Before an employer completes a background check on a job applicant for information on the person’s work history, education, criminal record, financial past, and medical information, it is important to understand the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). First and foremost, employers should provide a written notice to the applicant before obtaining an applicant’s consumer report. The next step is to obtain the applicant’s consent in writing to gain access to the consumer report. Finally, certification must be provided to the consumer reporting agency that the proper steps have been taken. When an applicant is not hired based on negative information found in a consumer report, the applicant must be provided with certain information within three days. Employers should consider applying background check policies equally to all applicants; securely disposing of all background reports; waiting a few days before making a final decision; reviewing state and local background check laws; and providing clear and separate notices.