Background checks are a vital part of the employment process for companies. They can help you find out if a potential employee is telling the truth and often enable your company to determine if they’re a good fit for the position being offered in terms of qualifications or experience.
The most common background checks search for criminal activity and verify employment and education—including identity verification and driving records. Some employers also review the candidate’s credit and social media history, and conduct drug tests.
Why Are Background Checks Needed?
Background checks are an essential part of the hiring process. They ensure that candidates can be trusted with sensitive information. After running a background check, employers will know precisely who they're dealing with before taking on any of the risks associated with new employees.
Background checks help ascertain whether an employee has relevant skills and experience for the position. They can also provide valuable insights into their moral standards, which can directly impact the productivity of their colleagues.
According to The United States Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire could be up to 30% of the employee's wages for the first year. Take the necessary steps to help avoid this costly and often unnecessary expense.
Employee background checks must include a minimum set of three clear written documents:
- Your company's policy statement about what you'll use employee background checks for.
- A job description for each job that requires an employee background check.
- A form to authorize an employment background check.
What Typically Appears on a Background Check?
A background check is the collection and inspection of public and private records by individuals or organizations. When looking for background check services, you need to make sure they are lawful and comply with FCRA regulations.
The information available on a background check mainly depends upon the type of check that is being requested. Specific examples include verifying:
Criminal Records (federal, state, and county criminal records)
Searching for criminal records in the National Criminal Records Database shows whether applicants have committed a crime outside the state or county where they live and work.
The Statewide Criminal Records check uncovers felony or misdemeanor offenses by seeking the data from local court systems and law enforcement.
Hits usually appear if charges have been pressed against an individual or if they have been convicted of a crime. If a person has only been charged, the report will list the incidents as "charges" and not convictions. However, once someone has been convicted of the crime, their record shows up on background checks.
Credit reports contain information concerning credit requests from past years. The report can identify retailers, financial institutions, or other customers that requested the candidate’s credit report.
Credit reports may uncover many potential warning signs when interviewing your new hire.
A credit report shows the person's complete credit history, which includes:
- Payment history
- Tax liens
- Credit inquiries
- Unpaid bills
- Civil judgments
Education History (high school, university, etc.)
Education background checks ensure that the candidate's education credentials are legitimate.
The process includes contacting high schools, universities, colleges, or vocational schools to verify the person’s student status, determine when they attended the school, and the type of degree(s) obtained from those institutions.
Generally, education background checks can go back as far as they need to search for official records.
This type of background check provides information about a candidate’s employment history through references from former employers, prospective employers, and supervisors.
Note that an employment verification cannot confirm self-employment, provide the person's entire employment history, or include their actual salary information due to state restrictions. It can only report if there is a discrepancy between the amount reported and the exact figure.
Generally speaking, this information is available for the previous seven years but varies depending upon the background check source.
Employers are expected to ensure that employees are not abusing drugs which might negatively impact their performance at work. Drug testing is crucial because it allows employers to reduce risk in the workplace due to illicit drug use.
More employers are instituting drug testing as part of their hiring protocols in the current environment of increased drug use.
A motor vehicle report is a crucial part of the hiring process. This document determines whether applicants have any violations or convictions on their driving records and should be disqualified from employment. For example, if someone has a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), some state regulations have lifetime disqualifications put in place.
A thorough driving record check will also include DUIs because several states do not list them under "criminal" status.
Do Public Records Show Up on Background Checks?
Yes, they do. Public records possess data about millions of Americans – their spending habits,
credit history, marriage licenses, criminal backgrounds, and more.
Companies use background checks to see if someone is who they claim to be. It's an easy way for hiring managers or HR professionals to maintain records on employees to verify identity and experience.
Background check results provide information about the validity of potential hires—to ensure that you're not getting scammed into thinking someone has more experience than they do.
All personal information will show up, including the candidate’s home address, email address, and phone number. By searching extensive databases such as the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records, a background check for employment can show whether a Social Security number is valid, who it belongs to, and if it's been used in the past.
Background checks are a necessary tool for employers, but they can be time-consuming. If you do the research yourself, your search may result in incomplete information or, worse, create compliance risks!
Faced with this task of finding reliable screening vendors to help manage their background check process efficiently—and without any headaches—many businesses turn to ScoutLogic.
Get in touch today to find out how our team works as an extension to YOUR staff. Together we’ll find out what you need to know about potential hires fast and hassle-free.