Background checks on prospective employees serve many purposes. First and foremost, they verify the skills and experience necessary to perform the tasks detailed within the job description. But they also serve to protect you and your company by verifying that other critical information presented by the applicant is truthful and accurate.
Background checks do more than validate an applicant’s past employment history. They check for prior criminal records and behavior, look at education, credit records, motor vehicle records and even perform reference checks. Depending on the position and expectations, these searches can lead to red flags to be discussed prior to the final hiring decision.
Let’s look at these areas in a little more detail:
- Hiring someone with a criminal record can carry a stigma – both real and perceived. Employers need to consider many things when making this choice. That includes the types of offenses, how they may relate to the duties of the position and who the hire may interact with in the company. Time removed from incarceration is another important factor of consideration. While criminal checks are important, hiring trends are moving away from asking applicants to divulge past discretions on applications. If your company still carries the “former conviction” check box on applications, it is quickly becoming a best practice to remove it.
- Is the applicant being truthful about schools and accredited institutions- and do they meet the standards you are seeking in an employee? One thing to be on the lookout for is fake diplomas, generated by “diploma mills”. Diploma mills are essentially what the name suggests: an entity that proclaims itself to be an educational institution while providing fee-based academic degrees and diplomas. Some applicants may consider these diplomas as a legitimate level of schooling. However, in the end, diploma mills merely provide an easy route for those who seek a career path without putting in the leg work. Remember, a well-educated and trained candidate adapts quicker to the task at hand, particularly in more complex fields that require true higher-learning classroom work
- Much like criminal background checks, information uncovered in a credit check can often raise questions about the suitability of the applicant to the task at hand. Will they handle money? Will they budget for their area or be in charge of procurement? If they have not proven themselves able to do this in their past personal or professional lives, they can prove to be a huge risk to your company.
- Driving records can be indicative of bad behavior and bring a tremendous risk to your company in terms of safety and financial liability, making them an important area to explore. Driving infractions like DUI’s or DWI’s, drag racing, driving with a suspended license and more can be uncovered during a Motor Vehicle Record check. These findings should only be used in a hiring decision if they negatively relate to the applicant ability to perform the duties listed in the job description.