Performing background checks on prospective employees is a must for every business. Also called pre-employment screenings, these windows into the past give you more information about potential hires than can be gathered from an application or resume.

Relying on self-reported histories from everyone putting in for a position at your company can get you into trouble and sometimes have devastating legal or financial consequences. The last thing you want is to hire a candidate with apparently stellar qualifications only to find out he or she has a problematic criminal background.

Taking the time to do a background check may mean waiting a few days longer to confirm a hiring decision, but the additional information provided can help preserve the stability, prosperity and reputation of your company.

What Does a Background Check Consist Of?

Running a background check on candidates you’re considering for open positions can reveal:

  • Criminal activity, including serious and minor infractions
  • Educational history
  • Degrees, licenses and certifications
  • Compete employment history
  • Current or recent drug use
  • Driving records, including traffic violations
  • Credit history
  • Civil court involvement, including evictions, personal injury suits and failure to pay debts

Since businesses in various industries need to check different types of information before confirming new hires, it’s important to make a detailed list of what you need to know from the background checks you perform. Be specific and strict about what you check. Winding up with more information than you need is better than suffering consequences from missing a key detail.

 

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Why Get a Background Check?

In a perfect world, you could take every applicant at his or her word and trust all information included on resumes. Unfortunately, many people bend the truth, make omissions or include outright lies on job applications, and it’s up to employers to separate the real from the fake. Background checks make it much easier to know who is worthy of consideration to fill an open position.

If you’re not already performing background checks, it’s a good idea to start. Some industries are required by law to vet candidates before hiring. Any position in which personal information is shared or vulnerable individuals are cared for should never be filled without doing a background check. Screenings are essential in these cases to alert you to potential dangers, such a violent criminal past, embezzlement activities, illegal hacking, or sexual assault charges.

Failure to perform a background check may result in lawsuits. If an employee commits a crime, harms someone or causes another incident you could have prevented with a thorough pre-hire screening, the victim may sue you for negligent hiring. This not only locks you in a long legal battle but also hurts the reputation of your company. You could wind up losing customers or even having to close the business as a result of your lack of diligence.

How Will a Background Check Benefit an Employer?

It may seem hard to justify the postponement of a final hiring when you’re anxious to fill a vacant position, but it’s worth the time when you consider the benefits:

  • Consistency and reliability among staff members
  • Ensured safety and well-being of everyone working for your company
  • Preserving the honesty and integrity of your brand image
  • Less time spent replacing candidates who turn out to be unqualified
  • No risk of negligent hiring lawsuits or the associated costs
  • A culture of trust within the workplace
  • Safety of physical and digital assets

The amount of information acquired through a background check can be tailored or scaled to the responsibilities involved in the job. A managerial position will require more detail than an entry-level job, and deciding what to check for each candidate can speed up the process without compromising the results.

Best Reporting Companies

Many companies offer background check reporting services for businesses. To get the details you need, find a company with a variety of services you can combine to meet the specific requirements of your business.

Remember you must always obtain permission from potential employees before conducting a background check. Services request different amounts of information to locate and report on individual histories, and the data you get in return is personal and private. Anyone applying for a position must be informed of the process on the application or in a separate document.

These three reporting companies provide background check services with multiple options for businesses of all sizes.

GoodHire

With packages available for businesses running both small and large volumes of checks, GoodHire is a flexible choice. Turnaround times for various services are clearly listed on the company’s website so that you can know before ordering how long it will take to get the information you want.

Pricing for Basic, Standard and Premium packages includes varying levels of information, and many add-on services are available for additional fees. Candidates receive copies of the checks you perform, giving them the opportunity to identify and fix any errors with the potential to compromise their chances of being hired. The service also protects you from legal trouble with an electronic consent option and continual compliance checks.

HireRight

Employers looking for a comprehensive list of options for background checks and the ability to screen potential candidates from multiple countries can benefit from the services offered by HireRight. Although the company is based in California, its services span over 240 countries and support 20 languages. This ensures you receive accurate information on all candidates regardless of employment history or country of origin.

HireRight provides a detailed breakdown of all services on its website, including report options, key features and related services. With these comprehensive overviews, you can easily choose the services you need to protect your company from the consequences of negligent hiring.

IntelliCorp

IntelliCorp provides FCRA-compliant background check services to employers looking for assurance before hiring new staff members. Criminal checks include several critical details, such as sex offender registry information, state records and federal records. Use the “Former Last Name” service to uncover potential problems you may otherwise miss, uncover health care sanctions to assess issues you may face with liability and much more.

Turnaround time ranges from three to five days. During this period, IntelliCorp searches 10 years’ worth of records and strives to provide the most accurate results possible. If you’re concerned about turnaround, the company provides detailed information regarding potential delays.

The Bottom Line

Doing a background checks is like investing in additional business insurance. The information you receive can help avert disaster in the form of theft, violence or incompetence. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep your staff safe, and background checks are part of exercising due diligence.

Find a reputable and reliable background check service, and use their reports to make the most of the hiring process. With a full picture of each candidate, you can put together the best team for your company and ensure poor employment decisions don’t hold you back from reaching your goals.