Background checks are now a significant part of the employment process. Employers use them to screen applicants to ensure that they are hiring someone who is honest and trustworthy. This is especially necessary since criminal records can show up in background checks. With nearly 60 million Americans having a criminal record, an estimated 92% of companies use a background checking service. This investment puts them on the side of the law. In today’s society, background checks are a fundamental requirement for many individuals and institutions, including landlords, employees, and other organizations. Background checks help protect against fraud and prevent data breaches. They also ensure public safety.
Protecting Against Fraud
Background checks may help prevent fraud by ensuring that the applicant is not concealing a criminal record. They ensure that the person applying for the job, rental unit, or loan is who they claim to be. Background checks can reveal information about an applicant’s credit history, educational background, and work history, all of which can be valuable for organizations to ensure that they don’t fall prey to fraud. Employers must ensure that they have the right information before they invest in hiring, training, and promoting the individual. Once the check is complete, the employer can feel confident that they have chosen a trustworthy applicant.
Ensuring Public Safety
Background checks serve an essential role in ensuring public safety. Employers must conduct criminal background checks on potential hires before bringing them on board. This helps an organization evaluate whether an applicant poses significant risks to the public. For jobs in which the individual will work with vulnerable populations, such as children, elderly adults, or people with disabilities, it's particularly vital to check whether they have previous criminal records.
Furthermore, in the United States and other countries, organizations use criminal history as a factor to prevent certain individuals from owning or operating a gun. In some states, for example, where background checks are not mandatory when purchasing a firearm, licensed gun sellers run an FBI database check to ensure that the applicant does not have a criminal record that would prohibit them from owning guns. This ensures a level of public safety in the country.
Types of Background Checks
Although there are various types of background checks, they all aim to ensure high levels of safety and security for individuals and organizations. Employers or organizations may conduct a criminal background check, credit history check, driving record check, education verification, employment verification, drug test, and other checks. Here’s a brief breakdown of the types of background checks:
Criminal Background Check
A criminal background check usually checks for any arrests, convictions, or any other criminal record. This helps employers detect potential criminal behavior in the future and protect the organization from litigation and financial loss.
Credit History Check
Credit history checks review any credit-related problems, such as defaulting on loans or bankruptcy. This check helps employers establish the applicant’s financial responsibility and dependability. Real estate agents and landlords also perform credit checks before accepting a tenant's lease.
Driving Record Check
A driving record check provides information on the individual’s history of accidents, traffic violations, and other driving-related issues. Employers may conduct this check for individuals who work with a fleet of vehicles or require the use of roadworthy vehicles, such as truck drivers or taxi drivers.
Education verification checks aim to verify an applicant's educational background. An employer may request a copy of an applicant's degree certificate if the job requires a specific level of education.
An employment verification check ensures that the applicant has provided accurate and factual information about their employment history, such as dates of employment and job titles. Employers use this check to get a clear picture of an applicant’s work experience.
A drug test determines whether an applicant is using illegal drugs. Jobs such as law enforcement, healthcare, and other safety-sensitive positions require drug testing for their employees.
The importance of background checks in today’s society cannot be overemphasized. They help to safeguard organizations against fraud, protect public safety, and minimize losses that could occur due to litigation. These checks also ensure that the working environment is safe for all employees. Organizations should invest in a variety of background checks, including criminal, credit, driving record, education, employment verification, and drug test. By doing so, they can increase the likelihood of hiring an honest and trustworthy employee. Background checks serve to emphasize an organizations’ dedication to maintaining high standards of conduct and professionalism, protecting its employees, clients, and community. Therefore, background checks are necessary in today’s society.