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What to Expect From a Thorough Background Check

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Employee screening is often conducted by Human Resources and can include a number of things such as a criminal background check, drug and health screening, financial history insights, and more. A thorough background check can be fairly involved, and many things must be considered to ensure the screening process abides by the laws and regulations of a particular state.

Most organizations typically conduct a background check when hiring to determine whether job candidates meet a certain established standard of the organization, informing hiring managers of potential red flags that may lead to an adverse decision.

Depending on the needs of an organization, background screening reports vary greatly in depth and detail. Here are a few standard sample reports created by Peopeltrail that can be used as a baseline.

Concept: A thorough background check means different things to different organizations

Each organization requires a customized screening process that identifies specific things depending on their needs. That being said, there are common areas of focus that are shared among most industries and used to determine an individual’s employment viability. Here are some of the essentials:

Previous Employment History

Employment verifications can provide insights about a candidate that are otherwise impossible to uncover. However, there certainly are right ways and wrong ways to go about the process. If leveraged correctly, this data can help an employer better determine the credibility and character of their prospective hires before formally employing them.

We recommend including an employment history scope of at least five years (or past three employers) as part of any background check. Employers can also customize a questionnaire, asking specific questions to gain a better understanding of an individual’s work habits and behavior.

If you would like to learn a little more about employment verification best practices, here are some additional resources:

What to Include on Your Verification Questionnaire

Are Employment Verifications Necessary?


Criminal Background Check

A criminal history record is the centerpiece of most any background check. However, retrieving criminal insights isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. There are a number of different sources of criminal information, including databases, repositories, local courts, and federal courts. The specific insights retrieved will vary depending on the organization and the industry.

Ensuring a safe work environment begins with a criminal background check. When serious crimes are committed, the likelihood of repeat offenses is high. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, up to 68 percent of incarcerated individuals are arrested again within three years of release. While this statistic doesn’t apply to every situation, it does outline a behavioral trend that is fairly significant.

Proper criminal background checks and continuous monitoring solutions can go a long way in promoting workplace safety.

Here are some additional articles on the subject that are worth a read:

5 Big Misconceptions Surrounding Federal Criminal Records

What Is the Difference Between Dismissed and Expunged?


Credit History Check

A credit background check is common for organizations hiring within the accounting department (or any position dealing with finances). A credit check for employment provides insights into an individual’s financial responsibility and can help reduce the incidence of workplace fraud. This type of background check covers tax liens, civil judgment, payment history, unpaid bills (collections), and more.

Learn more about credit checks here.

License and Certification Assessment

Verifying a candidate’s credentials can be very important. In some cases, a position requires certain trade certifications or licenses. This is often the case in the medical, financial, insurance, real estate, and sometimes construction industries.

Depending on the position, it may also be necessary to verify education (typically the highest degree obtained).

Such insights provide employers with peace of mind, knowing their candidates are indeed qualified (at least on paper) for a given position.

Final Note

Each state has slightly different background check laws and regulations that need to be considered in order to maintain compliance. For this reason, it’s important to choose a screening partner that is familiar with and up-to-date on the legalities surrounding the various components of a thorough background check. With the right partner and the right solution, you will be well on your way to building a dependable workforce for your organization.

Need to run a personal background check on yourself? Order your report here.

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