Background Check Requirements for Retail Stores

Background screenings are always an important step in safeguarding your business during the hiring process—but they can be especially important for retail businesses.

Whether they’re welcoming customers, helping them make purchases, or fielding customer service questions, retail employees serve as the face of your store. If you hire the wrong employee? You risk your reputation and can threaten your most important: your relationship with your customers.

Not screening your employees thoroughly can also pose a risk to your material resources: your inventory. As much as you want to trust your employees, internal theft is common. Running a thorough background screening is a good way to make sure your candidates are honest and trustworthy when they handle your business’s property.

How a professional background screening can help

When you take the steps to verify the information provided on a candidate’s application and screen for a history of criminal conduct, you can make sure your hires are honest, hardworking, and trustworth.

Given the startling prevalence of theft in retail stores, conducting professional background screenings through an experienced background screening company is becoming a business necessity rather than a business luxury.

The National Retail Federation reports that retail “shrink” (the total losses incurred due to theft and fraud) rose to record levels in 2019, while incidents involving employee theft also rose from the last few years. Thorough background checks can keep your inventory safe by helping you avoid prospective hires with a previous history of theft.

Criminal history checks and pre-employment drug testing can also help your business develop a safer, more welcoming environment for your customers and employees. Hiring a job applicant with a history of violent conduct or drug use potentially creates an unsafe environment in your store—and puts your business at risk of liability for negligent hiring.

Background screenings for retail stores

While the specific screenings you should conduct vary depending what position you’re hiring for, the following are a useful foundation for thorough pre-employment screenings for retail employees.

SSN Trace

A social security number (SSN) trace is a database search that tracks the history of an applicant’s social security number. SSN traces return a complete list of any previous names the applicant has used in addition to a complete record of all their previous addresses.

SSN traces are often used as a first step in background checks because they let screening companies rigorously search all counties where an applicant has previously lived. What’s more, if an applicant has changed their name or used a different name in the past, an SSN trace will also provide a more complete background check, since subsequent searches will include all of the candidate’s previous names.

Criminal history checks

Your business needs to know if a job candidate has a history of criminal conduct—especially if they have previous convictions for theft or violent behavior. Thankfully, there are criminal history checks that help you verify whether your candidate has a criminal record.

A current county criminal search returns information on felony and misdemeanor convictions in the county where your candidate currently lives. However, an experienced screening company can also run a more thorough 7-year criminal history check in all counties where your applicant has lived in the past, or a national criminal database search drawing from the most up-to-date U.S. court records.

These screenings return information including past offenses, charges filed, file dates, dispositions, and sentences, giving you a complete picture of any past criminal behavior that might affect your hiring decisions.

Pre-employment drug screenings

The employees you hire for retail positions will be responsible for representing your company to your customers—so it’s important to be sure that you can rely on them to be helpful, welcoming, and professional.

Employees who are under the influence of illicit drugs can undermine trust in your business and hurt your store’s reputation. A pre-employment drug screening can check for traces of cannabis, opiates, methamphetamine, and other drugs and ensure that your new hire isn’t hiding a habit of substance abuse.

National sex offender registry search

A national sex offender registry search is another good way to safeguard the health and safety of your customers and employees.

Hiring a candidate with a history of criminal sexual misconduct can create an unsafe environment for both their coworkers and your store’s patrons. A sex offender registry search draws from the most up-to-date and comprehensive national databases to ensure that your candidate isn’t a registered sex offender.

Employment and education verification

Listing past education and employment history is a common part of job applications—but dishonesty on job applications is also unfortunately common.

Make sure that your candidate isn’t lying about their education or falsifying their work history by conducting employment and education verification screening. This type of background check checks with educational institutions and previous employers to verify a candidate’s educational and work history.

This may be especially important if you’re hiring for management positions or if you’re looking for candidates with specialized experience or training.

Motor vehicle report

If you’re hiring for employees to drive as part of their work—for example, as part of retail delivery service—it’s important to make sure your applicant has a safe driving history. Running a motor vehicle report can verify this by searching for recent traffic law violations, suspended or expired licenses, or other vehicle-related crimes.

Hiring for retail? Trust EagleScreen

If you’re a business in the retail industry looking to effectively screen new hires, EagleScreen can help.

Our experienced team offers a full range of thorough, efficient, and legally compliant pre-employment screening solutions. Our customizable packages also make it easy to create an effective screening program that meets your professional needs—without the wasted time and unnecessary cost of screenings that aren’t relevant to the position.

To see how EagleScreen can help your business mitigate risk by hiring the right retail candidates, contact us today.

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