What Information Can Be Obtained from an Employment Background Check?
When a prospective employer is looking to fill a position, they naturally want to ensure that the candidate will be a good fit for their company. To that end, many organizations conduct an employment background check before making a final hiring decision. But what information can be obtained from such a check? And what are the potential implications for job seekers? In this article, we'll explore the various types of data included in an employment background check and examine their significance.
One of the most common components of an employment background check is a criminal history search. This typically involves looking up an individual's criminal record at the county, state, and federal levels. The type of crimes for which a person has been convicted can have a significant impact on their ability to find work. For example, a felony conviction for theft could be a disqualifying factor for a job that involves handling money. On the other hand, a candidate who has a misdemeanor drug possession charge on their record might not be disqualified for a position as an administrative assistant.
Another type of background check that is common is a credit history search. This is more likely to be done for jobs that involve handling money, managing finances, or accessing sensitive information. Credit reports can reveal a person's payment history, outstanding debts, and other financial information. There is some debate about whether or not credit history should be a factor in employment decisions, as many argue that it unfairly burdens candidates who may have fallen on hard times due to factors beyond their control.
Social Media Presence
In recent years, some employers have begun to use social media as part of their background screening process. This can involve looking up candidates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular platforms to see what kind of content they post. This can be a double-edged sword, as a candidate's social media presence can reveal positive traits like creativity and communication skills, but can also reveal negative traits like poor judgment or inappropriate behavior.
A candidate's employment history is another important aspect of a background check. This involves verifying the accuracy of a person's resume and looking into their past work experiences. Employers might contact former bosses and colleagues to get a better understanding of a person's work style and skills. Employment history can also reveal any gaps in a candidate's work history, which could be a red flag for some employers.
Employers may also conduct an education verification as part of a background check. This involves checking with the schools and universities that a candidate attended to verify that they earned the degrees or certifications they claim to have. While lying about one's education on a resume is relatively uncommon, it can have serious consequences if discovered.
Finally, some employers will also conduct drug tests as part of a background check. This is more common for jobs where safety is a concern, such as truck driving or construction work. Drug tests can detect the presence of illegal substances, prescription medications, and even over-the-counter drugs that might impair a person's ability to do their job safely and effectively.
What are the implications of employment background checks?
The practice of conducting employment background checks has both pros and cons. On the one hand, it can provide employers with valuable information about a candidate's past behaviors, which can help them make more informed hiring decisions. On the other hand, background checks can also be a barrier to employment for people who have made mistakes in the past.
For example, a person who was convicted of a crime years ago may have turned their life around and become a responsible and productive member of society. However, if their criminal record is uncovered in a background check, they may not even be considered for a job that they are otherwise qualified for. This can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and criminal behavior that can be difficult to break out of.
Another potential issue with employment background checks is that they can be inaccurate or incomplete. For example, a criminal record check might not reveal a past conviction if the information is not up to date or if the candidate was never formally charged with a crime. Similarly, a credit history check might not reflect a person's current financial situation, which could be due to circumstances beyond their control.
Employment background checks are a common practice in today's hiring landscape, and they can reveal a wide array of information about a candidate's past. From criminal history to education verification, employers have access to a range of data that can help them make informed decisions about who to hire. However, it's also important to consider the potential implications of background checks, including their potential to perpetuate a cycle of poverty and to be inaccurate or incomplete. As the job market continues to evolve, it will be important to strike a balance between the need for information and the need for fairness and accuracy in hiring practices.
What Information Can Be Obtained From an Employment Background Check?
When a company is hiring a new employee, it is essential to conduct an employment background check to ensure that they are selecting the right person for the job. A background check is a crucial part of the hiring process that helps employers verify that the candidate is honest, trustworthy, and suitable for the position. This process includes evaluating the candidate's employment history, criminal record, education, and other essential details that could affect their ability to perform the job duties required. But what information can be obtained from an employment background check, and how does it benefit employers?
One of the most crucial pieces of information an employer can obtain from an employment background check is an applicant's employment history. This information helps them verify the applicant's work experience and check for any discrepancies in their resume or job application. Employers can confirm previous employment and obtain information such as job title, job duties, and the length of time the applicant worked in each position. It can also help employers understand the candidate's career progression and work history, which can be beneficial in evaluating their suitability for a position.
Another important aspect of an employment background check is verifying whether an applicant has any past criminal history or convictions. This information can be crucial, especially for jobs that require a high level of trust and responsibility such as working with children, the elderly, or vulnerable populations. Employers can obtain this information by checking criminal records, sex offender lists, and other relevant databases. In some cases, employers may also be able to check an applicant's driving record. It is essential to note that employers must comply with state and federal laws when conducting these checks, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws regarding banning the box.
