Background Check Basics


Note – This blog post was originally published in 2013, but we’ve updated it to make it more relevant to employers in 2017.

Background checks are becoming more important to the hiring process these days. If you want to hire the most qualified applicants and avoid bad hires that will cost you money, you need to incorporate background checks into your hiring process. If you are thinking of using background checks at your company, here are the basics you need to know.

They Create a Safer, More Profitable Workplace

A background check shouldn’t be something you do AFTER you hire someone, it should be one of the first things you do with an applicant. Your company should make it well-known that you conduct background checks on all of your potential employees. The companies that widely announce this by posting it on their website and in classified ads will see a lower rate of “hits”, or background screening that come back with something negative on them.

By using background checks with your hiring process, you will avoid making bad hires. Bad hires will not only decrease the safety of the workplace, it will cost your business money.

Background Checks Make Effective Leadership Possible

The days when employees simply sat at their desks and crossed out items on a list of tasks delegated by management are over. These days, creativity and collaboration are more important than ever, and according to management consultants INNOVA Group, good modern management is all about promoting “self-governance, continuous learning, and proactive customer development.”

But while good management is important to fostering such an environment, it also requires the right team. Background checks help managers to verify not only that an applicant is who and what they say they are, but that they have the background necessary for such a modern business environment.

What Background Checks Cost

A comprehensive background check, which includes criminal, employment, education, plus a few other specific checks, typically cost between $100 and $200 per person. While this may seem like a big cost, it can save you thousands in the future. If it helps you avoid a bad hire, your company can be saving thousands of dollars in potential losses that employee would have cost you. By not conducting background checks you are putting your company in jeopardy of being sued for negligent hiring. The average jury award for a negligent hiring suit against a company is almost $900,000.

What to Check

Background check companies will offer a variety of different reports. There are often specialized packages of reports, but you can be specific with the reports you want also. Here are some of the most common background check reports:

• Employment Verification
• Criminal Background
• Education History Verification
• Motor Vehicle Driving Record
• Drug Testing
• Social Security Number Validation/Verification

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