Hiring dependable and trustworthy drivers is essential to your business’s success, but how do you know which candidate is the best fit for your company culture? Conducting a background check during the interview process can pinpoint questionable behavior in a driver’s history and ensure that the person you hire can be trusted to represent your company. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Follow the Law
In order to initiate a background check on a candidate, you must have them read, date, and sign a legal release form. Be sure to inform the candidate of their rights and provide them with a copy of their background check once the report is completed.
An employer must ensure that background check policies are consistent for all candidates applying for the same role. Two applicants being considered for the same job title must follow the exact steps from start to finish to avoid any claims of discrimination. However, different job titles may require different levels of security, so you can conduct a more thorough search on management or senior positions.
The All-Important Driving Record
From a legal standpoint, employers are typically liable for the actions of their employees when they are driving for business purposes. Even one accident could increase your company’s insurance rates or result in costly litigation that damages your hard-earned reputation, so do your research as you consider each new hire.
For your company to remain compliant with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines, you must obtain and review a motor vehicle record from every state in which a commercial driver has held a license during the previous three years. This driving record will cover information from the issuing state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, including:
- The status of an issued Driver’s License
- Traffic accidents
- Driving record points
- Traffic law violations, convictions, and fines
- DUI public records
- Whether a license is valid, suspended, or cancelled
In addition, once every 12 months, your company must review motor vehicle records from every state in which your drivers held licenses. If they have committed any questionable actions, your company must confirm that they meet the minimum requirements for safe driving, which can be found here. The records for each driver must also be stored for three years in case of a future inquiry. Though this seems like a lot to handle, it is worth the effort to avoid FMCSA fines and protect your company from possible litigation if one of your drivers makes a mistake.
Ask your candidates for references from their previous roles and follow up regarding the quality of their work. Note that many Human Resource Policies only allow representatives of the company to confirm the length of employment and whether the candidate is available for re-hire, which can limit the information you’ll find in this step of the process.
This is the most challenging part of the pre-employment process, as every state has different rules on what should be reported on a criminal background check. Look up your state’s laws before you begin this check, as many prohibit making employment decisions based on criminal charges that did not result in a conviction. In most states, however, you are able to ask about pending criminal charges and convictions.
According to the FMCSA, an employer must receive a negative drug test result before permitting a CDL driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The company must also conduct random drug testing throughout the year and order additional tests if a driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Be sure your company is taking these steps to remain compliant with FMCSA regulations.
Look at the big picture
Obviously, the focus of any driver’s background check should be their driving history, but you should conduct additional research to ensure there are no other blips on their public record. Review education, employment, and criminal history to gain an expansive overview of the candidate’s qualities and achievements. Though it can be tempting to focus on the negative aspects, it is better to look for overarching patterns than a single black mark.
You can tell a lot about a person’s interests and personality by taking a quick look at their social media profiles. This can be an excellent indicator of whether a potential employee is the right fit for your company culture.
As you initiate your hiring process, use these tips to determine that your new driver will be a good representation of your company. And don’t forget to conduct your yearly review of driving records so you remain compliant with FMCSA guidelines!