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Obtain applicant’s approval before calling previous boss

by on
in Employment Background Check,Human Resources

Q. I'd like to contact an applicant's former employer, but that employer wasn't included in the applicant's reference list. Can I call the employer anyway? —A.T., Wyoming

A. Would you violate the law by contacting an applicant's former employer without the applicant's knowledge or consent? Probably not, but it's still a bad idea. Instead, you should simply ask the applicant if you can contact the former employer. If he or she says no and fails to explain why, focus your efforts on another applicant.

Generally, you should never contact anyone in connection with a background check unless the applicant authorizes you to do so in writing. If you use a third party to conduct background checks for you, you must have the applicant sign the authorization form to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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