What is Employee Background Check?
Employee background check refers to a review of a person’s past record to compile their criminal, financial and commercial records. Background checks are common when organizations are hiring employees for a position of trust, and they will want the assurance that they are hiring the right people for the job.
For example, when hiring an accountant, the organization will conduct background checks to know if a candidate has been involved in financial misappropriation or has a criminal record from their previous employment.
Purpose of employee background check
There are several reasons why organizations conduct a background check on potential candidates for a job vacancy. They include:
#1 Confirm information included in the resume or employment application
The employer conducts background checks on the potential candidates for employment to verify that the information provided in the employment application or resume represents who they are. The employer will verify if indeed the candidate worked in the organizations mentioned, the college they attended and the grades they attained at the various education levels.
The checks also help differentiate the skills of all the potential candidates to narrow down to the applicants with the skills and qualifications required by the company.
#2 Judge a candidate’s past mistakes
The employer is interested in knowing the employee’s past mistakes, character and any potential risks that the employee may present to an organization. It will involve looking at the criminal records, prosecution, international terror watchlist, etc. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets the standards for employee screening, and it defines what employers are allowed to check. The employer is required to seek the consent of the candidates before conducting certain background checks.
#3 Protect employers from liability issues
Background checks also protect the employer from liability issues. An employer may hire an employee with a questionable past, and if these employees get in the wrong, the employer will be held responsible for negligence. For example, an employer may hire an employee who is on the terror watch list without conducting background checks, and the company will be held responsible when such an employee is discovered or executes terror activities while still working as an employee of the company.
How employers conduct background checks
When an organization is conducting background checks on its own, it is not required to seek consent from the candidate. However, when the company uses a third-party screening company to conduct background checks on the candidates, it must notify each of the candidates in writing to request a written consent. The candidate may grant authorization or reject the request for the background checks.
If the employer fails to hire a candidate based on the information obtained while conducting background checks, the employer must give an adverse disclosure. The disclosure contains a copy of the consumer report/background checks and information on the candidate’s right to dispute the report.
Information included in an employee background check
The amount of information included in a background check depends on the sensitivity of the reason for which the background check is conducted. It includes the following:
#1 Employment history
Employment history verification is conducted by the employer to confirm that the employment information provided in the resume is accurate. It comprises verbal confirmations of past employment, duration at each job, performance, accomplishments, salary earned at each job, relations to other employees, etc.
#2 Social Security validation
Social security validation confirms if the social security of the candidate is legitimate, and all activities captured using the social security. The validation also reveals the candidate’s full names, alias names used, date of birth and locations where the candidate previously lived around the country.
#3 Credit report
The credit report gives an overview of the candidate’s history of meeting financial obligations. It is especially important when the job vacancy applied for involves managing financial resources. Where the candidate has a bad credit report, it can be used as a ground for locking them out of the employee hiring process. The FCRA requires companies to obtain consent from the employee when checking their credit report.
#4 Criminal record
There are varying regulations on background checks of criminal records, depending on the state. Criminal records involve checking an employee’s history of arrests and convictions. Some websites offer instant background checks by compiling results from various sources like state courts, law enforcement records and county enforcement records. The criminal records information is especially important for a position that requires trust and security.
#5 Legal working status
The legal working status of employees has become an issue in the recent past, with governments intensifying immigration raids to get rid of immigrant workers without work permits. Employers conduct background checks on such employees to determine the working status of their social security numbers, especially for jobs that require resident workers.
CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful: