How to Do Employee Background Checks

A complete guide to employee background checks.
It is important for entrepreneurs not only to understand the resources at their disposal to recruit the right candidates but also to know how to use them. Employment background checks help employers narrow their candidate pool to the most valuable individuals. Learn more about background checks, why they’re important, what you need, and how to do them.

What is a background check?

A background check is a process of gathering and analyzing information about an individual’s history. The information typically includes a person’s criminal record, education, and employment history. The purpose of a background check is to verify information provided by the individual and to identify any potential issues or concerns that may impact the individual’s ability to perform a job or pose a risk to the organization. Background checks are commonly used by employers as part of the hiring process, but they can also be used by landlords, lenders, and other organizations that need to verify an individual’s background.

Purpose of Employee Background Checks

The primary purpose of employee background checks is to verify the information provided by job applicants and to identify any potential issues or concerns that may impact their ability to perform their job or pose a risk to the organization. This can include criminal history, education, and employment history.

Employers conduct background checks to:

  • Ensure the safety and security of their employees, customers, and assets.
  • Verify the accuracy of the information provided by job applicants.
  • Identify any potential red flags or disqualifying factors, such as a criminal record.
  • Make informed hiring decisions.
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and other illegal activities in the workplace.

It’s important to note that background checks should be conducted in a fair and consistent manner and comply with federal and state laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and anti-discrimination laws.

What does a basic background check include?

01. Criminal records check

A criminal records check, also known as a criminal background check, is a process of searching an individual’s criminal history. This can include information on arrests, charges, convictions, and other related data. The information is typically gathered from government databases and other official records sources.

Criminal records checks can be conducted at the local, state, and federal levels, depending on the type of job, the location of the employer, and the laws of the jurisdiction.

The type of criminal record checks that can be conducted varies. Some employers may only check for felony convictions, while others may include misdemeanors and other types of convictions. Some employers may also check for pending criminal charges or arrest records.

It’s important for employers to consider the relevance of the criminal history to the job and the time that passed since the conviction before making a decision on the candidate. Also, employers should comply with anti-discrimination laws when using criminal records information.

02. Social security validation

Social Security validation is the process of verifying the validity of a person’s Social Security number (SSN) in order to confirm their identity and ensure that it belongs to the person who provided it. This is typically done as part of an employee background check or when verifying an individual’s identity for other purposes.

There are several ways to validate a Social Security number:

  • Verify the number against the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database: The SSA maintains a database of all issued Social Security numbers and can confirm whether a number is valid and belongs to the individual who provided it.
  • Check the number’s format: Social Security numbers are formatted in a specific way, with three groups of numbers separated by hyphens. An invalid number may have the wrong number of digits or be formatted incorrectly.
  • Check for common patterns of fraud: Some individuals may use a fake or stolen Social Security number. Employers should be aware of common patterns of fraud, such as using a number that belongs to a deceased person or using a number that has never been issued by the SSA.

It’s important to note that employers should comply with federal laws such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and the Social Security Act when using SSN information.

03. Address history check

An address history check is a process of verifying an individual’s past residential addresses. This information is often used by landlords, employers, and financial institutions to verify an applicant’s identity and background.

A check typically includes a search of public records, such as property deeds and voter registration records, to confirm an individual’s address history.

The information obtained from an address history check can also be used to determine an individual’s creditworthiness and to detect fraud.

04. A Terror watch list check

A terror watch list check is a process of checking an individual’s name against a list of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the government. The TSDB contains the names, aliases, and other identifying information of individuals who are known or suspected to be involved in terrorist activities.

During a terror watch list check, an individual’s name is compared to the names on the TSDB. If there is a match, further investigation may be conducted to determine if the individual poses a threat.

The watch list check process is used in various areas such as aviation security, border control, and law enforcement, to identify potential terrorists and prevent them from entering the country or boarding an airplane.

It’s important to note that being on the watchlist doesn’t mean an individual is guilty of any crime and it’s not a public document, so the person wouldn’t know if they are on the list. Also, it’s not a list that can be accessed by the general public and it is not used to track or monitor the movements or activities of individuals.

05. Sex offender registry check.

A sex offender registry check is a process of checking an individual’s name against a list of known sex offenders. The registry contains the names, addresses, and other identifying information of individuals who have been convicted of a sex crime, including rape, sexual assault, and child molestation.

During a sex offender registry check, an individual’s name is compared to the names on the registry. If there is a match, further information about the individual’s conviction and status may be revealed. The registry check process is used by employers, landlords, and other organizations to screen individuals who may have contact with vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly.

It’s important to note that being on the sex offender registry doesn’t mean that the individual is a danger to the public, but it’s a way to inform the community of the presence of someone who has committed a sex crime in the past. Also, being on the registry can have significant consequences on an individual’s life, such as restrictions on where they can live and work, so it’s important to be aware of the limitations and consequences of being on the list.

If you are a senior executive looking for a new role, register with us. If you are an employer looking to hire into your leadership team, contact us.

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