03 Nov

5 Things To Know Before You Do A Background Check

Today, more and more employers perform background checks as a part of their hiring process. These background checks are vital as they allow these businesses to learn about their potential employees’ history, including such things as past employers, criminal records, driving records, just to name a few. In this day and age, employers can’t be too cautious when hiring, as its their responsibility to keep their workplaces safe and their businesses performing. When an employer has all the right information at their fingertips, they are able to make wise, informed decisions about who they do or don’t hire.

When entering the background screening process, its important to keep the following things in mind.

1.Not All Background Check Companies Are Equal

If you are planning on performing background checks on applicants, chances are you will hire a third-party company to do so. If so, be aware that these types of companies vary greatly, both in where they get their information, how they gather it, how they present it to you, and the level of detail they include in their reports. Look for reviews from other employers so you know what to expect. Steer clear of any companies that offer instant or free background checks, as these can often lack in detail, depth, and truthful information. The cost of background checks will vary from company to company, and will also vary depending on the detail.

2.Establish Guidlines And Stay Consistent

Before you can perform background checks on applicants, you should establish guidelines for your checks and stick to them. Having a checklist of the pieces of information you’ll be searching on is very helpful, and will help you get consistent results. You should also plan which third-party screening companies you will use, and use the same types of searches every time. Not only will it help the accuracy of your results, but by staying consistent with everyone, you can avoid any possible lawsuits that allege discrimination.

3.Get Permission

Your background check procedures should always include getting the applicant’s permission before performing a background screening on them. Clearly communicate with them that you will be doing a background check, and review their application with them, asking if there is anything you should know about. When you inform them of the background check process, see how they react. Their reaction will often help communicate what type of background they have. Chances are a background check will not expose any bad information, but you can never be too sure.

4.Identify Patterns

When you get the results from the screening, pay close attention to any issues and look for a pattern instead of one singular event. For example, just because an applicant was pulled over for speeding 3 years ago does not mean they will be a bad employee. Instead look for patterns like 5 speeding tickets in the past 3 years. If someone has many repeat offenses, it may be a signal that the person has trouble obeying rules and sticking to procedure.

5.Follow-Up Width Your Applicants

If a background check pulls up any information that is questionable, it is best to follow up with the potential employee to give them a chance to explain themselves. Unless it is a serious crime, some people may be perfectly capable of being a standout employee even if they have had an issue in the past. If you are still apprehensive after their explanation, they may not be the best fit for your company. If the applicant seems sincere, all you can do is give them a shot. If it does not work out, at least you gave them the benefit of the doubt.


Understanding these things can help you make the most of your time as an employer when performing background checks on applicants, and can help you make well informed decisions to hire the right person for the job.

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