The city of Houston is Texas’s most highly populated city and the anchor to the country’s fifth largest metropolitan region, often called “Greater Houston.” This metropolitan region sprawls across nine counties and includes Sugar Land, Baytown, and the community of The Woodlands. In addition to Houston’s Harris County, the metro also includes Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria, Waller, Chambers, and Austin counties. Greater Houston’s constituent communities have a total population of around 6.5 million people, attracted by the area’s growth and high concentration of employment opportunities.
Metro area rules
Employers in the Houston region must be mindful that the applicants they field may come from any one of these counties. In fact, it is even possible or them to come from farther afield owing to Houston’s proximity to other major metropolitan areas in Texas, including the Dallas and Austin metros. With that in mind, a hiring process that uses a narrow focus on a candidate’s background could miss important information necessary for making the right hiring choice.
An individual with a clean record attached to their address in Harris County, for example, might not look so appealing when all the facts from adjacent counties come into focus. There could be an arrest or conviction from Galveston County or other adverse information available from other nearby county-level resources.
Choosing the right candidate does not just have an impact on your business today; it can help you to avoid problems in the future while maintaining the corporate culture and image you’ve worked hard to cultivate. It is important not to miss any opportunities to gather information while hiring. As your business considers both the value in using background checks to vet potential employees and the process to use for doing so, it is also important to develop an understanding of potential restrictions on your efforts.
Texas does not generally place sweeping restrictions on an employer’s ability to consider criminal records when making hiring decisions. With no statewide “ban the box” rules, employers are free to request information from candidates on an application about criminal history. Houston’s city government has banned the box for its own hiring choices; however, this does not extend to private employers. Both arrests and convictions may come into consideration, though it is wise to consult the EEOC’s guidance on how to consider these records in a non-discriminatory manner.
Employers based in and around Greater Houston should not miss the opportunity to make decisions with all the facts in hand. Consider requesting your candidate’s recent address history as a means for improving your research efforts while narrowing down the county records you wish to request. To streamline this process and provide ease of access for our partners, backgroundchecks.com provides a comprehensive look at an individual’s records across the entire metropolitan region. With a large proprietary database of records, we can provide access to an instant search that empowers your hiring managers to make better decisions about every candidate.
Learn more about our county background check options