Do Small Businesses Need Employee Background Checks?

Small businesses are thriving in today’s economy, and arguably are the lifeblood of many industries. As competition in the workforce heats up, it’s important for small business owners to protect their establishments from risk and choose candidates who fit the unique culture of their typically intimate and diverse workplaces. 


It’s become an important focus for CEOs at companies of all sizes to locate quality employees that add value to the company and are more likely to stick around for the long haul. An employee background check is a very critical step for small businesses. These background check questions won’t just notify you if the potential candidate has anything questionable in their past, but can also help you to understand the full picture of whether or not they’ll fit in with the rest of the company and daily requirements.

Why Small Businesses Specifically Benefit From an Employee Background Check 

Protecting your investment in employees and focusing on ROI are essential to the hiring process. The wrong hire can cost a company thousands of dollars, meaning that small businesses truly have the most to gain from a thorough background check. 

To put it in perspective, it’s often said that it can cost 50% of the bad hire’s salary to simply replace them. Employees who don’t end up working out may be less of a burden for a larger corporation, but for small businesses, the paperwork, training, and onboarding can be costly.

A situation that involves litigation is also more likely with the wrong hire. Small businesses often don’t have the spare funds to handle long lawsuits, especially those from negligent hiring. With fewer people on hand, these businesses need to have reliable employees – most notably when they’re handling money or sensitive information, including things ranging from consumer data to business trade secrets. 


Staff members of small businesses tend to work more closely, meaning that sensitive info is abundant, and it can be a huge problem to put the wrong person in charge of any aspect of your small business, no matter how small that role may seem.

Small business owner interviews young woman for open position after performing an employee background check.

Background Screening for Particular Small Business Roles 

Smaller businesses may be able to circumnavigate the higher fees occasionally associated with an employee background check by choosing screening packages that cover only certain selections of data, such as exclusively criminal, credit, or employment history. Here, we’ll look at some of the more specific yet common positions, and why certain aspects of a background check are essential for these roles.

Delivery Drivers 

Delivery drivers are commonplace in many industries, especially given the rising popularity of drop-off services due to COVID-19. When choosing employees to move your goods, you’ll want to order driving records and criminal background checks.


Doing so confirms that any packages, food, or items out for delivery will arrive safely without the risk of being damaged or stolen. Additionally, it proves that a potential driver obeys driving laws, preventing litigation should an employee make a driving error on company time.

Cashiers and Accountants 

Cashiers, accountants, check-out staffers, and retail employees will often handle large amounts of money. For those fulfilling these positions, you’ll want to order an employee background check that covers their criminal and credit histories at a minimum. This information will provide you with insight on if a potential employee is good with money, has any past convictions with stealing or embezzling, and even if they pay rent promptly.

Consumer-Facing Employees

Brick-and-mortar shops often employ people to run the store on a day-to-day basis, all of which will be consumer-facing. When hiring for this position, you need a person who objectively makes other people feel safe. Background checks can include sex offender status, violent criminal record convictions, and social media posts containing hate speech.

Work Eligibility 

No matter the role, you as an employer want to choose employees who are legally allowed to be working in the place of your business to ensure their longevity. Much like the wrong hire can be costly when they make a mistake, it can be just as expensive to replace an employee who suddenly leaves due to work ineligibility. A work eligibility employee background check can help validate a social security number, education records, and personal references provided by the applicant.

Small business employer checks a checklist for an applying employee that passes various background checks.

What Is a Negligent Hiring Claim?

One of the biggest reasons to perform an employee background check on a potential employee is to avoid negligent hiring claims. A negligent hiring claim is a legal claim made against an employer from a standing employee who was injured or harmed by a coworker who has a history of similar or related incidents. Because if you, the employer, bring someone with a dangerous background into a work environment, presumably without the input of existing employees, it falls under your responsibility should anything detrimental happen.


A negligent hiring claim presents the idea that an employer or boss should have known about the harmful employee’s history before hiring them. Performing an employee background check can prevent you from hiring someone with this background, circumventing situations like these entirely. They protect you not just from harming your small business with the wrong hire, but keeping current employees safe, sound, and happy to be working for you.


Negligent hiring may even extend to an employee’s unfitness for a job, where the hiring party does not take enough care to find someone competent for the position. In the best case scenarios, this may result in some work animosity as a fellow coworker doesn’t pull his or her weight. At its worst, you put other employees at risk for potential injury or harm. For example, if you choose someone without the experience necessary to operate a piece of heavy machinery and do not provide training, a new hire who incorrectly uses said machinery could physically harm an experienced coworker – an injury that you’re now liable for.

How DataCheck’s Employee Background Check Services Benefit Small Businesses

Small businesses may lack the resources to perform background checks alone, due to the often-high cost of achieving access to all of the necessary data for making the right call in hiring someone. A comprehensive background check requires time and focus that most small business owners don’t have to dedicate to the process. Choosing instead to hire an established, professional and compliant service provider to assist with background screening provides peace of mind so you can make hiring choices with confidence. 


With DataCheck, you avoid negligent hiring claims, as well as potential harm to your business, employees, and customers. It’s a small cost to pay that impacts small businesses in a big way. Contact us today to get started on thorough and complete background checks on your potential employees!