Employers may also choose to verify the educational credentials of a candidate during an employment background check. This process includes verifying the degree or certification completed, the dates of attendance, and the institution attended. This information can help employers confirm that the applicant has the required qualifications for the position and can also help identify any potential discrepancies in their application. Verifying educational credentials can also contribute to the employer's confidence in the employee's ability to perform the job duties required.
In some industries, employers may request a credit check as part of the employment background check. This process involves obtaining a copy of the applicant's credit report, and it provides the employer with insight into the candidate's financial situation. This information can be useful for positions that involve handling financial transactions or sensitive financial information. It can also help the employer evaluate the candidate's financial responsibility and make informed decisions about their suitability for the job.
Reference checks are another important aspect of an employment background check. Employers can use reference checks to speak with previous employers, colleagues, or other professional contacts to gain insight into the candidate's work history, skills, and character. Reference checks can help employers identify any red flags that may not have been evident during the interview process. It can also help the employer understand how the candidate interacts with others and determine if their personality and work style align with the company culture.
Drug testing is a prevalent component of employment background checks, especially for safety-sensitive positions. This process involves testing an applicant's blood, urine, or hair to detect the presence of controlled substances. Drug testing can help employers ensure that the candidate is not using drugs that could affect their ability to perform the job duties required. It is also a way for employers to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a safe and productive work environment.
Employment background checks are an essential aspect of the hiring process that can provide employers with valuable insight into a candidate's history, character, and suitability for the job. The information obtained from an employment background check can help employers verify employment history, criminal history, education, credit history, and reference checks. It can also help employers make informed decisions about candidate selection, ensure workplace safety and security, and maintain a productive work environment. Conducting employment background checks is crucial for protecting the company's interests and ensuring that they select the right candidate for the job.
Employment background checks have become an essential part of the hiring process. Employers seek to verify the claims made by candidates about their education, work experience, and criminal record. A background check can uncover vital information that can prevent a company from making a hiring mistake. But what exactly can be found during a background check, and how can this information be used?
The Scope of Employment Background Checks
The information that can be obtained from an employment background check depends on the type of check being conducted. There are four common types of background checks:
1. Criminal Background Check
2. Credit Check
3. Employment Verification
4. Education Verification
Criminal Background Check
A criminal background check is a common type of background check, and it's one that most employers will conduct on their prospective employees. This check aims to find any criminal record the candidate might have. The criminal record check can cover both national and local jurisdictions, and it might include a search for any warrants or arrests too. The information that can be found in a criminal background check varies by state, but generally, the employer can find:
1. Any felonies the candidate has been convicted of
2. Any misdemeanors the candidate has been convicted of
3. Any arrests the candidate has had
4. Any warrants that have been issued against the candidate
Another common type of background check is a credit check. Employers conduct credit checks to assess the creditworthiness of a prospective employee. This check helps employers determine if a candidate can handle financial responsibilities and identify if the candidate has a history of financial issues. The information that can be found during a credit check includes:
1. Credit score
2. Credit history
3. Payment history
4. Debt-to-income ratio
An employment verification check is a process of verifying a candidate's work experience and job history. The purpose of this check is to verify the information provided on the candidate's resume and application. It ensures that the candidate has the necessary work experience for the job. The information that can be found during an employment verification check includes:
1. Dates of employment
2. Job titles and duties
3. Reasons for leaving previous jobs
4. Salary information
An education verification check is a process of verifying a candidate's educational background and credentials. The purpose of this check is to ensure that the candidate holds the degree or certificate that they claim on their resume. The information that can be found during an education verification check includes:
1. Degrees earned and the majors studied
2. Certificates earned and the programs completed
3. Graduation dates
What Employers Can and Cannot Do with Background Check Information
Employers have to follow certain laws and guidelines when using the information obtained from background checks. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must follow specific procedures when conducting certain background checks. For example, employers must obtain written consent from the candidate before conducting certain background checks. They should also allow the candidate access to the information obtained about them.
Employers cannot discriminate against candidates based on the information obtained from background checks. For example, they cannot use a credit check to discriminate against candidates who have filed for bankruptcy. Similarly, they cannot use criminal records to discriminate against candidates with a criminal history, as long as the criminal history is not directly related to the job's duties or responsibilities.
What Candidates Can Do
Candidates have the right to dispute errors found in their background checks. They can contact the background check company and request that they correct any errors. Candidates can also dispute the findings with the employer or the company that conducted the background check.
Candidates can also take steps to ensure that their background checks are accurate. For example, they can check their credit reports regularly and ensure that all the information in their resume is accurate.
Employment background checks can provide a wealth of information about job candidates, including their work history, education, and criminal background. However, employers must follow certain guidelines to ensure that they do not discriminate against candidates based on the information obtained. Candidates can also take steps to ensure that their background checks are accurate. Overall, background checks are an essential part of the hiring process that can help companies make informed hiring decisions.