Performing Background Checks

As technology moves forward, more people are using search engines and reverse phone lookups on iPhone apps to run background checks on family members, friends, possible love interests, and employees. People can search the internet for phone numbers, work history, criminal history, and relationship status. Employers take steps to gain information about hires if they are going to be placed in a job where security was important. Now anyone can dig into public and private information with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The Reason for Background Checks

Employers often do background checks on people as a part of the job screening process. This was common when someone applied for a job in a secure facility such as a courthouse, airport, financial institution, hospital, school, or government agency. Likewise, they are required for anyone getting a license for real estate, insurance, or another job where the employee must show credibility.

Originally, checks were usually conducted when someone applied for a job. Similarly, background checks are run on companies, politicians, and individuals for a variety of reasons. The information can be invaluable.

Current statistics show that background checks give employers a heads up on potential employees.

  • 57% of employers say background checks lead to better hires.
  • 85% of employers report finding inaccurate information on resumes and/or job applications.
  • 77% of employers have uncovered issues that would have gone unnoticed.

Types of Searches

Some jobs may require certain information, but most background searches are general. People can do searches for personal use on private individuals. Common types of screening include:

Criminal and Sex Offender Records

There are websites that show sex offender lists, but criminal checks may not be easy to come by. Some companies offer to research criminal history for a fee, but usually run a check of public records. Third party agencies can give more detailed information, but will not guarantee that the information is correct. The only way to get truly accurate information is to search county or state databases.

Citizenship Status

Employing undocumented workers is illegal and can spell trouble for the employer. Since the formation of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security, employers are required to supply proof of citizenship for its workers.

Court Records

Getting information on court records is important for personal and employment reasons. It’s important to know if a future relationship or employee has been in court. It can attest to the person’s character.

Driving Records

Employees required to drive at their jobs must have clean records for insurance and safety reasons. Employers can contact their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the Department of Transportation for information.

Education records

Records verify educational qualifications including a high school diploma, college degree, graduate degree or license.

Employment records

Employers often check job history to check a person’s skill set, performance, attendance, and relationship with employers and coworkers.

Financial information

Reports may include a person’s credit history, civil judgments, tax information or bankruptcy. This is crucial information to have for a relationship or employer working in a financial space.

Social Security Number

A person’s social security number shows where a person has lived and worked. People who give out a false SSN may be guilty of identity theft or could be illegal.

Who Would Run a Background Check on Me?

The most common reason for a background check is employment screening. Now someone can run a background for creditworthiness or for personal reasons. While some information is public, digging deeper is going to cost. Deep checks can be expensive. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) created rules regarding the information accessed by potential employers. Anyone using a third-party service must state the reason for the search.

Employers cannot refuse to hire someone based on the information of an unofficial search.

Incorrect Information

One important step many people miss is running their own background check. People found old information contained in databases. Running your own background check enables you to review information others can see about you. Incorrect information can cost you a job or a relationship. You can report incorrect information to the issuing agency. You can also learn how to remove information from your report.

Pamela M