What Kind of Background Checks Should You Run on Future Employees?

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Background checks aren’t anything new. Companies around the globe have been using them since the 1980s. In today’s day and age, however, background checks have become much easier to perform thanks to advancements in technology. There are several types of background checks that companies can use, depending on their specific needs.

The purpose of a background check is simple, it helps ensure that employees are who they claim to be and don’t pose a risk to the company or its employees. For example, employers often use criminal records, credit reports, employment history, financial information, social media profiles, medical histories, educational backgrounds, and other data points to determine whether a prospective candidate is suitable for a particular job.

An individual’s criminal history is not automatically disqualifying but employers need to decide how much weight they want to place on this type of information when making employment decisions. Factors used by many businesses when deciding whether or not to hire applicants who’ve been convicted of felonies include:

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  • Age – Young people tend to commit fewer crimes than older adults. A person in his 20s may still be developing his thinking skills and may make poor choices related to work and school. On the other hand, a 45-year-old may have put together an impressive resume and may be able to provide valuable experience to an organization.
  • Time Since Arrest/Conviction – Depending on the crime, time since conviction influences what kind of job opportunity may be available. Someone charged with murder might have difficulty getting hired for even the lowest-paying jobs whereas a person accused of possession of marijuana might be eligible for positions involving little contact with customers. People being considered for positions involving high risk will likely be asked to prove themselves again before taking those risks.
  • Job Description– Certain types of jobs require different levels of responsibility, integrity, and accountability. A company that hires drug dealers should expect to get back less money if an employee gets caught selling drugs. Jobs that involve working alone could benefit from having a convict who has already proved himself trustworthy. Similarly, positions requiring heavy lifting would probably not be appropriate for someone who recently committed an assault.
  • Nature of Offense – Crimes committed due to substance abuse or psychological problems carry a special stigma. An employer considering a candidate convicted of shoplifting may think twice before offering him a good sales job. Likewise, an offender convicted of embezzlement may find it difficult to get hired for a position that involves handling cash. Another example would be a person convicted of fraud. Such offenses often indicate dishonesty and immorality. Employers do not want dishonest employees – they could cause trouble for themself or others.

Pre-employment Screening Forms

Before an interview, youll be required to fill out a screening questionnaire. Some of these forms require answers to questions about previous educational background and/or current employment status in order to determine if the person applying has sufficient knowledge to perform the duties of the position. You may use these forms provided by third parties or create customized forms. Whatever you choose, be sure to tell prospective candidates upfront about the application process. Also, don’t forget to follow up after completing the screening process. You’ll ensure that everyone understands the terms of employment and the consequences of breaking the rules.

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Criminal Records Search

If you have been convicted of a crime, then the government will make sure that you don’t work in certain positions. These jobs might be ones where you interact with children, elderly people, vulnerable adults, or even public transportation. While there are laws against employers discriminating based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and race, these laws aren’t always enforced. If you were convicted of a violent felony like assault, robbery, murder, etc. then you won’t be able to work in those kinds of jobs. You may qualify for a pardon after serving out the sentence, but it’s still possible that you may be denied employment.

National Level Record Searches

Some companies ask for a national-level record search instead of just doing a local search. This cover things like sex offender registries, drug offenders registry, gang affiliation, and terrorist watch lists. Depending on the type of industry you’re working in, you could be exposing yourself to dangerous criminals or terrorists.

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Third-Party Background Checks

Because employers sometimes don’t ask candidates about their criminal records until after they’ve started interviewing for jobs, some companies use online databases to see whether an applicant has been arrested or charged with a crime. When considering which background check provider you’d like to use for a job application or interview, be sure they have a database that contains the companies where you’ve worked before. If you want to leave these background checks to professionals, and you choose the right candidate only based on the results, we recommend that you choose Montana background checks.

Employment History Check

An employment history check is another way to look into a potential employee’s criminal background. It’s usually done through a credit reporting agency. The information from this report includes any arrests, convictions, bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens, repossessions, judgments, wage garnishments, tax liens, unpaid parking tickets, traffic violations, and other court actions. This kind of information isn’t available to employers unless you request it.

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Employment Verification

Once you’ve completed your history examination, you should verify the information you found. For example, if you discovered that a candidate has a criminal record, you’d want to confirm the details of his conviction. You also need to double-check the dates of service on the arrest warrant. Make sure that all the information matches what you found online.


After verifying everything, you should contact references. Ask each person who knows the candidate well enough to give you a recommendation. Be sure to get at least three recommendations. Don’t rely solely on one reference because he or she might not be telling the truth.

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You should interview each and every prospective employee before hiring them. When interviewing someone for a job, asking them open-end question allows you to get to know them better. For instance, “Describe a challenging situation you’ve encountered” or “What would you say if a dissatisfied customer confronted you?”


You now have a better idea of how to conduct a background check on a potential employee. As long as you do your research properly, you shouldn’t encounter many problems when conducting a background check.