Background check for employment

Publishing a job vacancy and going through applications is just the start of a complex hiring process which typically takes up to three months for medium to large enterprises. The background check for employment takes up the bulk of the recruiting process. It’s time consuming and comes with various expenses. 

Even if you have a dedicated HR team vetting all your applicants, they have to spend hundreds of hours making phone calls and writing emails, as well as searching through possibly thousands of databases, which is why organizations of all sizes often rely on background screening service providers like Intelimasters to share the leg work or even oversee the entire hiring process to shortlist the best candidates for interviews.

Senior managers making hiring decisions don’t have time to interview candidates that may or may not be suitable for the vacant role. They only want to deal with the shortlisted candidates that have already been screened and are the most suitable handful out of hundreds or even thousands of job seekers. 

Experienced recruiters know that up to half of the applicants will turn out to be unsuitable for one reason or another. In fact a significant proportion of applicants actually lie or exaggerate claims on their resumes, which is why background checks before employment are so important.

Below are the most common types of checks done by background screening agencies on behalf of their clients. Not all of these checks are necessary. It depends on the type of work or position you aim to fill. Your background screening agent can advise you on the most important checks to do before making hiring decisions.

6 Most common background checks

  1. Identity Verification – Checking applicant names against social security details to verify that the person exists and that you are not about to employ someone involved in identity theft, which is rife and affects millions of people worldwide annually.
  2. Education and qualifications – Verifying certificates and diplomas to ensure they are genuine or that the candidate actually attended the school, college or university on their application and that they completed the courses.
  3. Employment history – Contacting former employers and references provided by applicants to verify their employment history, employment dates and reasons for leaving.
  4. Criminal records – Checking public records in local and national databases to see whether candidates have any previous convictions or have served time for any crimes. This specialized background check sometimes requires sifting through thousands of databases such as county courts, sex offender lists and others on both local and national levels. Intelimasters also carries out global background checks for clients hiring abroad.
  5. Financial history (Credit Check) – When hiring for senior positions with high levels of responsibility, checking financial records is important to see whether candidates have ever been bankrupt, convicted of fraud or whether they hold or have held directorships in other companies that could be cause for a conflict of interest.  
  6. Social media use – Someone’s social media profile can be very insightful but can also be very misleading. You can get an idea of a candidate’s online activity, popularity or standing in the community, which may at least tell you that person exists but employers must exercise extreme caution here, as with all of the background checks listed above, when making hiring decisions based on your findings.

What are the legal requirements for employers doing a background check?

Employers can ask job applicants to provide certain information on their applications forms as a starting point for a pre-employment background check. However, do be sure you are aware of local privacy laws such ‘Ban The Box’ regulations on some US states, which prohibit employers asking job applicants about any previous criminal convictions. 

Searching through public records to verify information, including criminal and financial records is perfectly legal but you could find yourself in hot water if you make hiring decisions that could be seen as discriminatory. You must ensure you are in compliance with local or national privacy protection and equal employment opportunity laws regarding race, colour, national origin, gender, religion or disabilities and genetic health information.

Our background screening team at Intelimasters can help you make those decisions based on the role you aim to fill and the employment laws you have to abide by in your location. Streamline your background check for employment by omitting unnecessary searches and you’ll save valuable time, money and resources in the long run by focusing only on the type of background check required for that particular role. You’ll also mitigate the risks of making a bad hire.