background check

Background Check & Screening Guide


by Charlie Cutler, June 23, 2022

Conducting a background check for employment purposes is essential, but for many businesses and managers, it is a very hard-to-handle tool.

And while background checks can help assist in selecting the best possible candidates for your organization, you need to approach them studiously.

What does that mean? Well, it’s mostly answering questions like:

  • What parts should you check? 
  • How does it work? 
  • How to choose the right partner to do it for you?
  • And most importantly – how to reduce hiring risks and improve the process?

With this guide, I intend to help you find out how to do an employee background check before hiring someone and discover tips to develop an adequate background check policy.

Background checking Is a Process of Authentication

What Is an Employee Background Check? An employee background check is a process used to verify if a person is who they claim to be. It also provides an opportunity for someone to check a candidate’s criminal record, education, employment history, and other past activities.

60% of employers conduct background checks and screenings during the hiring process to make sure they choose the best people for their organizations.

The Main Reasons You Need Background Checks and Screenings

Why do you need to conduct background checks? The #1 reason for conducting background checks is to avoid job fraud. These processes help you make a solid, well-informed decision, making the hiring process smoother.

Just imagine hiring someone who doesn’t know their job, has a false degree, or has a custom of arguing on social media. Running a background check, you mitigate the risk potential of legal liabilities and other safety issues.

background check

Types of Background Checks and Screening

Let’s talk about the complexity of background checking and job screening techniques. We will also outline the many sources of information that must be consulted to do the job right.

Candidate History and Potential Criminal Record

avoid hiring someone who could be a liability.  Some reports have revealed that one in every six candidates lies on their resumes. In this step, as an employment background check you must (typically) include these steps:

  1. The candidate’s work history
  2. Educational qualifications
  3. Driving record
  4. Medical history, and
  5. Criminal record.

Do not forget to notify the candidate in writing about the background check! You must have their consent!

Simultaneously, it is illegal for the employer to ask about drug use, age, race, ethnicity, disability, marital status, and pregnancy during an interview or a background check. 

Protected information cannot be used to influence employment decisions! 

Credit Background Checks

Credit background screening helps in verifying the record of a person’s credit-to-debt ratio, and it includes information about an individual’s financial activity (whether a job candidate pays their bills, has he/she taken out loans, filed for bankruptcies, and more).

Professional Licence And Certifications

Background screening is there to verify if the candidate possesses a valid license that protects the employer from negligent hiring claims.  Sectors that majorly run a professional license background check include:

  • Real estate and home contractors, including electricians, builders, and plumbers
  • Education, including college professors and administrators
  • Banking and insurance

Try to ask the candidates for permission to disclose education records, military records, and potential disability (medical) claims. 

Reference Checks

The most embellished college education details can actually be terminated by the company after a few months. That is why reference checks are a true technique for screening job candidates, and revealing their strengths, weaknesses, and overall performance.

Social media verification

Do not overlook how they talk to people online, what they post, how many followers they have, or what their interests are (what pages they follow). The “social media life” can help “round off” the candidate’s profile.

Last Step: Talk to the Candidate. With Empathy.

At FOCUS, we always encourage a conversation between the candidate and the employer to post every check. 

If the checks come out clean, the conversation would encourage the start of a professional relationship and team building.

And if the checks come out with red flags, the conversation is even more warranted. Try to understand why the candidate manufactured some of the information. 

Make sure you find a position you could offer, and then visualize if the candidate would fit in, with adequate checks in place.

Say Hello