5 Tips to Conducting a Smooth Employee Background Check

Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Employee Background Checks [ 4 Comments ]

One of the most common aspects of a job application is the background check compliance, yet many applicants breeze past this section when filing out an application. Although it may seem like nothing to a candidate (at least one who has nothing to hide), it actually means a great deal to employers. For most companies, performing a background check is one of the major components of the hiring process. Businesses must take precautions when interviewing and hiring a potential member of a company, and by screening applicants, employers are able to decrease the applicant pool and focus on the most qualified individuals. Performing background checks allow employers to select the best possible applicants for the position.

How a Background Check Works

Background checks are performed mainly for security purposes. In other words, they aim to protect companies from potentially risky applicants. They shield companies from employees that may cause conflicts such as lawsuits, corporate irresponsibility and false representations. In addition, background checks can provide employers with extra information. A comprehensive background check can provide employers with information about an applicant’s driving records, past employers, criminal history, and medical background. However, it is important that employers only use this information for employment purposes.

Background Checks Made Easy with These 5 Tips

When performing a background check, there are a number of tips to keep in mind. The following are some of the steps that employers can take to perform a successful background check.

1. Find a quality background screening company:

There are a number of different pre-employment screening companies that offer their services to employers and interviewers. Different screening companies may offer a variety of different background checks such as checks into drug history, driving records, or Internet presence. Generally, offers of free or quick background checks should be avoided, as they may be scams or schemes designed to extract money from customers.

2. Comply with laws and regulations:

There are a number of laws in place to protect applicants from discrimination and unlawful background checks. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the methods by which employers collect and use credit information for background checks. In addition, the Act requires that employers perform checks with reason and purpose.  Each state may also have individual background check regulations, so companies should research the laws of the state from which they operate.

3. Check references:

Oftentimes, contacting references provided by the applicant is an easy way to determine whether he or she is suited for the particular company. References can tell an employer whether the applicant is qualified and if their behavior and temperament fits with a company’s needs. However, it is not permitted to ask any old question; companies should ensure that they remain professional and ask only job-related questions when contacting references.

4. Type of background check:

Employers should not resort to background checks for every type of job. Some positions require only basic background checks, whereas others need a more stringent security check. In other words, there are different types of background checks that can be performed, and are best applied according to the position’s responsibilities. For example, an applicant who is required to drive on the job may be screened with a vehicle history check.

5. Cost:

Background checks are not free; employers must pay for background screening companies for their service. Therefore, it may become costly to perform a check on every single applicant that applies for a job. Employers should perform an initial screening of the applicant pool, and then only performing background checks on potential individuals.

Relying solely on the internet will not provide the employer with enough information on the individual. Instead of sifting through hundreds of resumes and cover letters, employers should turn to professional background screening services. By carefully screening applicants, companies can find the candidate that is best suited for their business.

Photo Credit: guardiantesting.com


4 thoughts on “5 Tips to Conducting a Smooth Employee Background Check


  1. avatarDiewitt

    Great article! Very informative, detailed and presents perspectives from both the applicant angle and the business angle.



  2. avatarJohn Pukallus

    Hi, I have run my own security and investigations business and have conducted background checks for a large number of clients. The old saying that “you only get what you pay for’ is never been truer when it comes to conducting a background check online. If you want an instant, reliable background check that extracts date and records from every possible source then you need a good background check company. For me, I always check and verify the information that the candidate gives me along with ensuring that the candidate knows that false or misleading information provided during the recruitment process is grounds for dismissal. That way you don’t get hung up on legal argument that your discriminated against the person for this reason or that. I have released a free e-book titled “Background Check Guide”. It has some useful information about how to conduct a thorough background check on a person applying for a job or on the new neighbor or sports coach. To obtain a copy just go to my website – http://www.risq.biz/Downloads.php and download the guide. All the best!


  3. avatarRachel Hyun Kim

    Hi John! Its great to hear insight from someone who’s had experience with conducting checks. You bring up a good point when you mention that companies should do all they can to verify their information, while making sure its done in a legal manner. Thanks so much for reading!


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