Hiring the right employee is a critical process that can greatly impact the success of any organization. But how can you ensure that the person you are about to hire is the right fit for your company? 


Conducting employee background checks is a crucial step in the hiring process that can provide valuable information about a candidate's past behaviour and help you make an informed decision. 


In this article, we'll explore the essential steps you need to take when conducting employee background checks, the types of checks available, and the legal considerations you should keep in mind. So, whether you are a small business owner or an HR professional, read on to discover how to conduct thorough and effective background checks that will help you hire the best candidate for your organization.

What is a Background Check?


A background check is a process of gathering information about an individual's past behaviour and activities. Employers conduct background checks during the hiring process to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate and to uncover any potential red flags that may make them unsuitable for a particular job or position.


Background checks can vary depending on the job and the employer's needs. For example, a background check for a job that requires driving may include a review of the candidate's driving record, while a background check for a financial position may include a credit check. 


The purpose of the background check is to ensure that the candidate is trustworthy, reliable, and a good fit for the organization. Background checks can be conducted by employers themselves or by third-party agencies that specialize in background screening.

Benefits of Running Background Checks


Here are some of the benefits of running background checks on prospective employees.


a. Protect your business


Running business background checks can help protect your business from potential risks. For example, if you hire someone with a history of theft or fraud, they may be more likely to commit similar crimes while working for your company. A background check can uncover this type of information and help you avoid hiring someone who may pose a risk to your business.

b. Hire more qualified candidates


Business background checks can also help you hire more qualified candidates. By verifying a candidate's employment and education history, you can ensure that they have the experience and qualifications necessary for the job. This can help you avoid wasting time and resources on candidates who are not a good fit for the position.

c. Create a safe work environment


Running background checks on potential employees can help create a safe work environment for your current employees. For example, if you hire someone with a history of violent behaviour, they may pose a risk to your other employees. A background check can help you identify this type of behaviour and avoid hiring someone who may be a danger to your workforce.

d. Maintain compliance


Running business background checks can help ensure that your company remains compliant with state and federal laws. For example, some industries require employees to have specific licenses or certifications. A background check can verify that a candidate has the necessary qualifications for the job and help you avoid legal issues down the line.


Read also: 5 Important Reasons You Need to Know Your Employees

What Should a Background Check Include?


When it comes to conducting a background check, there are several important elements that should be included to ensure that you have a comprehensive picture of the candidate's history.


1. Criminal history


One of the most important elements of a background check is a criminal history search. This should include a check of both state and federal records to ensure that you have a complete picture of any criminal history. This can include any convictions, arrests, or pending charges, as well as any records of incarceration.

2. Employment History


A candidate's employment history is also an important element of a background check. This can include verifying past employers, job titles, dates of employment, and reasons for leaving previous positions. It can also include checking for any discrepancies in the candidate's resume or job application.

3. Education verification


Education verification is another important element of a background check. This can include verifying the candidate's educational credentials, such as degrees, certifications, and licenses. This can help ensure that the candidate has the necessary qualifications for the job.

4. Credit history


Some positions may require a credit history check, particularly if the candidate will be handling sensitive financial information. This can include a check of credit reports and credit scores, as well as any records of bankruptcies, liens, or foreclosures.

5. Reference checks


Reference checks are typically required to provide valuable insights into a candidate's work history, skills, and character. This can include contacting previous employers, colleagues, or other professional references to verify the candidate's work experience and performance.

6. Social Media checks


In today's digital age, social media can provide valuable information about a candidate's background and behaviour. A social media check can include reviewing the candidate's public social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for any red flags or inappropriate behaviour.


Read also: What is Employment Verification


How to Conduct Employee Background Checks


To effectively conduct an employee background check, an employer must be willing to take the following steps. 


i. Determine what to check


The first step in conducting an employee background check is to determine what information you need to gather. This can vary depending on the position and industry, but should typically include criminal history, employment history, education verification, and reference checks. It may also include credit history, drug tests, and social media checks, depending on the job requirements.

ii. Obtain consent


Before conducting a background check, it is essential to obtain the candidate's consent. This can typically be done through a signed authorization form that outlines what information will be collected and how it will be used. Make sure to explain the process to the candidate and answer any questions they may have.

iii. Collect information


Once you have obtained consent, you can begin collecting the necessary information. This may involve contacting previous employers, verifying educational credentials, and conducting criminal and credit checks. Make sure to keep accurate records of all the information you gather.

iv. Review results


After collecting the necessary information, review the results carefully. Look for any red flags or discrepancies that may indicate a risk to your business. It is essential to consider the context of the information and give the candidate the opportunity to explain any issues that arise.

v. Make an informed decision


Based on the information you have gathered, make an informed decision about whether to hire the candidate. Consider all of the relevant factors, including the position requirements, the candidate's qualifications and experience, and any risks or concerns uncovered during the background check.

Bottom Line


Conducting employee background checks is an important step in the hiring process that can help you make informed decisions and protect your business from potential risks. 


By following the steps outlined in this article, you can conduct a thorough and responsible background check that can help you hire the right candidates for your business.


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