Why Employers Conduct Background Checks

Employers are starting to include background checks as part of the hiring process for many positions. The information contained in a background check can be very important when it comes time to hire the right person for a job. A background check can reveal a lot of information about a person and may help employers make difficult decisions when they have multiple applicants that seem qualified and appropriate for the job. Sometimes, the information discovered will help them make a final decision.

What Information Can an Employer Learn by Using Background Checks?

When conducting a background check on a potential employee, an employer can learn several important things about a person. First, they will find out about any criminal history, which can be an automatic rule-out for many positions. A potential employee with a criminal history that includes acts of violence or theft may be someone that the employer definitely does not want to hire. The presence of these offenses on a person’s background may make them too much of a risk. For a job that requires driving, or a clean driving record, a background check will help employers ensure that the person driving on work time does not have alcohol or drug-related offenses, or a huge number of speeding tickets or other moving violations. When a job includes driving, the employer cannot afford the insurance troubles that accompany employee driving problems.

Another important thing that employers can learn about applicants for a job when they use background checks is that person’s credit score and credit history. While applying for a job is not the same as applying for a loan or credit card, and the employer is not granting credit to that person, a person with a poor credit score or bad credit history may be someone who is irresponsible and unreliable. These are traits that most employers want to avoid when making a new hire. A credit history can often be related to a person’s financial well-being, also. Employers generally want to hire people who are responsible with their money and credit, because that will generally indicate that the person is reliable and trustworthy.

When it comes to establishing trust, the background check can also confirm much of the information supplied by a potential job applicant. This means that the employer can verify academic credentials and other claims made by the applicant. Unfortunately, this can be necessary because of the ease of exaggeration when it comes to completing a job application or resume. If a person claims to have a certain degree or certification, a background check will help the employer know that the person is being truthful, which is the first step when entering into a employer-employee relationship. No employer wants to hire someone who lies or falsifies information on their resume or job application.

In today’s job market, social media has also become quite relevant. Employers may include review of social media for potential job candidates as well. Most people have been warned about what to post on their social media, and that anything posted can be found through a search. Posts that promote drugs, violence, extreme political views, irresponsible behavior, or other unwanted images about a person can eliminate them when they are applying for a job. Someone who mainly posts interesting or funny items, vacation pictures, cat videos, or family memories may appear to be more desirable than someone who constantly complains, posts partying pictures constantly, or makes inappropriate racial or political posts.

How Can an Employer Conduct Background Checks?

An employer must have the permission of the applicant to conduct a background check. They will need certain personal information about the person in order to complete the background check. They will need their full legal name, birth date, address, social security number, and a signature that guarantees permission to access the background check. Employers must be forthcoming if employment in a certain position is dependent upon a clean background check. People applying for jobs should inquire whether or not a background check is a condition of employment, particularly if there is anything in their background that may exclude them from consideration. If there is something in your background that may be perceived as negative but is easily explainable, then it is important for the applicant to be very upfront about the potential discovery, to avoid embarrassment and to also improve the odds that they be considered for a position.

Background checks can be extremely helpful for employers when trying to learn as much as possible about someone they plan to hire. An employer is making an investment in that person, by training them, paying their salary, offering benefits, and having them represent their company in a positive way. A problem with the background check can alert an employer to potential problems and help them avoid making a costly hiring mistake.

Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.