Excerpted from The Business Journals story by Ann Potratz

The ins and outs of background checks are often a source of confusion for employers.

Can companies perform them in-house? What’s “the box” and why is it banned?

To ensure you’re practicing fair hiring and avoiding critical mistakes, arm yourself with the truth about three common background check myths.

Myth #1: Ban-the-box laws prohibit background checks — Ban-the-box laws (named after the checkbox that job applicants are often asked to mark if they have any previous criminal convictions) typically make it illegal to require information about arrests and convictions on initial employment applications. However, they do not prevent employers from running background checks.

Thirty states and more than 150 cities have adopted policies banning the box in recent years, all with the intent to prevent employers from disqualifying applicants based solely on a criminal history.

Proponents of these laws believe that requiring employers to review an applicant’s qualifications before asking criminal background questions will boost hiring among applicants with checkered histories and, in turn, reduce recidivism.

Myth #2: We can do a sufficient background check using the internet — While a simple Google search or social media check may seem like a harmless approach to checking up on your applicants, these can set you up to fail in unexpected ways. Information like age, race, disability, etc., can easily be uncovered on social media, and these types of factors are the same ones you absolutely do not want to consider in the hiring process.

You can read the full story here.