The Greater Austin metropolitan area, one of several metros in southern Texas, centers on the capital of Texas, the region’s namesake of Austin, and the adjacent community of Round Rock. The area’s population of 1.3 million occupies a cluster of five counties: Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson. To the southwest, Greater Austin shares a border with the Greater San Antonio metro area.
Once a city focused solely on government, Austin has experienced sustained and robust growth in recent years with a robust economy. The technology sector is strongly represented in the metro with major employers including IBM and Apple, while large companies including Whole Foods also reside in the region. This diverse range of opportunities coupled with the presence of nearby bedroom communities generates a job market characterized by commuters.
With a large population concentrated in a small area, crossing county lines to seek work is not unusual. Austin’s proximity to other metro regions can boost the number of applicants that a business fields from outside its county of residence. This fluidity has both benefits and drawbacks: it allows businesses to search more broadly for top talent, but it enhances the importance of diligent background checks in the hiring process.
Though a background check may already be a routine step in your hiring roadmap, Austin-based businesses should consider conducting a more expansive search. Looking only at records within Travis County, for instance, may mean overlooking criminal records held nearby in Williamson County. Such an oversight could be detrimental to an Austin business’s future.
A metro-wide background check policy is the simplest way to mitigate such concerns. By considering the entire region at once, you can improve your confidence in hiring decisions.
Implementing a successful policy requires working with local rules established to promote fair hiring practices. Broadly, the state of Texas does not impose strict restrictions on employers and permits the consideration of arrest records during hiring–however, arrests do not typically appear in background checks.
Within the region, only the city of Austin has enacted a “ban the box” law for private employers. This policy stipulates that applications may not ask about criminal histories, and employers must not conduct a background check until after extending a conditional job offer. Businesses must evaluate each case individually while considering the relation of the conviction to the job role, time elapsed, and other factors.
Outside of these rules, businesses in the region must take care to operate within the bounds of federal law such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
With a compliant policy established, a business’s next step should be to choose the correct tools for analyzing an applicant’s criminal history. backgroundchecks.com provides a robust series of products including our US OneSEARCH, which generates instant record search results for all of Greater Austin, including Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.
To consider nearby metropolitan areas such as San Antonio and the state of Texas more broadly, a state-specific search is the best choice. To investigate nearby states bordering Texas as well, a regional OneSEARCH can yield results from up to 5 states.
Data for criminal background checks in Texas flows primarily from Texas’s Department of Public Safety (updated weekly), Department of Criminal Justice (updated monthly), and state sex offender registry (updated bi-weekly). Information that appears in reports generated from this data may include the subject’s:
Taking advantage of a metro-wide background check policy allows Austin-area businesses to exert more control over their hiring practices. Consider how these reports can empower your business to expand its hiring efforts with confidence.