Hiring a new employee is a big investment for a company. The hope is they’ll be with the organization for a long time and continuously deliver great work that positively impacts the business.
Unfortunately, bad hires happen. The best-case scenario is you quickly realize your mistake and the person moves on before they can do any real harm. The worst cases are they fail to do the job, lower workplace morale, or cause other serious problems for your company. Either way, you’ll have to resolve a difficult situation and go through all the effort of rehiring for the role.
You can lower the chances of making a bad hire by conducting background checks before you make employment offers to candidates. It will reveal any details the person may have hid or been dishonest about during the interview process so your company only invests in honorable people.
What is covered in a pre-employment background check?
A standard background check uses a person’s name, birthday and social security number to collect a variety of information on them from public and private databases. A respected background check provider can access all relevant sources and generate an easy-to-understand report on the applicant for the employer to review.
In most cases, a pre-employment background check covers the following areas:
- Identity verification – Confirm the applicant has provided an accurate name and social security number and is a U.S. citizen or has legal right to work in the country.
- Criminal history – Learn if the applicant has been convicted of a crime, is on probation, has outstanding warrants, or is on a sex offender registry or government watchlist.
- Employment history – See what companies the applicant was employed with and for how long so you can verify they provided an accurate work history.
- Education background – Similar to employment history, verify the accuracy of the universities and degrees on the candidate’s resume.
- Government-issued licenses – Confirm the applicant is licensed for the job, if you’re hiring for a role that requires a government-issued credential (i.e. a CPA license, teaching credential or medical license).
- Motor vehicle records – Find out if the applicant has been involved in any accidents or received citations, if you’re hiring for a role that requires driving.
- Credit check – Learn if the applicant is financially responsible. This is especially important if they’ll be managing a budget or will have access to company funds.
A pre-employment background check ensures the candidate is honest and doesn’t have an unscrupulous past. You can expand on a standard report by contacting their previous employers and personal references and possibly reviewing their public social media accounts. The more information you gather, the more confident you’ll be that you’re hiring the right person.
Why are pre-employment background checks important?
It’s obviously important to hire upstanding people but why else are pre-employment background checks important? Let’s explore all the advantages that due diligence on a candidate brings to a hiring company:
- Verify the candidate is qualified – Some people unfortunately embellish their work history or education when job searching. You could end up hiring someone who is unqualified if you fail to check their background.
- Perform a character check – Even if someone only slightly exaggerates their background, it’s a sign of dishonesty. Ensure your company only hires high-character people by verifying an applicant’s resume is 100 percent accurate.
- Keep your workplace safe – The importance of protecting your employees, customers and company as a whole goes without saying. Background checks save you from hiring any dangerous or unsavoury individuals.
- Reduce your company’s liability – Your company can lower insurance costs and avoid unnecessary lawsuits by only hiring people who clear a pre-employment screening.
- Avoid bad hires – Hiring the wrong person is costly and frustrating. Making the small effort to conduct a background check before you hire someone will prevent major problems from occurring later.