need in a comprehensive, accurate, timely report.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in NJ
Not only do state-generated background reports often subpar in detail, but they can also take a long time to process. It’s not unusual for NJ employers to wait days or even up to a week to get results from NJ agencies. In the meantime, business productivity is declining, and employers are left scrambling to fill the gaps a vacancy often implies.
Alternatively, getting a fast background check from PreSearch will get you the detailed, reliable results you need significantly more quickly. In many cases, we can provide you with your NU background check on the same day. Our service ensures you have the results you need in a timely manner so you can keep your business running smoothly.
How Far Back Does an Employment Background Check Go in NJ
In general, the lookback period for background checks in New Jersey is seven years. There are a few exceptions. One such exception is if a candidate stands to earn $75,000 or more, then an employer may look beyond the seven-year standard. Additionally, if a candidate has appealed to the state and has successfully had his or her criminal records expunged or sealed, then the seven-year lookback period does not apply, as this information is not accessible to employers. Also, employers do not have to comply with the seven-year lookback rule when obtaining general background information such as employment verification and education history.
New Jersey Background Check Laws
When conducting background checks in New Jersey, it’s imperative for employers and volunteer administrators to abide by state laws. Failure to comply with state pre-hire laws and background check regulations could result in costly setbacks such as lawsuits, hefty fines, or worse. Here are some prominent state and federal laws with which all NJ employers should familiarize themselves.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Federal laws are just as important as state laws in terms of being compliant with proper pre-hire processes. This is because federal laws both protect and defend individuals so that equal hiring methods are used. Here are a few federal laws that should be considered when conducting any NJ background check.
Civil Rights Act, Title VII
This was a revolutionary law in its day when it was passed in 1964, and it is still just as profound today as it was then. Title VII is a civil rights law enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that prohibits employers from discriminating against candidates. It prohibits hiring agencies from granting or denying employment to an applicant based on characteristics such as race, gender, religion, or sexuality – to name a few.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
This important federal law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and it is meant to regulate how consumer information is collected, used, and disclosed. Sometimes an NJ employer may need to run a credit check on an applicant. When this happens, the FCRA has strict rules on how that information is used in order to protect the privacy of the applicant. Furthermore, NJ employers who require credit checks must get written permission from the candidate, acknowledging that he or she will be subjected to undergoing a consumer credit report for the position.
New Jersey Employment Background Check Laws
Now that we’ve covered not all but the most important federal laws that affect the pre-hire process, let’s take a look at New Jersey background check laws.
In 2015, the state of New Jersey passed a Ban-the-Box law that prohibits employers from inquiring about any criminal record or activity during the application process if they have 15+ employees within their organization. The term “ban-the-box” is a reference to removing the box on an application that asks applicants if they have been charged, convicted, or sentenced to any criminal offense.
Details on New Jersey’s Requirement for Fingerprinting and Criminal History Record Checks
In some instances, employers may require candidates to submit to fingerprinting before they can grant employment. This is true for NJ state jobs and employers who are authorized NJ state contracted vendors.
There are also certain criminal history record check laws that employers must bear in mind. For instance, NJ has a Clean Slate Law, which allows individuals to petition the court system to remove that criminal history from their records. If granted, employers are not permitted to access any expunged criminal records under the NJ Clean Slate Law.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in New Jersey
You can expect to pay around $45 for each request for a criminal record report from the NJ State Police Department. While this might not seem like much, it will only provide you with criminal activity that took place in the state of New Jersey. There is far more information most NJ employers and volunteer agencies need in order to make the best-educated decision about hiring a candidate. Therefore, it’s important to remember that partnering with a comprehensive background check service such as PreSearch is the best value because we can provide you with a buffet of reports – putting the vital details in your hand in a fast, efficient, and accurate manner.
*a select number of states charge an additional, mandatory, county court fee in addition to our standard service fee.
How PreSearch, Inc. Can Help With Background Check Services in New Jersey
If you own your own business or oversee a volunteer organization in New Jersey, you likely pour a tremendous amount of hard work into your endeavors to thrive in the Garden State. That said, shouldn’t you make every effort to ensure continued success by having the resources to hire the best candidate for your vacancies? Don’t risk putting the health and longevity of your organization at risk. Contact PreSearch today so we can give you peace of mind with our comprehensive, detailed, up-to-date background checks in New Jersey, which are compliant with all state and federal laws.
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