Differences between Basic vs. Comprehensive Employment Background Checks

2 min read
Fri, Mar 22, 2024

The primary purpose of background checks is to verify the accuracy of the information provided by job applicants and to assess their suitability for a particular position. These screenings can reveal important details about an individual's criminal history, employment history, education, and professional qualifications, among other things.

Employers must understand the critical discrepancies in pre-employment background checks to ensure the screens are relevant to protecting their businesses. 

Hiring professionals - learn the differences between Basic and Comprehensive employment background checks to make an informed decision during hiring.


Scope of Information Covered in Basic Background Checks

Basic background checks typically involve verifying an applicant's identity, checking for criminal records, and confirming employment history. They may also include verifying an individual's education and professional certifications and conducting reference checks.

While basic background checks provide valuable insights, they may not uncover more detailed information such as credit history, civil litigation records, or other concerning behavior.

Hiring managers should consider the position's specific requirements when deciding whether a basic background check is sufficient or a more comprehensive check is necessary.

Job-Related Background Checks Ebook

Benefits of Comprehensive Background Checks

Comprehensive employment background checks offer several advantages over basic checks. They provide a more thorough assessment of an applicant's background and typically include a wider range of information, such as credit history, driving records, litigation records, and drug testing.

Comprehensive background checks can further help employers identify potential red flags that may not be evident in basic checks, such as financial instability or a history of violent behavior.

With this additional information, hiring managers can mitigate the risk of negligent hiring and make more informed decisions about potential employees.

Differences in Cost and Time Efficiency

Due to the limited nature of the screenings, basic background checks are generally quicker and less expensive than comprehensive checks.

Conversely, comprehensive background checks can be more time-consuming and costly due to the extensive information that needs to be gathered and analyzed for accuracy and relevancy.

Employers should consider their budget, tolerance for risk, and the urgency of the hiring process when deciding which type of background check to conduct.

Turnaround Time:  How Long Do Background Checks Take?

Legal Implications and Compliance Standards

Both basic and comprehensive background checks must comply with legal regulations and standards to ensure fairness and protect the rights of job applicants. Employers must adhere to federal and state laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), when conducting background checks.

These laws dictate how background checks should be performed, the information that can be considered, and the steps necessary if adverse action is to be taken based on the background check results.

Hiring professionals should consult with their legal team or background screening companies to ensure they follow the appropriate legal procedures and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

While more costly and time-intensive, comprehensive background checks can mitigate the risk of negligent hiring and identify potential red flags that may not be apparent in basic screenings. Hiring professionals should consider the specific requirements of the position and weigh the benefits of each type of background check in terms of cost, time efficiency, and legal compliance. By staying informed and following the appropriate legal procedures, employers can protect their businesses and make sound decisions when bringing new employees on board.

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