Background Check

The basics of pre-employment screening

A background check is a procedure most often used by employers to examine sensitive personal information about a potential employee. They usually look for any history of criminal activity, but they also check financial or commercial records. Pre-employment screening is way for employers to find out more about prospective employees before they enter their work environment. It's an effective tool and an important first step in the hiring process for any workplace, and is particularly necessary in situations where minors are involved. Both government agencies and private companies can perform background checks.

Why Perform a Background Check?

Employers can only learn so much about a person from a resume and interview. In many instances, it is simply impossible for an interviewer to ensure a prospective employee is telling the truth about their credentials and their criminal record. Also, whenever a new hire is likely to enter a position of trust—such as working with children, seniors, large amounts of cash or sensitive records—it's important that the employer makes sure the individual in question will handle themselves in a professional manner.

No one wants to see an ex-bank robber handling cash deposits at the local bank, or have someone convicted of a violent crime working with children or the elderly. Also, a recruiter will want to minimize the chances that the company might lose any intellectual property by verifying a new employee's previous job placements and their relationships with past employers.

Proceeding with the Background Check

Some firms specialize in performing background checks and pre-employment screening. A free background check is sometimes available—with limited results—while premium packages can offer more in-depth results for the individual whose history is being researched.

Companies specializing in background checks may tailor their services to a particular field, including a personal background check, criminal history, credit inquiries, driver abstracts and education verifications. Sometimes the first step is to perform an identity cross-check, in order to ensure not only that the potential hire is telling the truth, but that they are also who they say they are. After all, ex-criminals often turn to identity theft as a way to cover up their past.

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