The importance of conducting background checks


As a business owner, you hold yourself and your business to a certain set of standards and you expect the same from your employees as well, which is why the hiring process can often be a stressful and somewhat tedious one for employers. In order to determine that applicants meet the requirements that are essential for the position needing to be filled, a background check is almost necessary and the best way to go about doing that. As the economy has continued to change in recent years, more and more job applicants have showed dishonesty on resumes and job applications. According to EctoHR, the number of fabrications on resumes doubled in 2009. The company went on to note that a criminal, employment or education discrepancy is found on 13.5 percent of the background checks it conducts, we believe that is much higher.

A background check is a great way to research a potential employee and establish whether or not he or she will be a good fit for your business. As long as you ensure that your screening policies and procedures are in compliance with the guidelines outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and EEOC you will not be in violation of the rights of your applicants. As an employer, you can research a multitude of items about an applicant including anything that is considered to be public record. Public record can range from social security number confirmation and criminal activity to bankruptcy filings, property ownership and court documents. Private information including medical records, education background and military service can also be researched, but not without an applicant’s written consent. An employer can also receive a credit report upon receiving the signed authorization of the applicant as well.

When it comes to criminal records, you can often learn everything you need to know with a simple background check. Majority of states keep criminal records on file indefinitely, and those records are available to anyone who has access to them. On a federal level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) maintains nationwide criminal records. However, those records can only be accessed by other law enforcement agencies and in our opinion isn’t that good of a criminal search. While the FCRA offers no protection on the disclosure and use of criminal information, some states have taken steps to offer applicant’s more protection. For example, the state of California has maintained that an applicant’s criminal history can only go back seven years.

Many business owners simply conduct background checks for peace of mind. However, for a number of industries like the financial services industry, screenings are required to complete the hiring process. Either way, conducting a background check is a great tool to utilize when wanting to thoroughly get to know an applicant who you are considering bringing into your business. And as a business owner, it is your right to do so.

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