Employment Background Check

Hiring managers and employers are running background checks on job applicants to avoid the possibility of hiring a person who might pose a threat to their workplaces or become liabilities.

These days, more than 75 percent of employers and hiring managers are running background checks on every individual they’re hiring.

In general, employment background checks take place when individuals apply for a job. However, these checks may also occur at any time an employer feels they are necessary.

Employers may, for instance, require their employees to take a criminal background check or a drug test on a semi-annual or annual basis for the purpose of providing a secure and safe workplace.

To run pre-employment background checks, employers need a candidate’s consent. They also must provide the candidate’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and current address.

Employment background checks usually include records and information on the candidate’s past seven years though there are states that allow going back 10 years.

What is checked?

Employment background checks can include but are not limited to, an individual’s work history, education, criminal record, medical history, drug screening, driving record, credit history, and social media usage.

Most employers will screen new employees very carefully. Background checks may occur in-house or can be conducted by third-party agencies.

Background checks come with turnaround time frames that may require as little as one or two days up to a month or two, usually depending on the position the applicant is applying to.

How long does a background check take?

Most employment background checks will be completed in a time frame of a few days to a week but some checks take longer. FBI checks, for example, will generally take around one month to be completed.

Some background checks are instantly available but often, this sort of checks relies on databases that are inaccurate and/or incomplete. Many instant criminal records files in databases, for example, contain numerous errors.

Reputable background check agencies will usually tell their clients that they better wait a little while to obtain credible information and to have accurate, more thorough reports. If you want to ace the job interview, just provide all the requested details fully and appropriately. That will help speed up the process and reassure the employer.

Reliable sources

In general, reputable background check agencies will contact a candidate’s prior employers and schools themselves rather than rely on a candidate’s possibly tricky information. Though this may slow down the assessment process, it will make sure they are contacting a credible and legitimate source.

Another reason why the process may take some time is that even today, many former employers and schools don’t have computerized records. They are not under time limits to provide the requested information.

Generally, state and federal departments use standardized turnaround times. In Texas, for example, it will take two times 24 hours to receive a state-wide criminal record or a driving license report.

How to speed up the process

The most efficient way to speeding up the background check process for an employer is to make sure the provided documentation and information are as complete as possible. There may be, however, some reasons why a background screening might take longer.

If the agency receives all of the relevant and required information in a complete dossier, including all references and former employers, it can work more efficiently toward a complete and trustworthy report. And today, employers also have the option to speed up the reporting process by hiring agencies that publish all of their information and reports online.

Why do employers check backgrounds?

Employment background checks during the application procedures may benefit the employer. The checks can protect companies from possible litigation charges in connection with hiring negligence, for example.

Furthermore, background checks may safeguard a company’s public relations and assets and will help current employees to feel secure and safe in the company’s work environment.

We live in a globalized, fast-paced world and for employers and hiring agencies, it has become increasingly difficult to verify a candidate’s resume so employment background checks have become a very important element in hiring procedures.

The benefits of employment background checks may be obvious. Usually, they will lead to less violence in the workplace, the newly hired staff has unquestioned qualities, and a company’s negligent hiring liabilities are reduced.

A well-conducted employment background check will definitely help organizations be more secure and successful when it comes to hiring new employees.

Background checks are necessary

In our contemporary employment world, background checks have become necessary. There are many job applicants that come up with false claims on their references and credentials and particularly in days like these where it’s getting harder to find a good job, screening is important!

Resumes are often full of cover-ups regarding an applicant’s prior criminal activities and estimates are that some 40 percent of all employment background checks result in one or more serious discrepancies.

Estimates are that in the U.S., over a million working days are lost annually due to workplace violence and that lost wages are accounting for more than $50 million each and every year.

Employer responsibility

In the U.S., employers have the legal and moral obligation to provide workers with a safe and secure work environment.

So knowing if a potential new employee has ever been involved in reckless behavior, drug or any other substance abuse, dishonesty, theft, violent or dangerous behavior, or any other criminal activity, allows possible employers to decide whether an applicant is an appropriate candidate for a position.

