What Should Employers Look For in a Background Check?

The search for a new hire can be exciting. As a business owner, it represents growth, reinvestment, and the potential to become an even better company. Of course, with such a big decision that impacts your business’ day-to-day functioning, you’ll want to find the perfect employee for the position. The best way to confirm your potential hiring decision is by performing an pre-employment background check that obtains various information on your applicant not otherwise provided in a resume. Even when a background check comes back totally sound, the information provided still gives you a better picture of the person you’re about to hire. 

Performing a background check keeps not only your employees safe, but also your business protected from any future litigation in many forms. You’ll need to find background checks that follow all relevant state and federal laws to screen potential employees in an ethical and legal way, and know how to use that information to your advantage. This simple step can make or break a potential employee – and your business’s hiring process. Let’s take a look at what background check questions you should be asking of your next potential applicant.

What Can Be Revealed in an Employee Background Check

Especially for smaller companies, it can be appealing to skip the nuances of a comprehensive background check and assume your applicant is who they say they are. However, this decision can be incredibly detrimental to the company, financially and also from a company culture perspective. 

Hiring the wrong person not only leads to plenty of internal issues, but lowers company morale and employee faith in management as the residual damage and workload is left for employees to correct. Performing an pre-employment background check confirms an applicant’s provided information and experience by scanning various federal agencies, like the FBI, DEA, U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security, and more. 

Here are some of the things that can be revealed in a background check.

Young woman meeting employers who performed a background check for her education verification, criminal history, and more.

Identity and Employment History Confirmation 

Are you hiring who you think you are? Background checks verify the most important thing of all: that who has applied is who they claim to be. Background checks search the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to make sure a Social Security Number is valid, and make sure it hasn’t belonged to someone else nor been used in the past. They can also verify previous addresses and any other identifying information. 

Employment history in a background check ensures that your applicant truly possesses all of the experience and knowledge necessary to be an efficient employee.

Credit History 

Credit report history is the compiled information held by credit bureaus, the info of which is derived from credit card companies and financial institutions. Credit history works as a back-up identity confirmation, allowing you to cross-reference an applicant’s name, address, and birthday. Credit history then goes on to detail tradelines for mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards, plus their credit limits, current balance, and payment history. Public records would also denote any bankruptcies. 

Often, you’ll find information about past credit inquiries, lenders, and other parties that have asked to view your applicant’s credit report. These reports can demonstrate warning signs, especially if you’re hiring someone who will be handling money. 

Criminal History 

The criminal history of an application reveals criminal convictions at the county, state, or federal level. It can include pending charges, misdemeanor convictions, felony convictions, acquitted charges, and dismissed charges. Examining an applicant’s criminal history helps prevent a business from legal trouble if an employee does something illicit that an employer should have known about, especially when the employee is accused of repeat offenses.

Driving Records 

Driving records, in part, apply to criminal records, but can also detail tickets, speeding violations, and DUIs more specifically. A clean driving record can show you as an employer that your potential employee is compliant with the law.

Education Verification

Education verification is essential, especially in a time when diplomas can be more easily faked. Additionally, even when someone has attended a given institution, they may lie about the degree received or their GPA. In fact, 53% of the application forms we’ve done background checks on have contained lies about education, experience, or abilities. 

Hiring someone with an inadequate background may result in failure to thrive in the workplace and loss of revenue on your end. While the honest information someone has about their education may not always be disqualifying in itself, lying about an education may indicate deeper problems that could encourage you to hire a different applicant.

Why an Employee Background Check Is Essential 

The average total cost of replacing an employee is around $15,000, and 27% of businesses say that accidentally choosing the wrong hire has actually cost their company more than $50,000. These fees come from paying the wrong person for the time they do spend on the job, as well as additional healthcare or litigation expenses. 

Additionally, you’ll be spending time and company equity restarting the hiring process in order to replace a bad hire, which can include the financial burdens associated with training or training courses, employment testing, orientation, and more. Pre-employment background checks help substantiate an investment into a new employee, keeping current employees and the financial future of your business safe.

Choose Pre-Employment Screening From DataCheck 

Are you a business wanting to conduct thorough background checks to screen potential new hires? DataCheck can help! We screen your potential employees with a comprehensive background check, preventing negligent hiring lawsuits as well as encouraging a safer work environment. 

We offer a multitude of screenings and searches, and have worked alongside businesses in the healthcare, finance, technology, government, and education industries, among others. Contact us today to request pricing tailored to your informational needs and number of monthly background checks, or view a sample report of ours online!

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