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Types of Background Checks

Wondering what type of background checks can be performed on you? Here's a listing of the background checks which you might encounter.

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Types of Background Checks

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  1. Different Types of Employment Background Checks

  2. Quite often, job applicants find themselves caught off guard at a job interview when their prospective employer asks for permission to run a background screening. This is understandable: no one wants to have someone they don’t know very well digging around in their past…

  3. However, background checks have become the norm in the employment sector because of how they can save a hiring manager from giving a job away to a dangerous or unpredictable entity. So for those who are unfamiliar with the pre-employment background check process, here is a quick primer on some of the background inspections employers may be running.

  4. What Are the Different Types of Employment Background Checks Available?

  5. Criminal History Regardless of what other types of background screenings an employer is running, there is almost no pre-employment background check that does not include a look into the applicant’s criminal history. This type of check can be rendered on both the state and nationwide level, and looks for any criminal convictions that the applicant may have accumulated over the years. A nationwide criminal history screening may include an FBI fingerprint check.

  6. Sex Offender Sex-related offenses may turn up on a criminal history check, but employers will generally run separate checks to determine if their applicant’s name is on any sex offender registry lists.

  7. Terrorist Watch Lists Similar to sex offender registry checks, screenings in this vein involve the perusal of terrorist watch lists to ensure that an applicant is not a known enemy of the state or a threat to national security.

  8. Wants and Warrants Just because an applicant doesn’t have a criminal conviction doesn’t mean they aren’t wanted for an outstanding charge. Employers may recognize this fact with a “wants and warrants” check, which looks for arrest warrants on county, state, and federal levels and which is useful for helping an employer to avoid hiring a wanted criminal.

  9. Verification Checks In order to determine whether or not an applicant has been honest on their resume and job application, an employer may request various verification background checks. These screenings are used to -- • Confirm an applicant’s education • View records relating to their previous job • Check the validity of any professional permits or licenses they might have • Contact the their listed references to learn more about professional and personal qualities

  10. Credit History Especially with jobs in finance, a hiring manager may pull credit reports on his or her prospective employees in order to determine their history with money. These checks may be used to draw conclusions about someone’s reliability, their spending habits, their ability to handle money and plan ahead, and their overall professionalism.

  11. Social Security Validation In order to root out fraud, employers will seek to validate an applicant’s social security number before making a hiring decision.

  12. Drug Screenings Many pre-employment background checks go hand-in-hand with a drug screening in an effort to provide for the safest and most productive workplaces possible.

  13. Civil Histories In addition to criminal histories, a pre-employment background check may dig up an applicant’s entire court history, from divorces and custody disputes to worker’s compensation claims and lawsuits.

  14. Other Miscellaneous Information The above categories represent the bulk of the information that a pre-employment background check will be looking for in any given circumstance. However, other pieces of information may or may not enter in to the conversation as well, including -- • Vehicle Registration • Driving Records • Property Ownership • Medical Records • And More

  15. Putting Background Checks into Practice

  16. As you can see, pre-employment background checks are used to uncover a wide variety of information. But how can you organize these disparate checks into the kind of efficient and consistent background check procedure that can help you to differentiate between the good applicants and the sketchy ones?

  17. The answer can be found by breaking the many different background check types into three general steps or categories and then conducting them one by one in a linear process…

  18. 1. Start Big The biggest part of virtually any pre-employment background check is the search for an applicant’s criminal history. When you go to design an employee background check procedure for your business, it is highly probable that your first priority will be to weed out criminals and felons with convictions that can and should disqualify them from the job at hand.

  19. Many employers run criminal background checks only at local or state levels, but this can leave plenty of stones left unturned and can ultimately result in you missing key pieces of information about your potential employees. If you want to know as much about the criminal histories of your applicants – or lack thereof – the only way to do so is to run a nationwide criminal database search. As the biggest-picture check in your background check procedure, the national criminal check should be the first check you run on any prospective employee.

  20. 2. Increase Specificity When you run a nationwide criminal check, you will likely uncover the vast majority of criminal offenses on any applicant’s record. However, from time to time, even nationwide checks can miss something, and you don’t want to overlook the one red flag conviction that turns your applicant from an attractive would-be employee to a potentially dangerous liability to your business.

  21. Once the nationwide check is done, move on to direct searches at smaller and more localized courts. The best way to do this is to find a background check vendor that will be able to track your applicant’s address history using their social security number. Once you know where your applicant has lived, you can make a list of close-proximity county, state, and federal jurisdictions. Consider running background checks at each individual court to find everything from misdemeanor charges to federally-prosecuted cases.

  22. 3. Supplement with Additional Checks With the gauntlet run on criminal background checks, you should consider rounding out your pre-employment screening procedure with a variety of supplementary checks. Look through the list of background check types provided in the first portion of this article and try to determine which pieces of information you would most want to know about your prospective employees.

  23. The best supplementary checks will vary depending on the job at hand – from a professional license verification check for a job where certifications are an important benchmark to credit reports for a position involving the management of money – but in all cases, they should be done to help determine the honesty and trustworthiness of your applicants and to set your mind at ease about whoever you ultimately choose to hire.

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