Before You Hire, Perform a Background Check

When forced to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some workers found they liked the flexibility that came with no commute. They're now looking for new jobs that will provide them with permanent remote work options or offices closer to home. Others, who lost their jobs last year or whose family situation forced them to quit their last position, are also among the jobseekers.

Employment turnover means that many businesses are likely to have positions to fill and candidates to interview and screen. To help your company select the best person for a role — and minimize the risk of hiring a criminal — be sure to conduct background checks. This is particularly important for management roles, accounting department staffers and anyone who will work with vulnerable populations such as children or the elderly.

job interview

Why Check?

Job candidates typically make every effort to present themselves as the most qualified individual for a position. In most cases, they don't conceal aspects of their background because they don't have anything to hide from a potential employer. However, convicted criminals or those who left previous jobs under a cloud for alleged unethical behavior, may try to obscure their criminal or employment history. Some with less-objectionable backgrounds may simply lie about their education or professional accomplishments. Either one can lead you to hire someone you don't necessarily want on your payroll.

Some employers are willing to give candidates with tarnished records a chance. But to make such a decision, you first need to have all the facts. A background check can provide you with a fuller picture of a prospective employee's background and reduce potential liability should you hire someone who later commits occupational fraud or injures a coworker, customer or other individual while on the job.

It's important to note that not every individual convicted of a crime has violent tendencies. However, hiring an employee with a history of violence can increase the likelihood of workplace violence. Also, individuals who have committed occupational fraud either may not have been caught or weren't convicted. To prevent negative publicity, many employers prefer to quietly fire thieves rather than prosecute them.

Be Careful

The specifics of a background check vary according to the data available and the vendor you engage to perform the check. But in general, you can expect a basic background check to cover a candidate's employment, education, criminal history and driving record. If the individual is applying for a job that involves financial data or transactions, you should also request a credit history to determine whether, for example, the candidate is deeply in debt. You may want to add a search of civil court records, too.

But before you start checking backgrounds, get authorization from your legal department or outside counsel. Your attorney may ask you to write a policy governing the use of pre-employment background checks. Such a policy helps ensure that everyone in your organization understands when it's appropriate to conduct a check and how the information may be used.

Given the inherent complexity of conducting background checks, and the challenges of gathering and verifying data as accurate, many organizations engage a third-party service. When selecting a vendor:

If you're in any doubt regarding a service's ability to comply with relevant laws and regulations, look elsewhere.

More Confidence

Gathering a complete picture of a candidate's background enables your organization to make hiring decisions with greater confidence. Although most individuals don't have a criminal history, verifying the claims on someone's resume and application can help prevent fraud and other negative outcomes.

We Help You Get to Your Next Level™

Get in touch today and find out how we can help you meet your objectives.

Call Us