7 Things to Look for in an Applicant’s Background Check

Finding the perfect employee involves far more than running through employees’ prepared applications and holding interviews. A background check is a necessity, giving employers key information to make an informed decision.

What Employment History to Look For in a Background Check 

To evaluate candidates properly, employers must keep key facets of background checks and federal background check exceptions in mind. Here are the biggest things to look for in your potential employee’s background check.

Criminal Backgrounds 

The biggest red flag in a background check is a criminal history. Background checks show different types of offenses depending on the type of check. They may involve national, federal, state, or county databases. 

National searches show state and local crimes; federal searches show U.S. district and appellate court results regarding federal crimes. State searches show state-level police and/or law enforcement records, and county searches for only county-level charges and dispositions.

Crime Types on Background Checks 

There are many types of crimes, and the type of crime determines the length of time it can exist on a criminal record. Felony criminal convictions are the most serious crimes, of course. These include murder, manslaughter, sexual assault crimes, kidnapping, arson, and large theft. 

Misdemeanor criminal convictions include vandalism, trespassing, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication. Infractions or violations are generally the least serious and include jaywalking, littering, drinking in public, and disturbing the peace. 

Crime Reporting Limitations 

Criminal convictions have no limitations and may appear on criminal background checks for the lifetime of the employee. Criminal convictions are not automatic disqualifications, and time since the offense and what has been done to remedy it should be taken into consideration. 

Petty offenses may not show up on a background check forever and are expunged if they occurred more than seven years ago. While these crimes are not usually as serious, a repeat offender who consistently disturbs the peace or is drunk and disorderly in public may not be the ideal employee.

Sex Offender Status 

One class of criminal charges is sex offenses, which includes sexual harassment or assault-related crimes. When you run background checks for sex offender status, it checks your state’s registry as well as the sex offender national registry, the latter of which includes all state, tribal, and territory registries.

Identity and Employment History Verification 

Identity verification is part of a background check that ensures the person you’re hiring is who they say they are. An extensive database search through entities like the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration help show whether or not a social security number is valid, and if it’s actually associated with the name of the candidate. You can also check an applicant’s information and cross-reference it against the provided information.

Credit Report

Background checks may provide information about an applicant’s credit history through credit reports. Credit reports are prepared by credit bureaus, which collect info from various sources such as credit card companies and financial institutions, like banks. It will show tradelines, which are accounts with established lenders. Information about the type of account — mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc. — and payment history are available. 

Public records are also provided, which can show any previous bankruptcies. Credit reports help paint a better picture of an applicant, indicating responsibility. A negative credit report could indicate a risk if the role involves a financial position in a company. 

Social Media

Social media is not a default part of background checks, but a social media-specific search can provide valuable information about a candidate. While a personal online presence may not necessarily affect work performance, there can be some red flags. 

Keep in mind that whomever you hire will be representing your company. Keep an eye out for inappropriate pictures, profane statuses, and hate speech, especially on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.



Reasons to Run Background Checks on Employees

There are companies that don’t run background checks — but they’re few and far between. One survey showed that 96% of employers conduct at least one type of employment background screening, and refusing to run any checks is an abnormality. 

Based on one Career Builder survey, companies lose $15,000 on average for every wrong hire. 

When you hire the wrong person, you’re opening up your company to potential lawsuits and financial harm. Someone not fit for the job can cost your company thousands in the form of health care expenses, termination expenses, and litigation expenses. Add the costs of a new employee’s hiring resources, employment testing, orientation, and training courses, and the bad hire puts a big hole in company profits. 

There are plenty of reasons someone may not be fit for a job. For one, 70% of substance abusers hold jobs (though this number does include marijuana which is not federally legal but legal in some states). As of 2010, one in every 33 employees was apprehended for stealing from their boss or workplace. 

10% of background checks turn up an adverse record, and 46% of reference and credential verifications showed that a candidate’s resume had a discrepancy or lie. Even The U.S. Department of Labor says the wrong hire can add up to about 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings. Avoid a bad hire calamity by hiring the right person!

Let DataCheck Help With Your Employee Background Checks

DataCheck has been helping employers find the perfect candidate for over 20 years. Our customizable background checks screen potential employees and provide security through drug testing services, background investigations, and pre-employment verifications. 

Not only does using DataCheck help prevent negligent hiring lawsuits, but financially protects your company from the mistake of hiring the wrong person. Curious how DataCheck can help you? Ask your question on our online form to get started on fast, affordable, and high-quality background checks!