A trustworthy report on a candidate’s prior history helps employers predict if a candidate will be a good future performer and helps companies determine whether the applicant may pose a threat to the company’s other employees.

In general, employers, and particularly the larger ones and those who work in the public domain, are required either by government regulations, their insurances, or their customers, to carry out background checks.

These employers are required to meet all external requirements, often including obtaining complete background check reports on not only new applicants, but also on current employees on a regular basis if, where, or when applicable.

Employers are required to be vigilant

Employers are expected and required by the law, the courts, and the public to be vigilant when it comes to hiring and screening employees. There are, however, also circumstances that employers are explicitly required to be extra-vigilant when screening employees.

This is the case, for instance, when a company’s employees have access to consumers’ personal, medical, and/or financial information or to consumers’ residences or living quarters.

These extra requirements also apply when a company’s employees are working with the elderly, children, or the infirm, when they are working with hazardous materials, and when they are in a position of responsibility for the safety of themselves or others.

Occupational fraud

Estimates are that, in general, organizations lose some 5 percent of their annual revenue to what it called ‘occupational fraud’. Small organizations and companies are disproportionately hit by occupational fraud. Employee dishonesty and theft can negatively affect employee morale, reduce production, destroy employer reputation, and damage public confidence.

Most employers are aware of employee fraud and theft but some may be bit complacent. However, the true prevalence of this sort of crime is pervasive and perhaps not enough known.

The fact of the matter is that more than 30 percent of all employees have admitted to stealing from employers at one point but the perpetrators may not be the ones you’d expect, some 40 percents are managers and around 38 percent are employees while some 19 percent are executives and owners. Surprised?

So how do background checks help

In general, we can say that a candidate’s prior history will be a pretty good predictor of his or her future performance. So before you’ll be talking about any desired salary-related topics, understand that the employer wants to learn relevant information about you.

Background checks and verifications are tools that can reveal prior issues and potential problem areas. Background-screening agencies provide reports to allow employers to use this information wisely and carefully to eliminate or at least reduce the risks of employee fraud and other risks.

This way, employers are able to avoid hiring candidates with exaggerated or even falsified credentials on job applications or resumes. This way, they will also encourage a drug and violence-free work environment.

Pros of background checks for employees

Candidates who apply to a position with employers that conduct thorough pre-employment background checks have certainly some advantages. These candidates will not be confronted with competing candidates that are lying about their qualification and/or experience and those who provide dubious or even falsified credentials.

Employers that carry out thorough pre-employment background checks, or hire a reputed agency to do so, are generally good and trustworthy organizations.

Usually, these organizations are well-managed, provide safe and secure workplaces, place great value on their employees, and are investing in the quality of their employees.

Quality matters

There are also a few cons of employment background checks that employers need to take into account. These cons are primarily related to money and time. Generally, cheap background checks are poorly done. These background checks will prove to be a waste of a company’s money and time.

Usually, having a cheap check done is worse than having no background check. A bad check can give an employer a false sense of safety and security and is often not in line with state and/or federal legal requirements.

A quality background check may very easily pay for itself. It is strongly recommended that organizations opt for conducting a comprehensive and trustworthy background check that is in line with all legal regulations and requirements.

Legal requirements

In the U.S., there are many local, state, and federal regulations and laws that are applying to employee background checks. These rules, regulations, and laws, need to be followed carefully.

In general, these laws and regulations address, among other criteria, whether the applicant was given notice appropriately, if and how the applicant’s written permission was obtained, whether the information obtained was relevant to the job and used accordingly, or whether the information was handled confidentially and in line with existing privacy laws.

Using a qualified and certified background check agency is the best way for employers to make sure they act in a lawful manner and get the appropriate assistance in finding and revealing all relevant background information.

So employment background checks are generally used by companies to identify an applicant’s prone to risky or unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Background checks regarding, for example, education and prior employment verification, criminal record checks, license verification, and so on, will help employers identify and reveal potential dangerous and problem areas.

Last Updated on March 30, 2020