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What is a background check?

A background check is a process of investigating an individual or an organization’s past activities to compile their criminal, financial and commercial records. The aim of the background check is not to implicate anybody but is a way to understand the person better. Although they are expensive to perform, they are essential for employers as they determine who is and who is not worth the job. Some highly sensitive positions such as judges and doctors would be significantly compromised if anybody was allowed to practice them. Also, companies are saved from a bad hire and potential lawsuits in future which adds to the necessity of this process. Below are the four main background checks.

Criminal Record Checks

A criminal record check is the most common. This is probably due to its relevance to many positions. Almost every employer will require this type check before hiring. A properly conducted background check reveals dishonest or violent behaviors of the person which in turn affects their eligibility to the position they had applied to. In such a case the employer may refuse the applicant a job based on that. If a person has previous records of theft and assault, then their suitability for unsupervised positions drastically drops. Similarly, a candidate who has been previously convicted of fraud and embezzlement loses a chance for an executive job.

Credit Checks

The second component of a professional background check involves compiling credit records. Although it is a critical search, it is also open to more than one interpretation, and employers struggle with it. The hardest part for the employer is to determine which candidate should undergo the check. Also, how to interpret and apply the results to the hiring decision is yet another big task for the employer.

Even so, not all candidates should take the credit check. Screening for financial responsibility should be for the candidates who handle and manage a company’s assets. There is a difference between checking for employment or lending purposes. The latter should be done for anyone applying for loans and funding.

Reference Checks

Reference checks examine a candidate’s behavior at the workplace. Mostly they are used to screen candidates in the entry level positions all the way up to the CEO. A list of questions about the candidate provides insight whether they succeed or not. The questions asked for each position are similar which significantly affects the effectiveness of the check as each job position comes with different skills. Reference checking is either done by the employer or a reputable third party contracted by the employer.

Employment and Education Verification

The last part would be ascertaining the legitimacy of the candidate’s education and employment history. The two reveal unbiased information on the qualification of the candidate. This is found directly from the source such as HR, payroll and student records of all the schools attended. When conducted properly, they provide credibility to any recommendation given by former employers.

As seen above, the four background checks are vital if a great candidate will be hired. Ignoring them when hiring may cost the employer a fortune.

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