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What Employers Look for During Background Checks

Background checks have become an integral part of various fields, covering everything from pre-employment to tenancy agreements, volunteer work, and even personal relationships. A background check is a process of investigating an individual’s history, criminal record, employment, education, and financial record, among others, to determine their suitability for a specific position, role, or purpose.

One of the most common uses of background checks is during the pre-employment process. Employers use background checks to ensure that prospective employees are fit for the job and are not a risk to other employees or the company's clients. Background checks help employers make informed decisions regarding hiring, promotion, and retention.

Tenants and landlords also use background checks to screen potential renters or landlords. They want to ensure that the individual has a good rental history, credit score, and criminal record.

Similarly, volunteer organizations use background checks to verify that volunteers have no criminal record and are not a potential risk to vulnerable populations. While on a personal level, individuals may use background checks to investigate someone they met online or determine if a new neighbor is trustworthy.

What Information can be get in the Background Check?

Various information can be obtained from a background check, depending on the purpose of the check. However, some common details usually checked include education history, criminal record, employment history, credit rating, driving record, and social media account activity.

Education History

Background checks may include verifying an individual's education credentials with their former schools or universities. This information helps employers know if the individual meets the academic requirements for the job.

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Criminal Record

A criminal background check looks at the individual's criminal history to determine if they have a criminal record. Criminal records vary from state to state, and there are laws governing what type of crimes can be reported. However, such checks usually access felony and misdemeanor charges, including arrests, charges, and convictions, as well as infractions.

Employment History

A background check can verify an individual's employment history, including job titles, dates of employment, and reasons for leaving. This information helps employers determine if the individual has the necessary experience for the role they are hiring.

Credit Rating

A credit check looks at the credit history of the individual. This report is used to evaluate an individual's financial responsibility and level of debt. Potential lenders and employers may use this information to determine a person's creditworthiness or financial competency.

Driving Record

Background checks on an individual's driving record can help ascertain if the individual has a good driving record or traffic violations. These checks are often used when hiring employees who need to drive on behalf of the company or conducting a pre employment screening.

Internet Footprint

With the vast amount of information available on the internet, a background check can also include searches on social media platforms to uncover any negative content attributed to an individual or related to this individual. This search helps to acquire their moral fitness or character and if they qualify for the role or purpose.

How Can a pre-employment background check be executed?

The process of conducting a background check can vary depending on the organization or the purpose for the investigation. However, some common ways to conduct a background check are:

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Using Online Background Check Services

Online background check services are widely available and offer a quick and cost-effective way of running background checks. These services gather information from various sources, such as police records, financial records, and social media platforms, into a comprehensive report on the individual.

Contracting a Third-Party Background Check Company

Many employers contract with third-party companies that specialize in conducting background checks on individuals. These companies have resources such as access to federal and state criminal records and can provide a comprehensive screening of the background of the subject of the check.

Contacting State and Local Government Agencies

For more sophisticated or sensitive background checks, employers may contact the state or local government agencies that maintain public records of individuals. These government agencies are often the most comprehensive sources of information on individuals of interest.


Background checks are an essential tool that helps organizations and individuals make informed decisions that impact their business, social, and personal lives. Conducting background checks may seem intrusive, but they are useful in identifying risks and avoiding disastrous situations. Whether it is in the workplace, rental agreements or personal relationships, a thorough background check can help prevent unfortunate outcomes. To have seamless and standard procedures for conducting background checks, it is advisable to contact reputable third-party companies that specialize in the field.

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