7 types of background checks employers need to screen candidates
As an employer, it is your responsibility to carefully screen your candidates to protect your business, your current employees, and yourself. While you can delegate this task to someone else (your HR team, for example), you need to know how your candidates are selected. You should focus on certain types of background checks, which we’ll discuss in the text below. Keep in mind that you will need to inform the candidate before proceeding with these checks.
Criminal record checks
Depending on the type of job the candidate is applying for, a criminal record check may be required. This is usually the case if the job involves working with vulnerable people, such as children, the sick or the elderly. These types of checks are done to ensure the safety of all people the person comes in contact with. For a typical criminal record check, the following areas are investigated:
- Sex offender registers
- Terrorist Watchlists
- National, national and regional crime databases
- Federal criminal record
If you are able to do so, you may choose to disregard the applicant’s criminal history, depending on the nature of the charge. For example, you may find that the applicant has a history of petty theft since childhood. You can ask them questions about it, and if they are honest and give a satisfactory answer, you can still benefit from offering them the job.
This type of background check is not always used, but it can find out if a person is in financial pain or has a bad credit history. You can get these reports from credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Some information will show up on their credit check for the previous seven years, while bankruptcy filings will show up to ten years ago.
These reports are useful when the job is about money management or financial management. If the person has a habit of paying late bills or filing for bankruptcy, they are unlikely to be a good fit for a position where they advise others on how to manage their money.
The precise history of education is simple enough to add to a resume. Unfortunately, some people try to creatively improve their education in the hope of being selected for a job they are not qualified for.
If you find that your candidate lied about where they attended school or their credentials, that is not a good sign for them. They have shown that they will be dishonest in getting what they want, which can be reflected in any future work they do for you. With that in mind, you can ask them about the deception and they can have a reasonable explanation. It is up to you to decide if you are willing to ignore their attempted deception.
Verification of past employment
Similar to education, when you perform a background check, you will want to check the applicant’s employment history. Part of this is to make sure they aren’t lying to you and also to verify that they have the qualifications and experience to handle the new position. A lot of people will inflate their old job title and claim to have had more advanced responsibilities than they did. This can cause problems if you assign them tasks that you think they can handle.
In addition to checking past positions and responsibilities, you should also check employment dates to see if they match the candidate’s resume. It is a way to identify the gaps in the job that they are trying to hide. A candidate should be upfront and honest with an employer about why they experienced a shortfall in their job and offer a general explanation of what they were doing during that time.
Nowadays, it is quite common to find out that someone has passed themselves off as a false identity. Identity theft is a serious offense, but some people get away with it for many years. You can verify the identity of your candidate to make sure they are who they say they are.
There are many third-party services that you can use to perform this task. These services will explore the past to verify the person’s name, social security number, date of birth, and address. It will reassure you knowing that you are hiring someone under their real name and not under false pretenses.
A reference check is one way for you to verify the personality traits of your future employee. Most applicants include a place for an applicant to provide between one and three references, preferably from former employers or colleagues.
When doing a reference check, you don’t need to focus so much on the facts of the job because you already covered it during the job check process. Instead, try to figure out how the employee works in a team environment and if you can count on them. It’s a good opportunity to ask questions about their punctuality, their interpersonal skills, communication skills, adaptability and leadership abilities.
Social media presence
A simple but effective method of background check is to search for the candidate’s presence on social media. This is a good way to find out if the candidate is someone you want to work for in your company. For example, you can browse their Facebook profile and find that they frequently post hate messages. This could be an indication that the person has an angry temper. Or you might find that they are engaging in illegal substances, which is also a red flag.
Don’t forget to check their LinkedIn profile as well as. This is another easy way to verify the information they have provided on their resume or while chatting with you. You can check their skill recommendations to see if they might fit better for a different role in your business.
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