Background checks when hiring new employees are now considered a common practice. While companies in some industries are mandated by law to perform background checks, others have voluntarily added it as a part for their hiring process.
What Is Background Checking
Background checking is not a specific search parameter that generates a specific set of results. Instead, it’s the process of checking different private and public records to generate a detailed report about a person. Depending on what databases are searched, a background check can reveal a person’s criminal history, employment history, educational qualifications, driving records, and even medical records.
Large corporations usually rely on third-party firms to conduct background checks. Small companies and private individuals usually perform background checks online using services such as Veromi.
What Do Companies Look for When Performing Background Checks
The search parameters of a background check really depends on the type of job a candidate is applying for. Companies can be held legally responsible for searching irrelevant information. For example, when hiring new drivers Uber and Lyft might check a person’s driving records. However, a company hiring an accountant would almost never check the driving records of shortlisted candidates. Similarly, when hiring a babysitter or a child care professional, checking the Sex Offender Registry and DOJ’s record of people convicted of child abuse and neglect is deemed extremely relevant.
Following are three things that are consistently checked by almost all employers.
Criminal Records: This is a standard part of background checking. This searches public databases such as police records and FBI criminal database to find out if a person has ever been charged with a crime. The record also reveals if he or she was convicted or not. However, having a criminal record may not be enough ground for instant disqualification. Some state laws (New York and Pennsylvania) mandate companies to submit a formal explanation if they reject a candidate solely based on his or her criminal history.
Employment History: Almost all companies that perform background checks would verify the work history of the selected candidates. This is a routine check to verify the work history details listed in the resume.
Identity: According to 2017 data, 67% of all companies performing pre-hire checks perform an identity check. This is to ensure the person applying for the job is actually the person who he says he is.
Details That Are Not Routinely Checked by Employers
Credit History: Credit history is what banks verify before issuing loans and credit cards. For most employers, this is an irrelevant information. Only 28% of employers who perform background checks as a part of their hiring process checked the credit history of candidates. That percentage is steadily declining.
Medical History: Health records are considered highly personal information. More and more employers are now opting out of checking medical history. Considering that companies can be held legally responsible for checking irrelevant data, most firms selecting candidates for regular office jobs never bother to check the medical history of the candidates. Some companies do, however, ask employees to go for a routine medical check-up.