Background Checks in the Skilled Trades

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Background Check 101, Recruitment

Many jobs require a background check, and skilled trades are no exception.

Skilled trades include, and are not limited to, those working in construction, welding, electricians, plumbing and pipefitting, and professionals in the oil and gas service. 

Despite the importance of background screenings for skilled workers, some companies may feel pressure to increase their staffing and employ people without conducting proper checks.

Read on to learn what a background check entails, why they’re carried out, and what possible impact the results of a check may have. 

What Does a Typical Background Check Include?

It's important to note that not all background checks will result in all of the following information. The employer can decide how thorough a background check they wish to conduct. Below is a list of what a background check can verify. 

  • Identity — In having someone’s name and address, screenings can verify someone is who they claim to be. 
  • Social Securities Verification — A social security check will verify if someone is legally allowed to work in the United States. It will also serve as a second identity verification by confirming their residential address. 
  • Criminal RecordCriminal history checks tell an employer if a candidate has been incarcerated and for what reason. It will also indicate whether they have previous convictions. Businesses that have vulnerable people as their clients will find this check vital to protect those they work with. 
  • International Criminal Record — Any applicants that are foreign nationals or have spent an extended period outside of the United States may require an international criminal record check to determine if they hold records abroad. 
  • Sex Offender Registry — Every state maintains sex offender registries available to the public. Major offenses will appear in their criminal record, while minor offenses may not. 
  • Employment HistoryEmployment checks verify the previous businesses an individual worked for so potential employers can confirm the accuracy of what’s reported on someone’s resume. 
  • Driving Record — Driving record checks verify if someone’s driving record is clean, checking for suspensions, violations, car accidents, points on licenses, and any vehicle-related crime. 

Why Carry Out Pre-Employment Background Checks in the Skilled Trades?

It Keeps Applicants Honest 

If the recruiter or company looking for new candidates makes it apparent that screenings will be conducted, candidates have no choice but to tell the truth. 

Some vocations are more in demand than others. The check will enable you to verify that the candidate possesses those skills. Some candidates may claim they have certain qualifications to argue for a higher salary, but a background check will weed out dishonest candidates. 

Protect Your Staff and Customers 

The US Department of Labor summarizes in its major law that it’s the responsibility of the employer to protect their staff. Hiring potentially dangerous people can put staff in difficult situations.

Background checks aim to decrease the risk of hiring people who may or may not intend to cause harm.

Protect Yourself & Business

Whether it’s state or federal laws or insurance compliance, businesses are under pressure to follow strict regulations. They also have demands and competition in their industry. Such factors can lead to hastily hiring new candidates, which poses a risk for any company.

If a business is found to have acted negligently during the hiring process, it can lead to a tumultuous fallout for the company. Background screenings serve as an armor of protection to keep a business on the straight and narrow. 

How a Criminal Record Affects Hiring in the Skilled Trades

Many industries hire people if they have a criminal record, the skills trades included. But the severity of the crime will tip the scales as to whether or not someone is hired. 

For example, minor driving charges are unlikely to make a big difference in terms of successfully being hired. Of course, this is if driving is not required in the vocational role. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects those seeking employment from being wrongfully barred from job opportunities. This is why consent must be taken before a background check. 

Ultimately, whether or not a person is hired is up to the recruiter. In many cases, criminal records that result in a conviction do not automatically mean the person is immediately eliminated from the running. 

If someone seems like a suitable candidate, it’s common practice to discuss the criminal offense with the applicant. While there may be some crossover in working with vulnerable people in a vocational role, skilled jobs typically aren’t centered around this setting. So, engaging in conversation and allowing someone to explain their situation may help secure them the job. 

It will be difficult to find success with a criminal record with convictions in any of the following: 

  • Sex-related crimes 
  • Financial crimes 
  • Cybercrime 
  • Drug and alcohol-related crimes 

Final Thoughts

Background checks are the norm for most industries; as we said in the beginning, vocational jobs are no exception. 

Screenings protect the company, individuals on the staff, and customers too. Make sure you’re staying compliant during your verifications.

Here at ScoutLogic, we take the guesswork and headaches out of background screening for recruiters. We’ll work directly with you to curate a program centered on your needs. Get in touch today to learn more.


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