What's the Most Common Background Check and What Does It Tell Employers?

2 min read
Fri, Dec 10, 2021

Most Common Background Check and What Does It Tell EmployersWhen hiring managers request background checks on candidates, it's to protect the employer, other employees, and the customers served by the business. Negligent hiring is a real concern that could lead to physical damage, financial restitution, and damage to the organization's reputation. For those seeking to save money on background checks or need a quick turnaround time, a basic background check might suffice. Here's a primer on what to expect.

What's the most common background check and what does it tell employers?


Background Checks Explained

When obtaining information on a potential employee, hiring managers must verify that they've gathered accurate and truthful information on their candidate. When new employees have access to secure company information, private customer data, or the finances of either, employers need to know the candidate can be trusted. Background checks can be used to confirm a variety of data - from the identity of the applicant to their education and employment history. Employers are also looking for any warning signs that the candidate has caused problems in the past.

Employee Screening:  Types of Employee Background Checks

The Most Common Background Check

Because of the protective nature of background searches, the most common background check will verify the identity of an applicant, review criminal history, and test for substance abuse. Criminal history searches include research at the local, state, and sometimes federal levels. The most common pre-employment background checks are:

  • Identity Verification: Verify the full name, social security number, date of birth, known aliases, and prior address history of a candidate.
  • National Criminal Database and Sex Offender Search: Pulled from participating jurisdictions, court records, department of corrections, superior court index of felonies and misdemeanors, and traffic court records.
  • County Criminal Court Search: Often the most accurate, and up-to-date criminal search available. 
  • Statewide Criminal Search: A comprehensive search of statewide criminal records. Results may include felonies, misdemeanors, and other violations.
  • Drug Testing: Screening by urinalysis for traces of opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, marijuana (THC), and methamphetamine.

Generally, when employers request a basic background check, they may rely on the National Criminal Database and Sex Offender search and not look any further. 

What Criminal Records Are Employers Looking For?

Depending on the job description and the types of customer interactions, employers may look for particular red flags that disqualify applicants from the job. For example, if the employee will be working with a vulnerable population such as children, the elderly, or those seeking healthcare, they may require a deeper dive into their criminal history, including and beyond the sex offender search. If the employee will be driving or working with heavy equipment, the employer may need to look at traffic violations and run a driver's license verification as well. Handling finances? Perhaps the hiring manager needs to take a look into their credit history. 

Also, the hiring manager must document and refer to their decision matrix when evaluating the criminal history of an applicant. This reference material will be used to prevent a deny-all policy for those with criminal records and also to stay compliant with EEOC recommendations. 

Learn How to Save Money on Background Checks

When the goal is to protect the organization and save money, HR managers should work with a trusted screening partner. A PBSA-accredited background check provider will offer transparency, high-quality customer service, and work with the client to meet their needs. Let us know if VeriFirst can help!

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