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What Information is in a Background Check?

He is a charming young man. Very sharp and well spoken. Handsome, clean-cut, and sharply dressed. An upstanding guy with plenty of confidence, he has a long history of volunteer work, a psychology degree from a major university, and is currently attending law school. He comes with a letter of recommendation from the governor of his home state, the chairman of the state Republican Party, and a handful of his professors.

It sounds like your HR manager just interviewed a top-notch intern candidate, doesn’t it? Actually, I just cobbled that together from information available on the internet about Ted Bundy.

Unsmiling judge with american flag behind him in the court room

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

It’s virtually impossible to learn everything you might need to know about an employment candidate from a resume and a half-hour interview.

Your business is more than just a paycheck. Your business defines you, and one bad hire could wreak havoc on workplace morale, your bottom line, and your reputation. A reputable pre-employement screening service can find the red flags that will help you to weed out undesirable choices.

What Information is in a Background Check?

There are a variety of background checks available, making it easy for you to tailor your employment screening to suit your specific business perfectly. According to a survey by Indeed.com, the majority of business owners use background screenings to verify the candidate’s identity and employment history, as well as report major criminal violations. The benefits of these screenings are clear and universal. You want to know that Jennifer is actually Jennifer, that she indeed worked for Great Corp for seven years, and that she doesn’t spend her free time breaking and entering.

Criminal History

Criminal background checks vary from state to state, but will typically contain convictions and incarcerations, open warrants, sex offenses, and court records for criminal cases. Criminal convictions remain on someone’s record indefinitely in most states. A separate civil search will reveal civil actions and for a period of seven years.

Composite image of close up on classy businessman wearing handcuffs in 3d room with huge windows

Employment, Education, & Driving Records

Other popular checks include those that verify the candidate’s education record and professional qualifications, as well as a copy of their driving record. You want to make sure that Jennifer was the valedictorian of her class at Genius State University and that she is a certified Subject Matter Expert for Complicated Software Suite 2017. Driving records are especially useful if your employee will be operating a company vehicle, but can also help you spot disturbing patterns betrayed by multiple DWI/DUI’s.

Credit Check

Many reasons might lead a company to believe they can skip the credit check. It most likely comes down to the fact that many employers don’t understand how they can be valuable.

Credit checks are great for financial institutions who need to trust their employees with large sums of money, but they can also provide useful information to other businesses as well. A recent history of defaults and overdrafts can help you spot a candidate that may be more motivated toward theft or embezzlement, for example.

Due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations and requirements, background checks may seem a bit daunting, particularly for a small-business owner. If this is the case, you can always ease the difficulty by approaching a professional to assist. Good luck, and happy hiring!

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