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Understanding the Importance of a Background Investigation

What is a Background Investigation?

In today's world, where we live surrounded by uncertainty, it is essential to be cautious about the people we interact with. Information is readily available, but sometimes it is important to dig a little deeper than just a Google search. Many organizations use background investigations as an essential tool for their hiring process, to ensure that they have the right employees and to understand their workers better. But what exactly is a background investigation and what is its purpose?

A background investigation involves verifying a person's identity, checking their criminal record, employment history, education, and even their credit report. Background investigations are becoming increasingly important in many industries, including finance, defense, security, and healthcare. In some cases, a background investigation may be required by law to obtain certain types of licenses, or when working around sensitive information.

Purpose of Background Investigations

The primary purpose of a background investigation is to ensure the safety of an organization, its employees, and any clients or customers. A background investigation can help to identify any potential risks and can help an organization to make informed decisions about who they hire or who they partner with.

For example, let's say a company needs to hire an accountant. In this case, they would likely conduct a background investigation to ensure that the applicant has the required skills and qualifications, as well as to verify their character, and make sure they have not had any legal or financial issues in the past. This information would help the company to make a better decision about the applicant, and ensure they are not putting their financial information or assets at risk.

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Types of Background Investigations

Background investigations can appear in many forms. The most basic type of background investigation involves verifying an individual's identity through simple identification checks, such as their name, date of birth, and social security number. Verification of these components is critical to validating identity and to protecting legal and confidential data.

Criminal background checks are another type of investigation. They are used to verify if a potential employee or partner has a criminal record or a history of violent behavior. Criminal background checks can be done by reviewing court records, police reports, or even conducting an interview with the individual's references. The depth of the investigation may vary depending on the role that the individual is being considered for. For example, a person applying for a job as a janitor may need a less extensive background check investigation compared to someone being considered for a job in the government's classified document's office.

Employment and educational background checks can also be conducted to verify an individual's work and educational history. These investigations can reveal information regarding a candidate's past job experiences, performance evaluations, and educational achievements. Although the information provided by the candidate during the hiring process is generally accurate, sometimes individuals falsify the information provided due to various factors. It is necessary to verify that the person's claims are accurate and that there is no missing information or gaps in employment or education.

Credit background checks are utilized in the finance and banking sectors to confirm that an employee's financial situation is adequate and that they do not have significant debts or financial issues.

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Benefits of Background Investigations

The benefits of background investigations are clear. Organizations that implement these investigations have greater security and confidence when hiring new employees or taking on new partners, whether in terms of physical workplace security or data security.

Some of the benefits of these investigations include:

1. Making carefully informed decisions
2. Reducing risks associated with unqualified or inappropriate employees
3. Reducing theft, financial loss, and work-related fraud
4. Building trust in the workplace and secure work environments


In our technological age, possessing a thorough knowledge of background investigations is becoming increasingly important to all organizations. With ample information readily accessible right at our fingertips, people are presented with an opportunity to assume multiple identities, and inaccurate qualifications, which can lead to disastrous consequences for hiring organizations in certain roles. A background investigation can provide a clear picture of a person's past history, and can ultimately lead to better and safer decisions for everyone involved. Organizations that use background investigations will have higher levels of protection, and they will become more successful in achieving optimal results in the workplace. As people recognize the importance of spending time and resources investigating the past, it may perhaps become a natural part of our hiring cycle.

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