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Background Checks: Getting Started

Whether you are a post start-up company, or are a well-established business, you’ll need to hire the best of the best to grow your business. A necessary aspect of hiring is background checks. Background checks are used to look up and compile any criminal, commercial and financial records of an individual, and provide you with necessary information about who you are looking to hire.

Even if the potential candidate has the perfect resume, if they can’t pass a background check, it should be an automatic red flag. Not to mention, if your business is involved with schools, hospitals, financial institutions, airports, or any aspect of the government, a background check is required by federal or state law.

Before getting started with background checks, be sure to purchase the right recruiting software from one of our hand-picked vendors.

There are a few different options available when it comes to background check methods, so be sure you know which kind is the right one to include in your hiring process.

Types of Background Checks

“Background check” is somewhat of a blanket term used to describe all of the reports that are collected about an individual for employment purposes. A background check can consist of a number of different reports that all provide information of how suitable a candidate may or may not be for a position.

They can be more or less complex depending on the nature of the position or the industry in general. Background checks can include official reports on any of the following:

  • Credit history (however, some laws have passed laws that limit the access to credit reports to only certain types of jobs)
  • Previous employment
  • Professional Licenses
  • Criminal records (only public records held by the court system. Records of arrest cannot be included on an employment background check after 7 years)
  • Education
  • Worker’s Compensation records
  • Driving Records
  • Personal References
  • Medical history
  • Employer Obligations

As an employer performing background checks, you must adhere closely to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the CA Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies ACT (ICRAA), if applicable. You should be sure you are not over-stepping your boundaries when performing background checks and attempting to access personal information. Make sure you fulfill the following obligations:

  • Get written permission from the individual you are checking on a separate document, and get special permission if medical information is required.
  • Notify the individual of their right to ask about the nature and scope of the report.
  • Give notice and copy of the report before you make an employment decision.
  • Notify them of their right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information.

Read more about Background Check Regulations and Limitations in our Buyer’s Guide.

Hiring an Outside Screening Company

If you are not fully aware of the requirements of performing a background check or don’t have the resources to do one yourself, you might consider hiring an outside screening company to gather reports for you.

An outside company will help guide you through the process and make sure you are in line with all legal obligations and restrictions set by the FCRA. They will also assure you that the information they find is correct and complete, because they are required to verify whatever information they gather before providing it to you.

As an employer, it is necessary that you perform some sort of background check on every candidate for employment. Your background check can be as extensive or as simple as you need it to be, and could only consist of checking personal references. Depending on the type of industry you are in, be sure you are taking all of measures necessary to hire the best employee possible.

If interested in background checks, you may also want to look at recruiting agencies and HR outsourcing vendors.