In today's society, where information is accessible at the click of a button, background checks have become increasingly important. A background check is a process used to verify everything from an individual's criminal record to their professional qualifications and work history. These checks are becoming more common not just in fields such as law enforcement, but also in the workplace, when renting a property, and even before making new friends on social media. They are crucial for preventing fraud and protecting public safety, and in this article, we discuss their importance and the different ways they are used in our everyday lives.
Background checks can help prevent fraud in various ways. One of the most common ways is by looking into an individual's credit history. This helps to ascertain a person's creditworthiness and their ability to make payments. An investigation into a financial history can identify any patterns of bankruptcies or foreclosures. It can also help to identify any red flags when it comes to questionable financial behaviors such as outstanding judgments, past due payments, and outstanding liens against assets.
In the workplace, background checks have become essential, particularly in the hiring process. An employer can use a candidate's professional and personal information to verify that they meet the necessary qualifications for the job and determine if it is right for them. As employers want to hire only the best candidates, background checks are an important part of the hiring process.
Protecting Public Safety
Numerous examples demonstrate how background checks have helped protect public safety. For instance, background checks are conducted for those applying for a driving license. The checking process ensures that the individual has not committed any crimes that would put other drivers' safety at risk. It is imperative to ensure that drivers are competent and responsible, and the only way to do that is through background checks.
Background checks also play a crucial role in preventing child abuse. Many jobs involve working with children. To work in these roles, it is necessary to have a criminal background check. A background check can help identify a pattern of abusive behavior or criminal history that makes an individual unsuitable for working with children.
Background checks also help to maintain safety in sensitive environments such as airports and courtrooms. By conducting background checks on individuals such as passengers and visitors to courts, these environments can be kept safe. Ensuring that passengers are not carrying weapons and that their overall security background is clear is vital.
Additionally, in some states, background checks are required when purchasing and owning guns. This step ensures that high-risk individuals do not have access to deadly weapons. Background checks help identify potential threats before they have the opportunity to do harm.
Types of Background Checks
Background checks come in different shapes and sizes and can include various types of checks depending on your specific circumstances. Below are some examples of checks commonly done in various industries:
Criminal Record Check: This check investigates an individual's criminal history and is routinely performed for security-related roles, such as for police candidates or security guards.
Credit Check: This check ascertains an individual's creditworthiness and looks into the credit history to ensure that they are not in a poor financial situation with tendencies to default on payments.
Employment Check: This check verifies the information an individual has provided regarding their employment history, including job titles, employment dates, and reasons for leaving previous jobs.
Education and Qualification Check: This check verifies a candidate's academic and professional qualifications. It also confirms previous work-related certifications or licenses (such as nursing or real estate licenses).
Social Media and Online Check: This type of background check involves an analysis of an individual's online presence and outstanding lawsuits, bankruptcies, etc. It helps identify potential risks and threats that might not be immediately evident from other checks.
The Impact of Social Media on Background Checks
The increasing use of social media has created a new norm for background checks. Employers are increasingly using social media as part of their hiring process. Social media has become a source of information on potential candidates, as many people share their personal and professional lives on social media. Conducting a social media background check can provide insight into a candidate's personality, judgment, and professional conduct.
While social media checks offer a wealth of information, they present some challenges. It can be tough to differentiate what is true and what is not, as individuals may not provide accurate information on their profiles. This makes it difficult for employers to make informed hiring decisions based solely on social media findings.
Background checks have become more prevalent in our everyday lives. They help to prevent fraud, protect public safety, and maintain security in different settings. Background checks have evolved due to various technological advancements and take many forms, including criminal record, credit, social media, and employment checks.
As stated by Brad Landin, CEO of First Advantage, "background checks are the first step in risk management." Performing a background check helps ensure that individuals in a particular environment, whether at work or in public spaces, are trustworthy and pose no harm to others. As the need for trust and safety continues to increase, background checks will play a vital role in our society's everyday activities.